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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Looking for support through D.I.D.

Topic: Looking for support through D.I.D.

20 posts, 0 answered
  1. Sapphíre
    Sapphíre avatar
    7 posts
    31 March 2020
    Hi. We are new here. We are struggling a lot due to a huge variety of very stressful situations. We are looking to connect with people who also have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) for mutual support at this very triggering time. Our own situation is not just about what is happening in the world with Covid-19 and the physical isolation, but also the mental and emotional isolation we are feeling. New Alters have formed and some have integrated to form a hybrid Alter. This has been very distressing for all of us in our System. We are trying to come to terms with abuse and a failed marriage and being forced to leave the only country we cared about to live in Australia where the body was born. Really struggling with everything. Something hugely traumatic happened last night and we have been dissociating a lot and finding it hard to ground. I don't even know who we are anymore. :(
  2. james1
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    james1 avatar
    3061 posts
    31 March 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Hello Sapphire,

    Welcome to the forums. I do not have DID and do not understand it well, but I am hearing that there are a lot of challenges for all of you in your system right now. And while Covid-19 is challenging for all of us, it sounds like you are experiencing additional difficulties due to DID and your history with abuse.

    I understand you come from another country, so please do let me know if there is anything I say or ask which is inappropriate.

    Still, you have mentioned that something terrible happened last night and you are dissociating a lot right now. Would you like to share what you are up to today or what strategies you have previously used to help you ground yourselves?

    I hope to hear from you again, and I would also love to hear from anyone else who has had similar experiences.

    James

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Sapphíre
    Sapphíre avatar
    7 posts
    31 March 2020 in reply to james1

    Hi James

    This body was born in Australia but we have spent the last 15 years in England. As I used to be an Alter, I only came awake from a dormant state in the UK, so that is the only place I know. I feel like a foreigner here in Australia despite having an Australian passport and birth certificate (in the previous Host's name, which I am forced to use for official reasons)

    What happened last night was the very first Alter ever created, a Little called Lydia, who integrated into Lynda (the original host) several months ago, was suddenly ripped from the integrated mind. I do not know how or why, but this has happened before to us. Only this time, it was violently painful. Then, one of the hidden Alters, lurking always in the background, a wisp or ghost.. ethereal.. called Sorrow immediately integrated with Lydia. Sorrow was NOT a Little. The resulting hybrid Alter, is a Little and is calling herself S'rydia. She is extremely traumatised and distressed and hasn't stopped whimpering, crying and sometimes screaming in our head. I am unable to talk to her at the moment to try to calm her. She is very close to the surface, occasionally co-con with me, which is uncomfortable due to the distress.

    The other Alters are way back in the Inner World and I cannot reach them at the moment, so I feel like I am on my own trying to comfort an extremely distressed Little who has no idea why she was ripped out of integration and then re-integrated with a different Alter. It is very confusing and I don't know why it happened. It was incredibly painful emotionally and mentally. When I eventually calmed down and reestablished a sense of reality, I was curled in a tight ball on the bed, right up against the headboard, cuddling a teddy bear which was soaked in tears.

    Today I have just been trying to rest as much as possible and soothe her. It is very hard.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. alasdayr
    alasdayr avatar
    203 posts
    31 March 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Sapphíre,

    Welcome. I do not have DID, but my daughter does and it can be both a blessing and a curse. You likely have quite a mix of protectors and persecutors. The worse the situation gets, the more the persecutors tend to take control and make your life hell. Some alters know what is going on, others have no clue. Some leave messages or share memories for other alters, some do not. Switches are sometimes painful, sometimes they are near seamless. It can be as confusing for others as it is for you at times.

    DID is often bought on by trauma. In order to deal with the trauma, professional help is a must. The one thing to be wary of is that a lot of mental health professionals have no training or clear concept of what DID is and how to work with a DID system of personalities. They do not understand that alters cannot always be bought forward at will. You may have to go though a number of mental health professionals till you get one that knows how to work with you.

    One thing about DID is that each alter seems to represent a purpose or aspect that the body is trying to deal with. It is almost that each alter needs to have its concerns dealt with allow the whole system to move forward.

