Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Sensational Diagnosis?

This morning I took a tour of the videos available on YouTube put out there by people about DID. What I found disturbed me. While some were honest videos from people in varying states of recovery, many were obviously created by people caught up in what they believe to be a sensational diagnosis.


Living with a severe mental health issue like dissociative identity disorder isn’t a wonderful thing. In fact, it is extremely difficult and can cost a person’s ability to become successful in both love and finances.

I know, I live with a true case of DID and have paid heavily for the actions of others that have made me have extreme difficulty to function.

The Realities of Living with DID: It’s Not Pretty


My life has been dictated by a disorder I did not cause nor want. I have lost jobs, friends, family members and opportunities to be in a stable, loving relationship. There is nothing wonderful about living with DID.

I have been hospitalized over thirty times on psyche wards including the state hospital of Illinois.

I have been forced to live inpatient for over seven years because of the severe depression and an addiction to painkillers, as having a coexisting substance abuse problem, something that is common with DID.

I got married while dissociated, waking up lying next to a man I knew but had turned down for marriage a few months before. I remained married to him for over eight years because I felt guilty for leading him on. He never knew, even when we divorced, that I didn’t love him and a part of me named S.J. got married to him.

I’ve held two long-term jobs, one that was a terrific job with great potential for advancement. I had to quit that fantastic job because I was too ill to continue.

It took me 37 years to complete my Associate Degree in Psychology because of the instability of my mental health.

Now I live with my brother and am trapped into a situation I am finding hard to escape because of circumstances I don’t want to discuss here.

I have no money, no house, no life-partner, no children, and very little prospects of gaining any of these things because I’m 58 and feeling like I’m 100.

I’m an old woman getting older with no prospects of anything.

Does that sound like a sensational life to you?

The Symptoms Are NOT Fun or Sensational

 3Life with an alter system is not fun. Although my system has quieted significantly, I still have extreme problems with my memory. Dissociative amnesia is a big part of my life and I feel frustrated a lot of times because I lose people and events from my memory.

Then there is the switching. Oh, it looks really fascinating on a YouTube video or a movie, but it is not fun or sensational. Not knowing what you have said or done, losing time and having things appear and disappear is traumatic and frightening.

There is nothing COOL about any of it.

And, it hurts! Switching headaches are horribly painful even more so than a migraine. What’s worse, there is no medication that can treat or make better this kind of a headache.

Losing time to some sounds like a sensational event to some but let me tell you it isn’t. I can’t describe the chaos life can be if you can’t remember what you’ve done the last hour or two. I have lost up to two years of my life and woke up inpatient on a psych ward because of losing time. No, it’s not fun.

Honest but Disturbing Questions from the Public


I haunt Quara.com and have been asked some questions that have floored me.

One person asked me how she could become a multiple because it sounded really cool to her. I answered with the information I’ve written above.

Another person, this time a young man, wanted to know if I had any superpowers like Kevin in the movie Split. I told him that the movie Split was just that, a fantasy. No, I do not have any superpowers because I am a plain old human being.

There are no superheroes. If there were, I wouldn’t have DID. One of them would surely have rescued me as a child before this crap could develop.

I’ve been asked if I like being a multiple and if the disability is real.

No, I do not enjoy being a multiple and yes, unfortunately, DID is very real.

Living with the Stigma

 5Speaking of Quora.com, recently someone contacted me wanting to ask me questions about DID so they could write a book about a person with the disorder, who is a superhero.

I begged them not to write that book, but to choose a different main character. I told them that dissociative identity disorder has way too much bunk out there about it already and we do not need more stigma.

It isn’t the only stigma from people writing books that harms people like me.

The number one group of people that multiples have problems with are the very people we need help from, mental health professionals.

I can’t tell you how many dozens of Psychiatrists and counselors of varying degrees I have seen who will not acknowledge that the disorder exists. Instead, they would rather give some other diagnosis and medications that are not needed.

The inpatient psychiatric ward I was on for so long would not allow me to even speak to the therapist they assigned me because “DID does not exist.” For around five years I could not speak to anyone that mattered or ask for help because they would not even consider the possibility that I was not lying to them.

