A digital painting based on the face of a child

Dissociative Identify Disorder: A Sliver of Grief

It was easy to get lost in a virtual reality; I’ve always lived in one

My experience of dissociative identity disorder is unique yet part of
a pattern of signs and symptoms expressed by different people in
similar ways.

Each person is unique but our bodies are variations on a theme
shared by all animals.

I like to give a clinical context to my discussions of life with DID.

People with DID are not crazy, I use reason to cope with a chaotic
inner world.

I’ve addressed the experience of psychological regression in earlier posts.

Digital painting of a child weeping in a pool of blood

Regression: n. a return to a prior, lower state of cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning. This term is associated particularly with psychoanalytic theory, denoting a situation in which the individual reverts to immature behavior or to an earlier stage of psychosexual development when threatened with overwhelming external problems or internal conflicts. —regress vb. —regressive adj.>>>>


Atavistic Regression, a term first used in hypnosis, describes a reversion to the ‘ancestral self’.

Dissociative Identity Disorder begins as a protective self-hypnosis that becomes more extreme and elaborate over time.

“Self hypnosis is central to the development of dissociative symptoms and DID.”Dissociative Spectrum Disorders in the Primary Care Setting

A person with DID may experience atavistic regression on a spectrum from feeling oddly younger to becoming a child self with all the mannerisms and speech patterns of a child.

Child alters often talk in a child-like way, but unlike a biological child they can normally understand abstract concepts and long words. They are often found to hold memories of child abuse which occurred at around the age the child alter feels he/she is.  Some may have the speech or appearance of a very young child, the youngest being unable to talk, read or write. Child alters should not be confused with the concept of having an “inner child”, which applies to non-dissociative people.  Child Alters and DID

Bobby is one of the teens: he has access to a lifetime of information.

My first best friend

A brownie snapshot of a boy age 8 and a girl age 5
My Sister was my first best friend.

I last saw Sandra In 1980.

We watched the sun set at Colonial Lake and reminisced about a game we called Super Girl; I lay on my back and raised her up on my hands and feet: she stretched out like an acrobat and flew while I sang nonsense lyrics to the theme from ‘Superman.”

When Sandra died I went numb and flew to West Virginia; I spoke at her
funeral and flew home the next day.

Sanpshot of the wing of a plane against a surreal horizon taken with my Samsung
On the Flight from Charlotte to San Francisco

Death’s Anniversaries

“Anniversary reactions are the re-experience of a prior traumatic event — a death, a disaster or an individual tragedy. They are triggered by a specific date or event that strikes a chord deep inside our minds, which can be a traumatic portal to the past. A birthday, a notable date or a holiday can link to an earlier moment in our lives that was full of trouble, hurt or conflict. When they do occur, a person who may be highly functioning can be overcome and feel powerlessness, even immobilized.”  Mastering the Anniversary Reaction

When Sandra was born, I was 4 and already dissociating.

When Sandra started walking, I ‘became’ a little girl. I called
myself Sara.

We spent hours playing with dolls or making mud pies on the porch.

Everyone grieves but not everyone grieves in fragments.

After my sister’s birth, my Mother’s abuse worsened, as did the anti-Semitic
abuse of our Evangelical neighbors.

Jews were not the ‘right kind’ of white people in the segregated South
of the early 1960’s.

When I was six I signed my name ‘Antonio’.

I don’t know how many child parts knew my sister and loved her.

Shortly after Christmas, I noticed I felt like a child.

I lost confidence in my writing and lost skills; I forgot how to
proofread and spell.

Then grief and tears and a thought: my first best friend is dead.

‘My first best friend is dead.’

A Sliver of Grief

The Nurse picks
you up and shows
you to


and I


I live in

the future

you are

and I am

(c) Rob Goldstein 2019

This film is an over the top yet accurate depiction of how DID feels inside:

26 thoughts on “Dissociative Identify Disorder: A Sliver of Grief

  1. The video is helpful in demonstrating the confusion, the background of chaos, how hard it must be to focus.
    I can only imagine how difficult it is to process grief in such fragments, with so many of you feeling the loss. I am so sorry your sister is gone. I do think those of us without DID have a linear organization of memories that probably assists us in grieving and remembering overall.
    When my father died, I felt crazy. I also felt a deep longing for a sibling who would understand what it was to be his child. I bet your sister understood better than anyone what it was to love you, what it was to grow up as you did.
    I think we are all crazy in the loose way. I’ve never been one to get affronted by crazy. If I were to describe your crazy it would be crazy talented. The poem here could be my first example.
    You are a gift to our community.
    Much love and all the best wishes to you, Rob.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joey. I showed the video to my therapist; she also thinks it’s brilliant. As for the DID, as I get older I resent losing time, I have so many things I want to accomplish. I always appreciate your comments Joey and your support. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is not possible for me to adequately comment to this post. The pain I felt reading some of your post …. I could not read it all … is very familiar to me. I am also an Empath, another reason why your pain was so very acute to me.

    I can tell you, however, that I’ve been in the process over many years to put the fractured and broken pieces of me together and for the first time in my life, my “little girl” is feeling safe and whole. I know only too well what DID is. I wish the same for you … that you are able to heal to wholeness. Bless you! 💝

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With this posting you did a very good job, Rob! Oh yes, grieving is different from one person to another. But we all do, we need to do for our own health too. Thank you for your inner thoughts. I feel honored, and wish you all the best. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Rob, you did a fantastic job with this post. The matter-of-fact tone somehow emphasizes your pain.
    Maybe it’s just me, but I think most people have a somewhat similar reaction to old grief. When that unexpected wave of grief rushes over us, how we react to it depends on so many things. It might be different every time.
    I’m glad you have some good memories of your sister. I’m glad you can remember her from different perspectives.
    Even after all these decades, I still miss my little sister. I wish I could take your pain away. I wish I could take the pain away from both of us. (I do not place value on pain the way some people seem to do.)
    But I can’t.
    What I can do is send you a great big hug… and wish you a sense of quiet peace, calm, rest, inner silence that brings you solace… until that stillness is softly filled with a refrain of music, light and lilting as the wings of a butterfly…
    Hugs on the wing, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rob, thank you for sharing your personal experience & meaning of DID. I worked as an NP in psychiatry and specialized in behavioral health. It’s sad & at the same time understandable how you suffer through painful events in your life. 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always learning about DID. I didn’t understand my Sister’s death would affect different parts of me differently. It’s hard to grieve but it’s an inevitable part of life and I suppose each person does it in his or her own way. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  6. My son suffers from chronic OCD and PTSD (I may have mentioned this before). These illnesses work differently but are also caused by major traumas in a persons life. They are really difficult to overcome and they have no reason so other people can’t understand them at all. I am sorry for your suffering, Rob. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I found this post so powerful and moving I really don’t know how to respond to it. I’m supposed to be a writer but can’t find words to express my feelings about what you have shared! I can only send love and a virtual hug.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m giving you a hug back.

      My pain and confusion is no greater than that of a homeless schizophrenic. If what I write moves enough people to question the rightness of letting people suffer in our streets without treatment the pain will have meaning and become a force for good.

      That’s my comfort.

      Liked by 1 person

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