Thank you to Imgur user SteelMakesMeH for sharing his experiences living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Hopefully this can open up a conversation about a much-stigmatized topic, and allow people to understand it a little bit more. Because knowledge is power!
First, to answer some basic questions...
What caused me to develop MPD/DID?
I will answer this question at the end, because it's a bit traumatic so I don't want to start with something so dark. Most MPD/DID is usually caused by a severely traumatic event/s.
What is a "switch"?
A switch is the moment an alternate personality (a.k.a alter) takes over and I loose all track of time.
What causes a switch?
Many things can trigger a switch. Anything from a song or smell, but usually it's caused by large amounts of stress (for me anyways).
Do I know whats going on when I switch?
No. With the exception of one time, it's usually like flicking a light switch of snapping your fingers. One moment I'm living my life then in the blink of an eye it could be 5 hours later.
What is the longest switch that has happened?
17 years. I'm the primary personality but not the original. I have been in control for most of our life. But occasionally the others wrestle control from my hands.
Can others tell when I've switched (or I'm about to)?
Yes. when I'm about to switch I develop an uncontrollable tick in my jaw (sometimes a strong tick that looks like a seizure. It usually happens because I'm fighting back).
How different is each alter?
Apparently each alter talks, walks, writes, eats and has sex differently (yes.. I just said that)
Is it painful to switch alters?
From time to time. It can be violent (for me)
How many "Alters" Do I have?
4 but it used to be 6. I have (with professional help) managed to integrate 2 alters (making me more "whole")
Can I "hear" my alters?
For the longest time... No. But about 3 years ago I began hearing Fynn in my head (you will learn about him soon enough). I thought I had schizophrenia but after some testing we found out I didn't. As for the others.. I don't want to hear them.
Okay, here are some stories...
1. So here's how it all started...
The start of the blank spots. One of the first times I developed a blank spot (switch) I lost 4 hours. Thankfully it happened at home around my (now) ex-wife. She was only my GF at the time though. I was standing in the kitchen making some soup when I was suddenly standing in the backyard with my GF looking at me very strangely. All I could say was "what the hell just happened?". I didn't understand what was going on and my GF wouldn't tell me anything. I didn't find out that my first alter had shown up until one month later when she finally broke down and said I turned into a very intelligent child before her eyes who called himself Fynn (my favorite alter). I spoke with a lisp and knew things about my childhood that I normally couldn't remember. It was then that I began seeking professional help. Many people trained in psychology will agree that those who have MPD/DID are either faking it or too much of a risk to treat (it could ruin their career). So finding help was hard. Very hard.
I just remember those days as being very taxing and frightening. It's not easy having doctors think you are lying.
2. The Day The Doctors Believed...
I will never forget the moment I was finally able to get help. D.I.D was starting to take its toll on me. I had a nervous break down. I was brought to the hospital and they were (Continued)
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told about my issue. Of course they scoffed like I said, it's common for psychologists to believe that DID is a made up thing. But it didn't last long. They had taken me into triage so they could get my vitals. Everything was through the roof. They were worried I was going to have a heart attack or something. It was at that moment that I switched (in front of EVERYBODY). Just like a light switch. My vitals returned to normal and I was sitting calmly while looking at everybody. My GF at the time knew what was up and said "FYNN!! Let him back out NOW! In moments my vitals were back to critical levels. I didn't know any time had passed. But the look of shock on the face of everybody in the room said enough. Needless to say... I began receiving the help I needed.
Most of this was told to me by the doctors and my GF. I didn't truly get to witness it.
3. The time Fynn saved my family.
This story happen 7 years ago. I know this because my son is 7 years old. At this point my wife was now my ex and I was happily with somebody who cared about me and understood what living with D.I.D meant. We were about to have a baby and I was also going back to school to get my G.E.D. I was running on very little sleep. When my son was born I had everything set. I had just moved back to my home state and was staying with my aunt. Crib.. check, diapers.. check, nursery.. check, All the things.. CHECK!! Son enters the world.. check. Then things went bad.
I came back to the hospital after school, exhausted and barely able to hold my head up. I entered the room and my GF was crying in her bed and my son was nowhere to be seen. I panicked. It was then that a child services worker came in to give me bad news. Apparently my GF's ex-husband (a monstrous piece of crap who is currently in jail for some very bad things) had managed to (Continued)
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use his connections to add red flags to my GF's file. They were going to take my son away from me.
I fought it.