Luckily, the last two years I was there they messed up and assigned me to a therapist who believed in DID and had experience treating it.

I’ve had two churches decide I was either possessed and needed an exorcism or that I was too ill to be allowed to take part in group Sunday school discussions. In fact, the church that wanted to perform an exorcism threw me out because I refused.

The Heartache of Rejection


Because DID is caused by severe childhood trauma, my family rejected me. They just thought I was a nutcase and either became condescending or ignored me altogether. They were embarrassed and upset that I had memories of what they had done to me.

Denial was used as a weapon.

Then I tried to die by suicide. That somehow was a reflection on my family and friends. I will never understand their reactions to my pain. I just never will.

Rejections by interested love interests, friends, and even needing to hide my diagnosis from class members in college were and are my normal.

I am forced to hide who I am.

Does that sound like fun and sensational to you?

Finishing Up This Article

 Life with DID has been horrific for me and I know it is the same for others who live with the diagnosis. I have met many of you online and heard your stories. I hate the way we are portrayed by the media and how people get it in their heads that it would be cool to be like us.

So, I’m sure I am preaching to the choir, but I needed to get this out of my head after seeing some of the videos on YouTube.


It hurts having people look at me like I’m a freak of nature. I, like you, am just an ordinary person whose caregivers treated as a slave to their sick desires.

We’re in this together and you are not alone. I want you to know that.

But, to those who read this article who might have thought to live with dissociative identity disorder is wonderful, exciting and something to be desired, I hope I have changed your mind.

Living with any mental health condition is hard but living with DID is akin to living locked up in a cell your entire life with no key, and no hope of escape.

Think about that.





4 thoughts on “Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Sensational Diagnosis?

  1. Thank you very, very much, Shirley, for your accurate portrayal of DID! Some of us have had it worse and some of us have not have it to those depths- but we ALL SUFFER!!!!

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!!!

    I am grateful to you that I was also able to post this extremely Honest article on DID on my Facebook page! Although most people ignore my postings – it feels like I’m invisible- I post truth, anyway!!!!

    You are commended for your Bravery!!!




  2. Thank you for your honest contribution. Your story is very similar to mine, and makes me feel a little less lost and alone. I am 56 and moved in with my sister and her husband earlier this after many years of trying to deal with this condition on my own. I have been through 3 marriages, and lost everything I owned so many times that nothing really matters anymore. I have attempted suicide many times over the years, and been in many psych wards in many different towns and cities all over Canada and the US. The first time I seriously attempted suicide by walking in front of a car on the highway. Two months later I woke up in a hospital with no memory, and severely damaged physically. And, over time, some of my memory came back, but only the severely painful memories of trauma and abuse. I feel close to no one, feel afraid of intimacy in any form, and feel worthless and guilty and full of shame! But, I am writing a book about my life experiences, and lessons learned, and have found it to be a healing experience. After living in over 120 dwelling, in 35+ different area, I think I might be coming to terms with my life, and realize what I’ve been running from. DID is not a fun condition, and has not given me any superpowers, except for a very strong sense of empathy and understanding. Thank you for putting your words out there. It helps to know there are others who understand.


    1. Hi Jake. Yes, our stories are very similar. I tried to die by suicide the first time when I was 6. I’ve had several attempts since then but I’m still here and I’m glad. I still struggle, man that’s an understatement, but life goes on.

      Would you be interested in writing an article about your life? I am part of a project called Patient Next Door. It’s a very cool website and phone app. We do not make money from it, its just a helpful community where people share their health conditions.

      Here’s a link to an article about DID I wrote for the website.


      If you visit the website you will see someone called Shirley from the Patient Next Door support team. That’s me!

      I am happy you don’t feel alone after reading my blog. That makes me feel good. People come here from all over the world and I find that very humbling.

      There is a fantastic online support group for DID and childhood trauma that helped me enormously.


      Check it out.

      Please, if you need encouragement don’t hesitate to reach out to me.



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