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How to explain DID to someone

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

I'm not providing advice on if you should or shouldn't disclose or discuss your DID diagnosis, but rather I'm offering an optional way of disclosing and discussing your DID diagnosis. If you intend to disclose your DID diagnosis, try first explaining your stance with the diagnosis and your expectations, before explaining the diagnosis. For example, here are things I've said.

"I've been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, a disorder that name was changed from Multiple Personality Disorder because of the misleading name. People think I have multiple personalities and that's just how it looks to people and not what actually happens. It's scary how people believe it though, like I'm some type of fictional movie monster. But I'm a person like you. Struggling with a real thing, too. I'm confiding in you because it's lonely not having support I can talk too about it. I hope i can talk with you now and again, when i need someone to hear me so i don't feel like such a movie monster."

After you make your stance and expectations clear, invite them to listen to the explanation of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

"Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID is a serious disorder i got from post traumatic trauma or more specifically, abuse from years ago. It broke my mind into many pieces where my thoughts and feelings are disrupted and causes me to act in drastically different ways, and sometimes not so drastic, to defend against stress. Especially from more trauma. Sometimes i have little to no memory of the different ways i can be and what happens during, so this causes people to think I have different personalities or that I was possessed by supernatural beings. Very Hollywood, I know, but it's involuntary - like how you get extreme anxiety walking into a spider's nest. It's tough, sometimes I function just fine and other times not so well. Every moment of every day is unpredictable. Even when I'm sleeping. Sometimes I have a good solid day or week where I'm just fine and I can blend in with the angry villagers who think I'm a monster. Did I mention, sometimes I think I'm a monster, too, based on how people treat me?"

After you've summarized DID to them in non-clinical language that shows your humanity, invite them to share questions and concerns.

"Do you have questions, comments, and or concerns for me? It's OK if you don't or have more at a later time. I'm here to listen and answer questions, too."

Now mind you, in conversation you won't remember or have time to repeat word from word, but this will serve as a guide. Hopefully a helpful tool.

By Alantis Perkins A.K.A Wolf

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