A writing submission by Amelia Joubert explaining Dissociate Identity Disorder.

Dissociative Identity Disorder, previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a very misunderstood disorder. There is more to Dissociative Identity Disorder than just what is seen in movies and books. Dissociative Identity Disorder is very complex and can be easily misunderstood. Many people have heard of “multiple personalities” but do not know the causes of it or details.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is caused by severe childhood trauma that is often sexual, but not always. A child basically goes though a trauma that is so bad for them their mind says, “this is not happening to me. It is happening to this person”. The child’s mind splits and a new identity, or alter, is created to hold the memory of the trauma so the child doesn’t have to. After an alter is created they live in a world created by the mind known as the inner world. All alters stay in the inner world unless they are the one that is out at the time. When someone is out, or fronting, they have control of the body. Alters can range in age and can be any age, older or younger then the body. Most alters have different names and look different in the inner world. Alters can be a different gender from the body, can have different allergies and some may even need glasses when they are out. This may seem crazy that their can be such big differences but one must remember the mind wants the person to believe that their trauma did not happen to them.

There are different types of alters. The host is the alter that is out the most and usually has the same name as the body. Many people think of the host as the “real personality”, however all the personalities are real. If you have a pizza and cut it into slices there is no piece of pizza that is more real than any other piece of pizza. This is a simple way to think about alters. Child alters are also known as littles and alters that protect the system are called protectors.

The system is how all the alters are referred to as. Switching is when one alter takes control of the body. Switching can be caused by several things including a color, a sound and even a smell. These things are called triggers. Although having alters and a big part of Dissociative Identity Disorder there is more to it. Dissociative Identity Disorder is a disorder that comes from trauma and people with it can share many symptoms of someone with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. People with Dissociative Identity Disorder are more likely have problems with depression that can lead to self harm and even suicidal behaviors. They may also have bad night terrors and flashbacks as well as issues with anxiety. Dissociative Identity Disorder is very complicated and very hard to understand. This article will hopefully make understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder easier for the people who read it. Hopefully it will help to break down the wall of stigmas surrounding not just Dissociative Identity Disorder, but all mental health. I hope, really hope, that this article will make others view people with mental disorders more human and real. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and I am real, my alters are real and my disorder is real, yet it doesn’t define me.

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