    When dealing with help lines or counselors, work on the concerns of the alter that is most in control at the time. They are trained not trained to work with multiple concerns (or multiple peoples concerns) at once.

    You are welcome to post here at any time. Often writing concerns helps in clarifying what someone is thinking and feeling.

    I hope you find ways of coping with the trauma in bite sized chunks. The forums and I are here to listen.

    Alasdayr.

    3 people found this helpful
  5. Sapphíre
    Sapphíre avatar
    7 posts
    31 March 2020 in reply to alasdayr

    Hi Alasdayr

    I totally understand about it being a blessing and a curse. It is very hard sometimes. The internal arguments, the dissociation, the switches... it is very tiring. When there were 41 of us, there were a huge variety of different Alters and roles. Now there are 6 of us. They are as follows:

    Host: Sapphire (9 years younger than the body)

    Manager: The Gatekeeper (170 yrs old)

    Protector/Persecutor: Jake (16)

    Alter (Not sure what role she has): JC (16 - Jake's twin)

    Little: Channa (6)

    New Little/emotional and trauma holder: S'rydia (6/ancient)

    I am really struggling with the new Little. So...much...pain.

    We have gone through a huge amount of upheaval in the last month or so, following huge traumatic therapy/upheaval. It's complicated. The original host could not remember anything of her past below 16, but when the last 41 Alters integrated, she suddenly was bombarded with memories, and as a result, she collapsed and integrated into me. I have all the memories. I was a memory/key holder in the System, and was mostly dormant until a few months ago. Now I am full time host and learning about a world I never had any contact with, and people who I do not know except through Lynda's memories. It is hard on everyone.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. alasdayr
    alasdayr avatar
    203 posts
    31 March 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Sapphíre,

    Comfort and protect S'rydia. She is scared and not yet ready to face her fears. Keep her settled calm and distracted. Ideally see if Jake (or JC) can ensure S'rydia is safe and comfortable. Does S'rydia have a favorite, toy, song, activity, environment that helps keep her calm.

    Find what S'rydia needs and let her have it. Distraction is the key. You all need time to figure it all out.

    If your DID is like my daughters, you have an internal world where the alters live and interact. Try keep S'rydia from fronting for a while. If S'rydia has known positive or negative triggers, try avoid them for a while.

    My daughter was taught about zones of regulation (blue-calm, green-alert, yellow-agitated, red-crisis). Each alter will be in it's own zone of regulation. S'rydia is likely in the red and in no state to deal with anything. She needs to be calmed before any progress can be made.

    Only once an alter is in a green regulation, then work can be done on underlying issues.

    The normal therapy for trauma is graded exposure, but this should be done with help, guidance and support. The exposure is graded enough to push the alter to yellow (and no further), but then allow self-regulation to get back to green. Repeated graded exposure allows more and more of the trauma to be gradually dealt with.

    If the exposure too great (into red), the alter will retreat (flee) and healing will take longer. This is why professional help in this case is essential.

    The main caution is against trying to progress things too quickly. Time right now is your biggest friend.

    Only once an alter is in a green regulation, then work can be done on underlying issues.

    41 alters to 6 is a huge change. Give this time to settle a little. Turmoil and confusion for a while during this stage is expected.

    Please take care and keep reaching out for help.

    Alasdayr.

    2 people found this helpful
  7. Sapphíre
    Sapphíre avatar
    7 posts
    1 April 2020 in reply to alasdayr
    Really struggling these last few days. S'rydia is almost always co-con, or at least very close to the surface, and her anguish, pain and terror is tangible and I cannot reach her. She is not communicating. She is in deep and severe shock. She does not recognise any of us in our System because when she was Lydia, all the Alters she knew then, are all integrated and she doesn't know any of us. So she is terrified and very agitated. Definitely in the red zone! The 2 protectors are trying to bring her back in the Inner World to comfort her, but she is resisting and completely immobilised from terror. I really am not sure how to help her so that we can all rest. We are so exhausted!
    1 person found this helpful
  8. Aaronsis
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
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    Aaronsis avatar
    2463 posts
    1 April 2020

    Hey Sapphire and hey to you too alaysdar

    I want to welcome you Sapphire to the forum and I am so glad that you have reached out to share what is going on for you all. I actually have nothing to offer other than my support, but mostly my gratitude that there are people like alaysdar who have such a huge understanding of DID and can provide you all with some amazing advice and some actual techniques that might be of use to you during this time of S'rydia's confusion and pain.

