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I Believe I May Have Dissociative Identity Disorder

I believe I may have dissociative identity disorder. I lose time, I have alters, I lose time. I went through 17 years of abuse. My psychiatrist won’t diagnose me because he’s never seen me switch. I’m currently not in therapy because my last therapist told me I was too much for her to handle. I’m also totally blind. I don’t know what to do. I live in a mental health care facility, and only like two of the staff here believe me. I just feel all alone with all this.

A. I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties. One of the main problems you seem to be facing is that your psychiatrist doesn’t believe that you have DID because he has never seen your alters. Have you considered videotaping them? An audio recording might work too. Most cell phones have the capacity to both audio record and video record. Having video or audio proof might convince your psychiatrist that what you’re saying is true.

You also mentioned that you are “totally blind.” Have you been blind your entire life? That might seem like an odd question, but I ask because there are at least two documented cases of individuals who have gone blind after extremely traumatic experiences. It is called psychogenic blindness associated with conversion disorder. At least one of those cases involved an individual named B.T., with DID, who had 10 personalities who, according to the researchers, was misdiagnosed with cortical-blindness for 15 years and, after years of therapy, regained her ability to see.

The case of B.T. happened in Germany and you can read more about it here and here. The second case of psychogenic blindness was reported in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Science in 2015. You might share this information to your psychiatrist, if applicable.

You mentioned that at least two individuals in the clinic, where you live, believe that you have DID. Is a possible to work with them?

Treating DID can be a challenge because most mental health professionals never encounter a case of DID in their entire clinical careers. It’s a rather uncommon disorder that some professionals might not recognize. In addition, some professionals deny that it’s a real disorder, despite it being listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. All those factors contribute to treatment difficulties for people who have DID.

To summarize, consider documenting your alters. It might help your psychiatrist understand what you’re going through. You might also ask that he or she read the aforementioned studies, if applicable. It might help them to understand what you are experiencing.

Finally, it’s also possible that you are wrong about having DID. You didn’t mention which disorder your psychiatrist thinks you have. You should be having these types of discussions with your treating professionals. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

from Ask the Therapist


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