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09 March 2009 @ 11:31 pm
Dissociative Identity Disorder  
i'm a bit distracted in my head today. So i will write a short post, as i mentioned before, regarding my DID.

What is DID?

According to Wikipedia, DID is "a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a single person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment. The diagnosis requires that at least two personalities routinely take control of the individual's behavior with an associated memory loss that goes beyond normal forgetfulness; in addition, symptoms cannot be due to drug use or medical condition. Earlier versions of the DSM named the condition multiple personality disorder (MPD), and the term is still used by the ICD-10."

DID also means that sometimes i simply "zone out." Ever drive home and suddenly, you've arrived, only you have no idea how you made the trip? That's dissociation. Now imagine that happening regularly, and sometimes for hours on end. When i get stressed, i can dissociate and lose time.

Also, sometimes i will mildly dissociate. i will still be present, but everything will seem weird and strange. i might not know where i am, when it is, who you are, or what i was doing. Reminding me of these things can help. i have learned ways to reconnect with reality as well.

When did i first display signs of DID?

This is a difficult question, but i would say by age 5 i was most likely already split. The alters that i have are generally stuck at the age of creation, which is the age at which abuse occurred. my history of sexual and physical abuse starts before age 3, so i've been this way almost all my life.

How many alters do i have?

Sleeping alter - This alter never wakes up. i sleep to hide from the world. This alter never feels comfortable waking up, and therefore lots of times i have issues telling if i am awake or not. This alter does not take over to where i black out, only makes me unsure if i am sleeping or awake.

Andrew - He is around 3. He is the youngest. He is very sweet and innocent and outgoing.

Dre - She is a little older, around 4-5. She is a sweet little girl who likes little girl things like glitter and puppies and toys.

Aidan - He is the oldest child, around 6-7. He is a brat and is cranky. He comes out as Teddy, my stuffy. He is the Protector. This means he often doesn't like people outside of the body, because he doesn't trust them. He also was the one who self-injured, because he would punish the body so we'd stay good and safe.

Unnamed teenager - She is around 15. Hasn't come up with a name yet. She is angry, especially with being touched. She is resentful to men.

Kyra - The only adult alter. She is of an undetermined age. When things get stressful and someone needs to be unemotional, logical, and get things done, Kyra will take over. Kyra is the main one who will cause full blackouts for me.

What happens when i switch?

Depending on the cause of the switch, it can be very minor or quite noticeable. When i am happy, then i will sometimes switch into kid voice. When i see puppies, i almost always become a kid. They adore puppies.

When i am triggered or in subspace, sometimes the switch becomes more severe. i have had a few days where i was Dre, and unable to do regular things. i had to be told what to do, just as a little kid would need instructions. This type of switch can last much longer. Often i will switch back after sleep, though if emotions are high, i can remain gone for the duration of emotions.

How should someone interact with my alters?

They will love to talk to you, if you wish to talk to them. Sometimes they are shy, but once you are accepting of them, they just love to say hello.

They do NOT appreciate being told that they are not real. They do NOT appreciate being told that they should go away. They see themselves as real people inside of me, and want to be treated as such.

The kid alters are sometimes hard to tell apart via voice. Aidan has a gruff voice, but Dre and Andrew sound almost the same. Only i can tell them apart, and not even all the time. When in doubt, ask who it is. They will certainly tell you if you get it wrong!

The boy alters wish to be seen as boys. They feel like boys, even though the body is that of a cisgendered woman.

What should someone do if i switch?

Don't freak out. Talk to the alter. They will talk back. The more worried you get, the more they will feel the need to protect me, and thus the longer i might be gone.

Don't make me feel like a freak for having DID. The more you can accept that this is who i am, the less broken i feel.

When others freak out about me being DID, it makes me feel like i have to hide parts of myself. i want to know it's okay to switch in front of those i love, and they will accept me, all of me, for who i am.

Are there any good books on DID?

The only book that i would really recommend is:
Amongst Ourselves by Karen Marshall.