Fought it hard right then and there. In the end they gave me 10 hours to produce a child friendly environment at some place other than my aunt's house. My only option was my hoarder grandmother. I got to the house only to find that the room I could use was piled to the ceiling with crap. I broke down. Then the singularly most wonderful thing about having MPD/DID happened to me... I switched.. Fynn (that wonderful guy) stepped up and took over. In 8 hours he managed to clean the entire room. He not only cleaned it.. He frigging set it up. It was perfect. And for me it all happened in the blink of an eye. It was like magic. To this day my (now) fianc still worships the ground he walks on (and so do I).
This is why I will always be happy to hear Fynn.
4. April Fools... D.I.D Style
This is less of a story and more of a statement...
You think getting pranked on April 1st sucks? Try having multiple people in your head taking turns setting up traps for you. Most of them were harmless but I really didn't care for finding thumb tacks in my bed.
5. The Ultimate Goal
Anybody who truly suffers from MPD/DID has one goal in mind... Integration. We want to turn all the people in ours heads back into ONE person! I have managed to integrate 2 so far. On one occasion when integration occurred, my crippling fear of spiders disappeared. Really went away. At one point I would scream and run if a spider came within 5 feet of me. Now I play with them.
Its just one of those things that makes me stop and think "wow" the human brain can do some cool/weird stuff.
6. The Day Fynn Made Me Watch
Don't get ahead of yourself. Let me tell the story before you judge the title. Now from time to time I've (Continued)
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Now from time to time I've learned that my alters all seem to hold a fragment of the original person. I'm calm, casual and creative (I'm a blacksmith and prop maker). Fynn hold the memories (childhood and stuff like that) plus he is the only one that can speak to the others. Then we have Arsehole. He holds on to obscene amounts of anger and resentment. So fast forward to 10 months ago. Stress was beginning to build again but not in a serious way. Just enough to annoy Fynn. I hadn't been eating much (which is Fynn's biggest peeve) so it was time for me to learn about another trick Fynn was hiding up his sleeve.. he could make me.. watch. Talk about messed up.. imagine only being able to look through the eyes of another person without having control over what they do or say. It could have been worse than it was. Instead of something horrible happening, Fynn forced me to watch as he ordered FIVE 20 piece nuggets McDonalds and ate 4 of the boxes. I threw up soooo bad and had the poops for a week.
Fynn.. I love you.. but eff you for that one!
7. Sometimes I read letters written to me by an alter
Because people have asked.. Yes.. I occasionally find letter from Fynn, but it's usually when I'm down and he's trying to make me smile. My favorite one was when Fynn wanted to let me know that he fed the baby and changed his diaper so I could rest (yeah.. that's a bit weird)
8. Not all alters are nice
Let me tell you about the First Appearance of The Arsehole
Not all alters are nice. But this was the first time the original had made an appearance since this all started so it was rather tame. I was talking to my fianc when I noticed she was getting more and more upset but I wasn't doing anything. It all ended in a massive blow up. Later on when we were ready to talk again I started hearing about things I said that I didn't remember saying. It wasn't until Fynn's next appearance that we found out Arsehole was switching in for small moments and adding his own comments to our conversation. Fynn was upset as well.
8. This is the story of how my MPD/DID started...
WARNING!! Things are about to get bad people. This is your chance to stop reading because things are about to get graphic (stories not pics). Starting with how I got MPD/DID....
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How I got MPD/DID... Mine was worked on most of my childhood. But the fracturing event (the event that literally "splits" my personalities) came in my late teens. I had made some bad choices and gotten into some hardcore drugs. Over time I ended up owing money to a fairly large drug dealer (something you don't want to do). I was grabbed off the street and held captive in a motel while they reenacted the chainsaw scene from the movie Blow. Yes.. a person who owed a lot more money than I, was taught a permanent lesson. Watching somebody get dismembered has a way of destroying a person mentally. I was then dropped on the side of the highway a couple states away from home with nothing but a pair of pants. This is my first memory. Not knowing my name wandering around the streets. I had a cellphone but didn't know how to use it. The original had checked out (for good it had seemed). It was now my job to live this life.
I started getting comfortable with switching (for the most part) but then the Arsehole decided to come back out after a very long hiatus. But he was different. Bitter, anger, vengeful, potentially violent. I didn't/don't trust him. He stayed out for 3 days. 3 days of nightmare for my fianc. All he wanted to do was get high or hurt me. He resented that it wasn't his life anymore and he had a response. But I didn't find out until I regained control. It was then I felt pain in bad places.
