When I first found out I had Dissociative Identity Disorder I panicked. I was afraid about people finding out, about losing my job and losing my relationship. I thought it meant I was ‘crazy’. I didn’t want this to be my life. I wanted my old life back – the one I had before the panic attacks and memories.
Then I learned about all that happened when I was growing up and how my consciousness protected me by creating parts that were separated from my every day activities. I learned how this coping mechanism helped me survive and do well in school, make friends and do well in life.
So I learned and still need reminding from time to time that creating parts of me to keep the violence I suffered from me helped me stay alive, remain sane and become who I am today.
It went from a stigma I was afraid of to something about me that I appreciated and value.
It took me a long time to get there and I still reach new levels of acceptance.
Here is the DSM IV definition of DID:
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, (the DSM IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association, says that the following criteria must be met in order for a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder to be made:
Diagnostic Criteria for 300.14 Dissociative Identity Disorder
A. The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking of the environment and self).
B. At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person’s behavior.
C. Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
D. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g. blackouts or chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medical condition (e.g., complex partial seizures).
Note: In children, the symptoms are not attributable to imaginary playmates or fantasy play.
The Sum of My Parts Now Available
This memoir follows Olga as she splits herself into “parts” and develops dissociative identity disorder with the abuse, and then struggles to merge these parts and overcome the disorder in adulthood.
A Survivor’s Story Now Available
Olga’s critically acclaimed first-hand account of the impact of violence in her life is available in both English and Spanish.