Karen is my old therapist, and is DID herself. It's one book that explains DID without going into awful discussions of abuse.

Did i name myself Sybil after the book/movie?

Yes. The name Sybil was on a list of modeling names given to me by one company, and i thought it was just too apropos and hilarious. Therefore i became known as Sybil, and later added Hawthorne (maternal grandfather's ancestral family name).
Ink Well: Showtimepenpusher on March 10th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this.

I have been having ongoing conversations with people on the IMDb boards about the Showtime series, "United States of Tara," regarding many issues with the plots of that show, and how they are handling the DID storylines they are presenting in their "dramedy" format on Showtime, so it is very informative to read your truth.

I wonder if you have seen the show, heard any comments or formed any opinions about how it is displaying the disorder.

Or maybe I should save this for an episode of talk_show if you ever wanted to do such a thing.
whore in sheep's clothing.sybilhawthorne on March 10th, 2009 06:52 am (UTC)
i ADORE united states of tara. It is very truthful. i am so addicted to that show. It is gut wrenching sometimes to watch but it's so amazing to see someone like me, even if the character is fictitious.

i'd definitely do talk_show if you so wanted.

dominas_muki on March 10th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
A HUGE Thank you to you, Ate... Huge hugs to you as well. =o)
i want to comment on this, but i feel that i can't right now...
Btw, you could call me toto if you want... He he he... Makes me think of a puppy... Now i must contemplate if i should come in today... Hmmm...
ezrayeezraye on March 10th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
I wonder about your name, I know that people don't pronounce Andrea right so you don't go by that generally. Do you prefer Dre or Drea when meaning you and not little Dre?

also, tell the little ones hello! I remember years ago passing emails back and forth with Dre and Andrew's singing messages... gee, we've known each other a long time!

and now I'm kinda spacing off into my own thoughts, so I guess I'll save that for a post.
whore in sheep's clothing.sybilhawthorne on March 10th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Some people still call me Dre, which is fine. Most of the time, i go by Sybil now. Hell, my roommate barely can even remember that my legal name is Andrea.

Only people who knew me as Dre or Andrea still call me that. Feel free to use either one.
ezrayeezraye on March 10th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
oh, I totally thought that Sybil was just a modeling/website name. I didn't realize that people actually called you that. I think you'll always be Dre to me. :)
Karina n'ha Shaiha, et alcoginthenose on March 10th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing. I do remember the voice posts by Andrew and Dre
It also sounds like from you post you are the host and you concider rest alters? I ask because my and ST system do not work that way at all.
whore in sheep's clothing.sybilhawthorne on March 10th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, i would be the main personality, so i am the host. i have control over most of the alters, except Kyra.

However i did not know about any of them until my early 20s. Looking back to my childhood, they were there though.
nicky_finnnicky_finn on November 16th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
this just makes you even more beautiful in my eyes. i didn't think it was possible, but there you are. all adorable and stuff!
i will attempt to relate:
i have a large inclination to believe i fit the criteria for an autism spectrum disorder, so i have the tendency to appear as though i've switched personalities, but i have not. in my mind, i have characters that i know i have created that are a part of me, that i know i can talk to, but they never "take over". if i get really excited and want to be cute, i talk in a cute voice. i had an ex try to tell me "you're not autistic, you just have the same kind of 'never want to grow up' complex that michael jackson has. it's perfectly normal, since your brother abused you, and sometime i think your dad did too.." and i've never been more insulted by him in my life. (i was more mature than him, and my dad never ever came close to doing "something" to me and that asshole always asked questions implying that something had happened and i always told him how it made me feel, which was not good since it was like he was rubbing my dad's good name in the dirt. jerk.) sorry, tangent. depending on my mood, i could most definitely appear to be a little kid in my large adult body, but i'm almost all there.. i just tend to be more hyper and ADD or usually stressed and scared of the world. sometimes i have to be told what to do step by step too, but it is not as severe, (i think,) because i find that i just lack focus and motivation a lot of the time, which could be attributed to ADD or depression, or just being overwhelmed with stress.