    With so many changes going on in our world at this time it is no surprise that we are all effected so very differently by these and it seems that S'rydia has arrived at this most traumatic time.

    Please take care of you and keep talking, I am so thankful for how wonderful alasdayr is and that you have this support here.

    We are here with you to offer you some comfort in this time Sapphire, welcome.

    Hugs

    Sarah

    2 people found this helpful
  9. alasdayr
    alasdayr avatar
    203 posts
    1 April 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Do things as host that soothe her while she co-con's. This is time out for the system in general.

    If sleep helps, sleep. Try different foods a child may like (some sweet, some savory). If particular music, movies or TV programs help, indulge her. Youtube has a number of kids TV programs available. (My daughter still like Backyardigans as it was something from her childhood).

    You are not the hosts age, you are S'rydia's age (and scared). The adult world and adult concerns are not your place right now.

    S'rydia needs something familiar and comforting to latch onto (and she will latch on hard when you find it). Then your protectors can create a place in the inner world for S'rydia to really calm down and start to be introduced to what the state of the system is. (what an alter is, where memories are communicated, etc...)

    I do not expect any online help can assist you with this. It is way outside their normal expertise.

    Treat all of yourself (particularly S'rydia) very gentle for a while till things calm down a bit.

    Alasdayr.

    2 people found this helpful
  10. Sapphíre
    Sapphíre avatar
    7 posts
    1 April 2020 in reply to alasdayr
    My brother in law last night brought over a care package for the Littles, and S'rydia claimed a huge teddy bear as hers. She hasn't named it yet, that I know of. Or if she has, she is not telling. But she cuddles it often. Nothing seems to make her smile though. We have started creating a playlist of songs she likes, and I have noticed they are all very sad songs, but she seems to resonate with them, so I let her listen to them. However, I am also very aware that I do not want her to sink into a deep depression either. I'm at a bit of a loss, and without therapy at the moment, I am limited in my experience.

    Also, as we have been forced to leave the country we lived in for 15 years and move back "home" to Australia, taking only a suitcase, and having zero money and no job, we are also limited in what we can get her to comfort her or Channa, the other Little.

    Hard times x
    2 people found this helpful
  11. alasdayr
    alasdayr avatar
    203 posts
    1 April 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Cuddle the teddy bear often. Do not be concerned on making S'rydia smile as yet. Responsive is enough for now. You are trying to build her trust in the system.

    See if a place in your internal world can be made specifically for her.

    Depression is not sadness and it sounds like S'rydia dealing with trauma and loss. Sadness is normal at a time of loss. It helps with a letting go. However I do agree with reducing the frequency of the sad songs and more time playing and cuddling the bear and with other forms of distraction and entertainment.

    Sad songs are a form of "graded exposure" and they will keep triggering the intensity of memories that you probably want to let fade. Faded memories do not have the same emotional sting of fresh ones.

    Consequently, some distracted time away from the trauma memories and getting accustomed to the care of the other alters would be good. Drawing, and story telling may help. Give S'rydia a non-judgemental mode of expression.

    Remember progress is generally only made when in a green-calm zone of mental regulation (not yellow-agitated, not blue-disinterested/bored).

    Job and money are adult concerns (especially in the current situation). Only when S'rydia is safe out of the co-con position can these be dealt with.

    Alasdayr.

    2 people found this helpful
  12. james1
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • China
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    james1 avatar
    3061 posts
    2 April 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Hello Sapphire,

    I just wanted to send you all my best wishes. I have been following your conversation with Alasdayr who I am glad you have found.

    It sounds like a lot of care for yourselves is helpful right now while you deal with this new situation of helping S'rydia feel a bit safer, while also trying to adapt to just having the 6 Alters. It is often easier to deal with one thing at a time and you sound really exhausted trying to juggle all of your needs.

