Archive for September 16th, 2010

I am writing this blog entry from the air on an airplane with no Wi-fi (Alas!), so I am going by memory about the questions I have received recently concerning dissociative identity disorder (DID). I know that I have received a few recently. If this blog entry does not address your question directly, don’t despair … I will get to all of the questions after I return home from my long weekend in Texas.

I believe I have received a few questions about losing time and DID. I have had readers posting about being aware of having different alter parts but who do not believe that they ever lose time. Their question is about whether they can have DID without losing time.

I am going to address this question from the perspective of someone who is healing from DID rather than as a mental health professional would address it. A mental health professional would point you to the symptoms required in the most recent version of the DSM and say that DID does not fit if you do not lose time. I actually take issue with this because losing time and having an awareness of losing time are two different things.

I first became aware of having an alter part in 2003. The angry alter part came out when triggered, and I stayed co-present. It felt like “I” was “shoved aside” as this alter part “stepped into my face.” I did not lose time, but I was definitely not the one driving my thoughts, words, or actions. It was a bizarre experience.

I had no question that I had an alter part, but I had no awareness of losing time. I did not find shoes in my closet that I did not remember buying. I did not look at my watch and find that six hours had passed in what seemed like an instant. I did not have strange people walking up to me who knew me but who I did not recognize. Nevertheless, I did have DID.

The thing you need to realize is that DID is intended to be seamless. The alter parts take over and protect the host personality (the part you view as “me” that is “out” most of the time) when triggered. For this to work in a way that will avoid detection by the abusers, the host personality must stay unaware of what is happening. So, you can become a master at hiding the “lost time” from yourself.

This blog entry is getting too long, so tomorrow I will share some examples of indicators that I lost time even though I had no awareness of ever losing time when it happened.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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