When I meet a new person, I often feel anxious about introducing them to the fact that I’m a system. It’s an important part of my life, but not something the average person understands. (You have multiple people in your brain? Like Jekyll and Hyde?) Therefore, I made an approximately one-page introduction to Dissociative Identity Disorder/Other Specified Dissociative Disorder and my own experience with it. You may want to read it to get a better sense of me as a person, but you may also want to use it as a template for your own similar creation! Here it is:
Hi! You are someone that [HOST] cares about and therefore here’s some pertinent information about his system!
-DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder, is when one body has multiple full-fledged people in their head. Sometimes they have noticeably different personalities. They will almost always have amnesia between alters— for example, one alter will go to the grocery store, and the next alter to front will not have memories of doing that and wonder where all the food came from. I have OSDD, which is like a less “severe” form. While my different selves (alters) have names and are separate/different in a very real way, we share a brainspace and don’t have a lot of amnesia between us. That means that if one alter does something, we will all be aware of it. (However, we are very forgetful in general due to dissociation so please be patient with us when this symptom manifests!)
-Being multiple is a result of childhood trauma. Basically, everyone starts out a blob of consciousness that solidifies into a single identity over time during the childhood/teen years. With DID/OSDD, the person undergoes abuse/trauma that, for various reasons, makes them solidify into multiple identities. These identities can shift over time as new alters are created or merged, but the status of being a system or not is generally decided by age 8.
-Part of the point of being multiple/a system is to HIDE the damage that the trauma has done to someone, so often (even for people with “severe” forms of the disorder) switches between alters are undetectable.
-Yes, everyone has different parts of themselves (Google “Internal Family Systems Therapy” for more info) but alters are much more distinct than that. They have personalities that I might describe as moods (ie “this alter is depressed”) but they are different than normal moods or whims. They have names, ages, and a sense of individuality that is hard to describe.
-Just because it’s a trauma disorder, it doesn’t mean it’s bad! My alters help me survive. Together, we are a team. I would rather have not had trauma in my life, but I love my alters.
-Switching isn’t bad either! Switching alters is not analogous to a panic attack or another mental health crisis! If you notice us acting differently, try to just roll with it! It will probably be fun!
-For us, the most externally noticeable feature of our system is that we sometimes act like a child. This means that [LITTLE] is fronting, and while we are just as smart during these times, we often get distracted easily and babble a lot. It’s okay! If he’s out, it means we feel safe around you and we’re having fun. It might also mean that we are physically uncomfortable (like we have a stomach ache for example). He will not (generally) act in ways that are ill-advised or against our own best interest, but he may want to cuddle or play! :3 If he’s affectionate with you, then we all feel that affection!
-We have around 10 alters, but [HOST] and [LITTLE] are the only ones who “front” or take charge. 99% of the time, I am your friend [HOST], but the other alters are often loud inside my head during that time. They influence my thoughts and actions even when I’m undeniably [HOST].
I am definitely open to any questions that you may have, so ask away!