Loneliness and Dissociative Identity Disorder

The following article is written from my heart to warm yours. I have included some insights into my own healing journey to help you feel less lonely.

 

Perhaps one of the toughest parts of having DID is the loneliness and feeling disconnected from the rest of the world. This article will attempt to describe this loneliness, its causes, and what can be done about it.

 

Feeling Alone in a Crowded Mind

 

 

Literal loneliness might seem impossible to a person who lives with dissociative identity disorder because there are alternate personality states constantly nearby. I know in my mind, even after years of treatment, there is a constant cacophony of noises from the others in my system talking, laughing, crying, and sometimes singing.

 

However, because I have a disorder that often drives people away, loneliness is never far away.

 

The loneliness that accompanies DID is that of not having anyone around who cares and understands the disorder. Describing to other people that I have DID is a very dangerous thing to do because there is every chance they will turn and briskly walk away.

 

The chances of meeting someone with similar experiences and who understands dissociative identity disorder are small. Sometimes those who are around don’t believe the trauma that lies behind it.

 

It is exhaustive to try and form relationships without telling them what you have because for one I feel I am hiding a piece of information they may want to know and two there are no adequate words that others could tolerate to describe what I’ve been through.

 

Reaching Out and Searching for Romance

 

Many, who have formed DID and live with it every day will understand how hard it is to trust someone else, especially romantically. The trauma that causes DID often includes sexual and emotional abuse and neglect which causes deep distrust of anyone, especially those who would like to form a romantic partnership.

 

The result is that people like me, who live with DID, avoid searching for romance. There are some people with DID out there in Internet land who are able to find a partner and live well, but many of us are lonely because we are terrified to reach out.

 

Knowing where to look and what to say is also a roadblock to finding a romantic partner. Where does one look for romance? A bar? A library? Or god forbid, a church?

 

Once you find a place to look, what do you say and how do you approach someone with that deep-seated fear of other people as I do? Do you force yourself to go over and talk to people? That might not work out well as an alter may emerge to drive the other person away or worse, cause the other person to become romantically entangled only to be pushed away harshly later.

 

Loneliness, Stigma, and DID

 

 

Stigma, aka discrimination, of people who have DID is very high. Either people believe we are dangerous people because of the movies, or they believe it would be cool to have dissociative identity disorder.

 

There are also medical doctors and mental health professionals who do not believe that DID is a real diagnosis and see everyone living with it who enters their office as liars.

 

Don’t get me started on the churches and their followers. I’ve been tossed out and driven out of two churches. One because I wouldn’t consent to an exorcism and the other because they wouldn’t have anything to do with me once they knew I had major depression (I never admitted to having DID, I learned better from the first church).

 

To make matters worse, I am always asked questions about my disorder that are so far out there it isn’t funny because of movies like “Split” and television shows like “The United States of Tara.”

 

It is very lonely to live in a world where you are not accepted and where some people want to be you not understanding how hard it is to have DID.

 

Ending Loneliness

 

The type of loneliness that people who live with the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder experience is deep and painful.

 

We want to keep people at an arm’s length, yet we crave intimacy and love from another.

 

We have a head full of alters who are parts of ourselves stuck in trauma time, yet they can be no real comfort to us because we crave the touch and presence of someone who is on the outside.

 

One way we can combat loneliness is to change our perspective on it. Loneliness can be explored and with that exploration will come a new understanding of ourselves and new insights will emerge.

 

When you are lonely, it is difficult to take some kind of action.

 

However, gentle self-care is a good place to start. Take a nice long luxurious bath or shower and allow yourself to relax. Then, dress in nice clothes. It doesn’t matter if you are going anywhere or not, you need to look your best.

 

The meaning of this exercise is to get yourself ready to meet others and indicates to us that we are vitally important and deserving of nurturing attention. By taking pride in your appearance, you are combatting the old tapes playing in your mind that tell you that you are worthless and so don’t deserve gentle loving care.

 

If we who have DID are able to involve ourselves in excellent self-care we are ready to have more energy and enthusiasm for being social among people. Once you have established that you are ready to mingle, volunteer at a charity, or help care for children or stray animals. Find your niche and you will find like-minded people to have as friends, the beginning of finding an intimate partner.

 

Ending Our Time Together

 

If you believe that switching and losing time are the harshest parts of having DID, you are wrong. Loneliness is indeed one of the worst symptoms that I and many like me who live with dissociative identity disorder experience.

 

I wrote this piece to be vulnerable with you. I am not a rock star, I’m just a writer who cares about everyone who reads this blog who happens to also have dissociative identity disorder or who loves someone who does.

I’ve been in treatment for over three decades and yes, I’ve made huge strides in my healing. Yet, I crave and deeply fear intimacy with another human being. I’m not just talking about sex; I’m talking about the fear of abandonment that has constrained me all my life.

 

We are in this boat together, you and me. We are struggling to travel down the road less taken together. I want you to know that I do care deeply about each of you who have DID and struggle with loneliness. I understand and I care.

 

Shirley

 

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” — Margaret Mead

 

“You really can change the world if you care enough.” — Marian Wright Edelman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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