Learning to Live with the Moving Parts of DID
A critical aspect of living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is having multiple parts or personalities to manage on a regular basis. These personalities often vary in age and appearance, and they typically have traits that make them unique in the eye of the individual living with DID. Taking care of parts is essential to managing DID on a daily basis, but what happens when their needs are not met?
Managing the Moving Parts of DID
Caring for parts while living with DID can often feel like a handful. Think of a parent who is trying to manage a number of children without any assistance. This is the one of the simplest examples I can give when it comes to describing what it is like living with DID.
Not all of my personalities are young, but most of them stem from my childhood and adolescent trauma. This means that they “split off” from my personality at varying ages, giving me a diverse group to manage on a daily basis.
While there is no hard rule that says that people living with DID need to manage their parts, there are many downsides associated with failing to do so. For instance, I may begin to absorb the emotions of a personality that is in need of attention, whether it be sadness, anger or anxiety. This results in becoming “blended” with a personality, rather than remaining grounded and living in the present moment.
But how does one know when a personality needs immediate attention? Is there any defined way to address the desires of a specific personality?
Meeting Your Needs While Living with DID
The easiest way to identify that a personality needs attention is by taking a moment to gauge my own emotional state. If I’m feeling “blended,” there is a good chance that it is because a specific personality is taking over and requires attention.
Once I am able to identify the problem, I can begin to address it through different means. I often choose to meditate, or simply give myself some quiet time, to have an inner dialogue with the personality that needs my help. Most of the time, all the personality needs is a few moments to air its grievances in order to feel relieved.
In the event that a quick conversation doesn’t work, I’ll specifically ask the personality what it needs. Compassion, attention and love are the most common needs I come across, and those are easy enough to resolve.
Understanding your position as a host is essential to managing DID. It’s up to you to ensure that your internal family system is happy, healthy and functional on a regular basis. A mental health professional can be critical to providing guidance in this area as well.