How to Calm Down Young Personalities to Better Manage DID
Trigger warning: this post involves frank discussion of suicide ideation.
A critical aspect of dissociative identity disorder (DID) is the parts, or personalities (including young personalities), that are within the headspace of the individual with the condition. It took me years before I was finally able to identify my own parts, converse with them, and create a healthier place in my mind for them to exist, especially when I have been experiencing suicidal ideation. That being said, it isn’t impossible, even when it may feel like it while dealing with younger parts.
Identifying Younger Parts from the Early Years
To understand why people with DID have parts of different ages stems back to trauma. Depending on when an individual experienced prolonged trauma, he or she may have personalities that date back to that particular period of life.
In my case, I handle parts with a wide range of ages, but for the most part, many of them stem from my childhood. This is when my prolonged trauma began, therefore I have several younger personalities from my formative years.
DID and Child-like Personalities
Having younger personalities that are around the same age of children can be challenging, especially if you have no children of your own, like myself. Although I lack that personal experience, I like to think that I could handle many of the aspects of communication with children now that I’ve learned to converse with my younger parts.
In specialized therapy for DID, it isn’t uncommon for patients to slip in and out of their personalities. When a child part presents itself, the patient may begin to act child-like in nature during the session. The same can be said for myself, although I also find that these younger parts can present themselves during everyday life as well.
Keeping It Simple while Managing DID and Young Parts
Although it can be difficult negotiating with my younger parts, it isn’t impossible. The easiest way I’ve found is to treat them their age. For instance, if I am handling a part that is around three years of age, I simply speak to him or her in easy-to-understand language.
I also apply these principles to the part’s wants and needs. For example, if a young part needs attention, I’ve found that I can quell its yearning by simply being there for it, or giving it something to pre-occupy itself (e.g., coloring books, board games). In my daily life, this might mean that I set aside time to engage in a relaxing activity, such as adult coloring.
Sometimes I’ve found that it also helps to meditate when my younger parts are feeling particularly needy, suicidal or depressed. While meditating, I can envision myself as the host, speaking to these parts and calming them down. I can also picture myself giving them whatever they need, whether it be an imaginative stuffed toy or a favorite pet.
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to taking care of younger parts. With a little meditation, love and care, it’s possible to successfully manage this commonly misunderstood aspect of DID.
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.