    Please keep posting to us if you find it is helpful. We will be here to listen and talk to you.

    James

    2 people found this helpful
  13. alasdayr
    alasdayr avatar
    203 posts
    2 April 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Sapphíre,

    Quick touch base to see how you all are doing. How is S'rydia? Channa? Jake? JC? The Gatekeeper? and Sapphíre?

    Happy to get communication from any of you.

    Take care and stay safe.

    Alasdayr.

    2 people found this helpful
  14. Aaronsis
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Aaronsis avatar
    2463 posts
    2 April 2020

    Hello alasdayr and hello to you all too, Sapphire, S'rydia, Channa, Jake, JC and The Gatekeeper

    I wanted to come to chat to express my support and also say that since your first post Sapphire and the support and conversation that alasdayr had given it has created an interest for me to find out, to educate myself and to learn what a system looks like in having to live with DID.

    Can I firstly say that I have had my eyes so very widely opened and I have even seen some footage of people transitioning through alters, I want to say that I understand the emotional energy, the pain, the frustration, the confusion and 1 million other emotions and feelings that a system living with DID goes through, but I can honestly say ...I will of course, never truly understand. My heart goes out to you Sapphire (et all) for the courage and the bravery that you show every day to just get through the day and while I have nothing to offer I just want to extend my hand and my heart, and to you too alasdayr for your beautiful daughter, to live with this disorder is nothing short of amazing and so incredible and my heart and support goes out to you all.

    I hope today brings something wonderful

    Hugs

    Sarah

    3 people found this helpful
  15. Sapphíre
    Sapphíre avatar
    7 posts
    3 April 2020 in reply to Aaronsis

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am always open to talk about this disorder to try to help people to understand. I know it's so hard for folk to wrap their heads around it.. people who have always had singular minds find it hard to understand multiple minds in one body. But I have a passion for helping people to get through it and to understand it, so I am absolutely open to answering any question and if I don't know the answer, I will research it for you. So please do ask me anything. I don't get offended at anything and nothing is taboo.

    Much love

    Saph and co

    2 people found this helpful
  16. alasdayr
    alasdayr avatar
    203 posts
    3 April 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Sapphíre and co,

    Such an amazing attitude. So great to hear that you are open to talking about D.I.D. as most cannot understand.

    I've taught my daughter to first build trust in someone before talking openly about it because most simply cannot accept what is going on. The Hollywood and media representation of D.I.D. is incorrect at best, harmful at worst.

    I find a lot expect those with alters to be able to call an alter to front whenever they want. From experience with my daughter I know it does not work that way. Positive triggers invite alters to front, negative triggers drag alters to the front in a traumatic way. Each alter has it's own full life happening at all times (eating, sleeping, playing, interacting), whether fronting or in the inner world. The whole system just copes because it has no other choice.

    How is S'rydia doing, has she now got a safe place to be?

    How are the rest of you doing?

    Alasdayr

    1 person found this helpful
  17. Sapphíre
    Sapphíre avatar
    7 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to alasdayr

    Hey Alasdayr

    Thank you for your words. You are right, although I can invite Alters to come forth if someone in the outer world wants to speak to them. Generally they are happy enough to front. At the moment I've been having a hard time with Jake, who is a 16 year old boy. He is mad at me because he wants to harm the body (persecutor/protector) and I won't let him as far as I am able! So I spoke to the Chaplain here about it and Dave has been trying to bond with Jake. We figured Jake needs a male role model in his life; someone he can respect and look up to. Male bonding etc. And it's going ok, but Jake is well mad at me for mentioning the self harm and suicidal tendencies. So when he's not being nasty to me, he is ignoring me! I have spend the day asleep as he self-harmed last night, and so I only woke up a couple of hours ago. It's now 6:30pm!

