I was abused physically, mentally, and emotionally by my mother for the majority of my life. I’ve recently left the situation and am now worried. I have (a few) gaps in my memory, remember things happening but like I was a passenger in my own body, and have heard voices from a small child, a grown woman, a teenage boy, amongst my own. They’re like fragments or me, but not at the same time, because they’re not me, if that makes any sense. I don’t know what to do. Am I broken? How do I fix this?
Thank you for having the courage to reach out and talk about these symptoms. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is something that would need to be diagnosed by a mental health professional, typically a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. My information isn’t meant to offer a diagnosis of any kind, but rather to respond to your question with more information about DID. For an accurate assessment a direct evaluation in person with a professional is best. You can learn more specifically about DID here.
Most typically there are several symptoms that underlie DID and the primary one is that it disrupts the person’s identity as other “personalities” or personality states manifest. These often include different voices, and in some cultures can even be identified during these states as being possessed.
These states disrupt the individual’s identity because there is a gap between one’s sense of self and motivation toward one’s goals with changes in emotional expression, behaviors, memories, feelings, and perceptions. Often these gaps result in memory loss of everyday events, including the specific features of one’s own personality and identity. The role of wife, sister, student, girlfriend, etc., that might make up the individual’s identity are usurped by other, interfering and often competing personalities. These disruptions cause gaps in memory that are beyond what would be considered normal forgetting. These indicators typically cause significant stress in the person’s life because it directly impacts the quality of relationships, and aren’t the result of other medical issues such as seizures.
In the past DID was known as (and is still sometimes referred to as) Multiple Personality Disorder. The disorder is a way the psyche tries to deal with trauma or abuse, and the personalities have emerged to help cope with different aspects of the life. Very often these personalities are compensatory for something the individual is unable to do in their life. As an example, an unassertive person might form an aggressive or highly assertive personality to compensate.
A common symptom is for an individual with DID to lose track of time and there may be significant intervals that are lost due to one of the entities takes control. It is typically not commonly diagnosed in the population, and the best methods of treatment often involve psychotherapy aimed at integrating the identities into the core personality.
As I mentioned, in the beginning, I believe it takes great courage to look at these symptoms and I greatly admire your bravery. I would encourage you to take the next step, and I highly recommend making an initial evaluation with a mental health professional to get an accurate diagnosis and get a treatment plan in place.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral