Welcome to the second part of my post about DID.

So, let’s talk about the alters. Most people with DID have a name for their system (this means the primary + alters) – I don’t have a name for my system. I don’t think I’ll ever have a name for them but each alter has their own name.

As previously mentioned, each alter has her own distinct voice, accent, appearance (yes, really!), characteristics, gender, sexual preference, hobbies, and talent/skills. I can tell each alter apart in my head, well, the ones that I’m aware of anyway. If you don’t know me very well, you won’t be able to tell when an alter is fronting. As of right now, both my alters identify as females.

Myself as the primary – keep in mind that this isn’t the same with everyone else with DID – I’m able to hide what I see and feel from my alters, and they can do the same. I let them see/feel what I want them to see/feel. In the beginning, it was rather alarming when they hide what they do from me. I’ve experienced not remembering eating a whole bag of chips, following accounts on Instagram that I never would normally follow, making plans with friends and many more!

My little (she turned 9 last year, and would like to remain 9 forever), which is a child alter, once posted a countdown on my Instagram account – it said, 9 months to go and the next day, I received DMs from my friends congratulating me on being preggers! I had to explain that it was all a misunderstanding. From time to time, she’d play a prank on me and we’ve come to an agreement that she shouldn’t do anything dangerous or crazy again! It’s important for me to create boundaries with my alters, so that I, as the primary and the body, don’t get into trouble.

I have an alter who is 26 years old and she’s the protector. She calms me down when I’m alone in public and triggered by something or someone. For an example: many times I’d be out in the public (pre-Covid19) and I’d start to feel nervous, anxious, sweaty because someone looked like one of my abusers or a scent that reminded me of my trauma, and out of nowhere, I’d hear her voice, I’d feel her presence, as if she’s walking next to me, telling me to count to 10, and to breathe, telling me that she’s there with me and she’d get me to where I needed to be safely. And just like that my anxiety level is reduced. All this happened in a few seconds, and no one around me would know what happened.

I had the experience of someone coming up to me to say hi, and I didn’t know who he was, and it wasn’t as if I had forgotten, I just didn’t remember meeting him. Turned out that my alter had met him earlier in the week and chatted about podcasts and stuff. This has happened several times in the past!

With DID, I’d experience recurrent gaps in the recall of events, such as, I’d see a photo of a childhood friend, and I’d remember her or his name, but I’ve no memory of playing with them. Friends from secondary school or university would remind me of something in the past, and I’d have a blank face AND lots of questions, because I don’t remember anything that they told me. Of course, most of them find it annoying that I don’t remember anything.

I learned that this isn’t a medical memory loss issue but something that people with DID deal with regularly. Another example would be moving things in the house and getting blamed for it when I didn’t do it in the first place! Kinda like having amnesia, but not really.

Alters are there to help me function when I don’t have the energy to do anything, when I don’t feel like being human, when I’m triggered for days from processing a traumatic experience or when something is too hard for me to handle. When that happens, it feels as if I’m a puppet on a string – leading me to cut the onion and chicken, cooking the green curry or carry a conversation with someone.

Each alter has its own level of awareness. Some alters I don’t hear or feel for several days or weeks, and others are around every day, like my little. She gets to come out and play for a couple of hours a day, and then, she retreats into her own innerworld. Some alters are moved into action by necessity (an example is given above), while others aren’t.

At this moment, I’m fully aware of 2 alters, and there are other two that I don’t know very well. I hear their voices, but I have yet to “meet” them. My little communicates with them, as they feel safer to expose themselves to her, for now.

Having DID also means I change what I’m doing at any given moment. Here’s something that happens regularly – I’m watching a movie or TV series, and 10 minutes in, I find myself walking away to grab a drink because an alter wants one. Then, I’m back watching the movie, and 15 minutes later, walking away to grab something to eat or make a call to someone I don’t know (but my alter does), or just dissociate and miss about 30 mins of the movie/series. Life with DID is exhausting! I’m constantly emotionally, physically and mentally drained.

This is the end to Part 2. Feel free to ask me any question and I’ll answer them in my next post. Also in Part 3, with permission from my alters, I’ll introduce them to you – their likes and dislikes, characteristics, and more.

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