    S'rydia is very slowly settling. She spoke to someone for the first time, which was nice, but she is still very traumatised and scared. She has a huge teddy bear that she's called Helix that she likes to cuddle, and having that around is a positive trigger for her. We also let her do some drawing. She is a strange one because of the merge between Lydia and Sorrow. Lydia is left handed and whilst her drawings often depict trauma and abuse, Sorrow is right handed and her drawings are scary to the point of horror! So the combined drawings are often very disturbing, but I encourage her/them to draw as it's an outlet for them.

    I have not as yet constructed a new Inner World for them. I suppose I should do that soon, since there are now 6 of us! It's not been an easy time, and today, as I said, I've slept most of the day away. I'd say Jake is just a persecutor, but he does have strong protective qualities as well, especially towards the Littles.

    I just don't know. I'm at a bit of a loss with it all. You'd think I'd have experience from having 42 Alters before, but... sigh. I'm a bit overwhelmed by it all really.

    Saph

    2 people found this helpful
  18. alasdayr
    alasdayr avatar
    203 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Sapphíre and co,

    Less alters are not necessarily less work. Its the strength of the personalities that make all the difference. As you have recently had a reduction in number, the remaining ones are likely to be very strong and very active.

    Glad that S'rydia is settling. Glad she has the bear and is drawing (even if the drawings are disturbing). The drawings are for S'rydia alone at this time to allow her to express. If she want to share the drawings and meanings with others, that is her decision. It is supposed to be non-judgemental expression to allow her to let go of what she is willing to let go of. A place in the internal world for her would be a good idea.

    Sleep is a good way to allow the internal world a chance to settle without having to manage the external world.

    As for Jake and self harm. There are a few techniques that can help, but it depends on Jake's motivation for the harm.

    If it is to elicit feeling (which is common), the best techniques seem to be delay/distraction. You will need to find out how to put distance between Jakes urges and actions (In fact I have to do this almost daily. MDD, BPD, PDD, ASD combination. Emotional dis-regulation is something I struggle with).

    If it is as a fore-runner to destruction, this is more serious and does need professional attention and intervention. In this case also engage the gatekeeper and JC to assist in diverting Jake from acting on urges as it threatens everyone in the system.

    Either way, a safety plan for Jake is highly recommended. Safety plan is quick access to pictures, songs, films, stories, poems, sensations that help defer/delay/self regulate Jake (remind how life has good aspects). Next step is a quick access to trusted contacts who Jake can reach out to get immediate help. Last step is the professional services that can help in crisis situations (like lifeline, etc...)

    Keep safe and keep in contact.

    You are doing well in coping with a very tough time. Sounds like you are doing everything right. Time is your biggest ally at the moment.

    Alasdayr.

    2 people found this helpful
  19. Naptime
    Naptime avatar
    6 posts
    27 September 2020 in reply to Sapphíre

    Hi Sapphire and everyone in the system.

    I realise this is a bit old, but I wanted to say hi. I have DID and I understand a lot of what you are saying. I have therapy twice a week now, and it has been helping the traumatised members cope. Of course, therapy more often means more stuff comes up, so it is a double edged sword!

    I hope everyone in your system is safe and well at the moment. Let the littles and traumatised ones hug their toys, draw, and do anything that helps them. I know it can be hard for some to accept that these things are needed - our original/ one born into the body used to hide toys and rip up drawings and writings which created a lot of drama and upset.

    I hope you reach out and keep talking. Having support is crucial as I am sure you understand.

    -Toni

    2 people found this helpful
  20. Naptime
    Naptime avatar
    6 posts
    28 September 2020 in reply to Naptime

    Sorry I just wanted to add that therapy is the thing that has helped us the most. We have known our T for the best part of 20 years (we weren’t seeing him for therapy for DID all that time - he was also our psych in psych hospital when we were admitted in our younger years). I know it is really hard to find a decent psych/ therapist. Not only the red tape of Medicare and possibly mental health plans, but then also finding one who believes in the diagnosis.

    Have you been formally diagnosed? Not sure how the system works in UK anymore. Having a formal diagnosis of DID would help in broaching the subject of finding a psych who is empathetic to the diagnosis.

    Keep reaching out, we know how you are feeling and what you are going through in regards to new members, more fragmentation and members coming back from the Beyond.

    1 person found this helpful

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