Apparently he had decided that if he couldn't live "his" life then he was going to make mine as miserable as possible. He started with a razor blade and began carving EVERYTHING. I had officially stepped out of the world of strange and into the world of terror. I had somebody in my head that I couldn't get rid of that was dead set on inflicting as much pain on our body as possible. Thankfully there was no lasting damage with my bits but my torso will be forever covered in scars.
Arsehole truly hated me. The carving sessions started becoming a regular event. I had to do something about it. In come the doctors and the meds. But nothing helped. Oddly enough, he didn't start to calm down until I started making a collection of first person shooters for him. It seams to be his muse. He's never truly happy but there are few things that can be done. I need to work on integrating him but the idea scares the heck out of me.
At the worst.. doctors have counted over 800 slice marks over my body (not scars). It's painful and scary and it forces a level of paranoia in me. I now have to ask myself after a switch, "What have i done?" "Have I hurt anybody?" "Am I hurt?". These are questions nobody should have to ask. but it was a fact of my life at that point. That was a year ago. With help I have had only 1 day of switching in that time (yesterday). Which leads me to one of the scariest things that can happen to me.
9. Occasionally I will switch and be truly lost
Sometimes I can't find myself anywhere. Waking up in the middle of a forest (clothed) covered in mud when you were just taking a bath is traumatizing in itself. But it's these things you learn to live with. As for this problem itself. I have started trying to create a GPS system in my shoes so I will never be lost again.
Also, for the record, these are my personal experiences. I don't know how they compare to other MPD/DID cases. I'm only going by what I've witnessed and been told by those who were around when I switched.
Now for some follow up questions...
What does integration feel like?
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Nothing. It feels like nothing at all. Just one day you are... different.
How old is Fynn? Does he age?
He started out telling everybody he was 7 but a few years ago somebody told him it was his birthday.. he has been 9 ever since. Yeah, it's weird. (I heard my family talking about this earlier today)
You said there were 4 alters. What about the 4th?
We don't know a lot about him. He's only come out once, looked around and found himself disgusted with humanity in general. He didn't stay out long and hasn't been back since.
I've read articles saying MPD is fake. Why should I believe you?
I don't care if you believe me. But if it's because of my use of the term MPD, I use it because not a lot of people know what D.I.D is. D.I.D is indeed REAL.
What do you think of shows like Split or United States of Tara?
I've never seen em. I don't watch many movies and I never watch movies involving D.I.D expect fight club (because I didn't know that is what is was about) due to the chances it could cause a switch.
If you aren't the original, are you an alter?
Yes. But I have been out so long that most people in my life know me instead of others.
Is "Arsehole" The Original?
I thought so but that has been brought into question.
How do relationships work? Do different alters have different partners?
In a way, yes. I'm still trying to figure out how to answer this one in a way that's easily understood.
Does Arsehole have a name?
Yes. But I don't use it. I will only call him an arsehole.
Have you ever played games with any alters? Like chess with Fynn or something?
Yes actually. I love chess but Fynn is better. The day will come when i beat him :)
So the original was into drugs, are you drug free? If so, did you feel withdrawal symptoms or know that's what they were?
He was into cocaine. I don't remember if I got sick or not. It was a long time ago. Though I can tell if an alter has taken anything.
Do you know who your parents are?
Yes. My mother is a wonderful person. My father is not so wonderful.
You mentioned you had 6 alters before you integrated the other two. What were the other 2 like?
One was a female child named Purrecka who hated watermelon and loved getting into trouble. The other was just an angry dude. Nobody ever got to ask him his name. He's also the one that liked spiders.
If you think you have D.I.D...
If you find yourself asking the question "Do I have D.I.D?" or "What can I do to find out if i have D.I.D?" You need to do the leg work. You have a task ahead of you. Start with questions. 1st. whats causing this concern?
2nd. Am I blacking out? If yes: am I moving while blacked out? Am I talking to people? Do I act weird? When I wake up am O standing or on the ground? If you find yourself answering yes to these questions seek a doctor. Seriously. Before you can even think about D.I.D you need to eliminate all other possibilities. Blacking out can mean other things. Blacking out then waking up but acting different or talking funny could mean seizure. That's no laughing matter. Seizures can make people do strange things. Make sure you are perfectly healthy. But to do that you need a doctor's help.
3rd. When did it start?
4th. Were others around? Can they tell you about it?
5th. Look into your past. Most real D.I.D cases originate at an early age (like 7 or younger). At that age the level of elasticity is more fragile. Think of it this way.
6th. invest in a small camera for your home or person so you can hopefully catch one of these moments.