Is this DID?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S.: I got beaten up as a kid. The one memory I can remember right now is in third person. Some big guy jumped up and down on my back until blood came out of my mouth. Anyways, I randomly “change” a lot and I talk different and I upset my friends when it happens because I am very angry or uncaring and so different in these states.

There is one which I have named Jerry who is completely insane. He has delusions and hallucinations that are like dreams and his arms do things that I cannot control, like rubbing my hair. I talk to people in my head for hours on end (not just as Jerry, but as anyone else) and the experience is extremely vivid.

I have a horrible obsession with a girl, and she triggers a horrible personality that has awful flashbacks and feels trapped in everything and has bad panic attacks. One other personality really cares about everyone, and the one I’m in cares about nobody but himself.

I have pseudohallucinations most of the time, I have visual snow and tinnitus, and I don’t know who I am. When I was a kid I didn’t think I was supposed to be me and I was supposed to be someone else. I am constantly afraid I will have a real hallucination. I am constantly telling myself if I don’t do something right that a girl will never love me, usually a particular girl whom is the one I’m obsessed with. I hallucinated her before.

Sometimes my whole body goes numb and does things all on its own that I cannot recall later. It even says okay to things that people say that I never even really heard nor remembered. I have constant tactile hallucinations of people touching me where I got jumped on as a kid. Is this DID?

A: It could be DID. But a letter isn’t the way to find out. It’s long past time to see a mental health professional who specializes in trauma. You went through a terrible ordeal as a child. You may have done what many kids in that situation do — protected yourself by “going away” in your mind. It’s really a marvelous phenomenon. The mind can protect a child by creating an imaginary someone else to suffer the pain. But at some point, it’s important to put the self back together. I think you could interpret your current distress as your inner self telling you that you are now strong enough to manage the pain and work it through. You need to find a therapist who works with teens and who has experience with DID.

There are actually many therapeutic methods for helping people in your situation. One possibility is a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR can provide a safe structure to help you metabolize what happened to you and get past your past. Ask your doctor for a referral to a local therapist, or search on the Internet.

You’ve suffered too long already. You know it isn’t going to get better without some help. Please listen to your own heart and get the help you need.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Mar 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Is this DID?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/03/13/is-this-did/