charlotteshead

Childhood DID + Believing Yourself

5 posts in this topic

I'm starting this thread to see if anyone can relate to this at all. (This ended up long but I hope by the end of it, you are encouraged.)

It's very difficult to find any information on DID in children. We tend to only hear about adults and how it affects their lives now. I want to share my experience and hear from others.

I had a traumatic childhood and years of abuse. Hence I had DID (or something like it, undiagnosed) WHEN I was a child. Not later. I never knew. Naturally. Because the point of having alters was to protect my core self from knowing what was happening. There is only one reason I know any of this. I started having flashbacks at the age of 25. My childhood imaginary friend, Sally, kind of...resurfaced. Inside my head, not taking over my body though. Not losing time or the other symptoms most people describe. Just talking to me. Giving me little clues and images, like a trail of breadcrumbs in the right direction. Looking back, I am beyond astonished at what our brains can do. (I could write a book on this time period!)

Long story short...I went about it like a detective, trying to understand what was happening, and ended up having a life-shattering conversation with my older brother. It happened because I was trying to figure out what the clues meant and who this mystery person might be. Oddly enough, I knew about Sally, but ONLY as an imaginary friend. I never knew that she was a friend taking over my body. I thought to ask him if he rememberd Sally. He said, I've been waiting for this day for 20 years. He had molested me for years. When he did it, we played what we called 'the imagination game' where I'd become different people. He always thought it was a game, but it wasn't. She was the main one.

I didn't know what was happening to me at the time. I slipped into Sally or Sunshine or whomever during the abuse, then slipped back to myself the rest of the time (like for school, etc.). This is the time in my life when  my body and mind was taken over, when I would lose time. I was an unusual kid anyway and I think its why my parents didnt pay as much attention to my behavior. I had a "great imagination." I look back at old diary entries and clearly, I had no idea what had happened to me that afternoon or yesterday or whenever it may have been. How crazy to think that I could be molested as Sally one minute, and an hour later be playing with my dolls and not even know what had happened earlier that day! And to THIS day, I have absolutely no recollection of any of it. And it dissipated when the abuse stopped, because I needed it for protection, but after that I didn't need it anymore. Still, somewhere inside of me those alters remained, holding tightly to the memories. Maybe I didn't need them to come out and take over my body anymore, but I absolutely needed them to protect me from the remembrance. I imagine it like all these girls were in some room deep inside my heart, holding locked boxes close to themselves, wary like guards. And me, unaware, protected, going about my life. Safe, because of them.

They weren't "my" memories really. They had happened to someone else. That was the point of what my brain was doing obviously.  I would never, ever have known were it not for my brothers full and open confession, and answering all my questions. He's the one who told me the names and personalities, and how I'd slip away into them. He even told me this eerie thing...that sometimes I would return to myself suddenly, for a moment, and ask what was going on. And he might say that he was talking with Sally, and I'd ask what we were talking about. And then just...slip back into her. As if I had wrestled control of my body and my mind for a second, and she said, 'No no get out of here! You're not supposed to be here!' Just...bizarre to think about.

That's my story...Does anyone else have any indication or evidence of their DID in childhood? I think we don't hear about it so much because then it would be defeating the purpose. Alters are there to protect us. If we learn about an alter during the time of abuse, then we know something is wrong, and we may learn why we developed those alters. I wonder how many others there are that seemed to be 'imaginative' or 'troublesome' or the like during childhood (maybe even diagnosed juveline schizophrenia or bipolar?) and were really experiencing DID or something like it, and then stopped doing it when it was no longer needed. And then many others keep their alters into adulthood despite the trauma having been stopped, like a record stuck on loop.

It's been a really weird thing for me to go through. I felt like I was really, really losing my mind and my grasp on reality before my brother confessed. I think I'm lucky in that way. And in my own way, I'm incredibly grateful for my brother. Not because of what he did. And not just that he begged for forgiveness. (Truthfully, I can't have him in my life because it just hurts too much.) But he gave me insight that I could share with others.

There are so many doctors and therapists who doubt the existence of dissociative disorders, or the extent of them in any case. There are people who don't believe you can repress events from your life, especially not such important events. People who think that vague flashbacks don't mean anything, that you're making it all up. These people make us doubt ourselves. I know I did. But I learned that all these confusing symptoms...emotional and body flashbacks rather than visual, little snippets, stuff that sounded totally made up to my therapist...the concept of someone in my head talking to me but not being schizophrenic...I think my life is proof that it CAN happen. Because I have confirmation from an outside source. Truly, from a reliable source, because why on earth would he confess to something like this were it not true? There can be no doubt.

So I guess part of what I wanted to convey in this message is for those of you who are still figuring it out, who are confused, and who oftentimes doubt yourself. Those who hear from professionals in the field that what you're experiencing isn't possible, and maybe you're wondering if they might be right. Trust your gut. You don't need to know everything that happened to heal. But you do need to believe yourself. You will probably not get outside confirmation from anyone like I did. But maybe hearing my story can convince you that your feelings are valid and true. I think we all hold the truth somewhere in our bodies, in some form. Believe that feeling. And believe that you can heal. Believe that if one person can PROVE it was real for them...that it can be real for you as well.

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No evidence of us as alters before 26. But periods of time with missing memory during abuse, certainly. Don't think we were anyone else then though. Just. Months during that time with no clue. Or a few clues coming back after years. We also got an admission of some stuff we have no memory of later (ironically as a "it wasn't that bad, I just did X, Y & Z"), but most is just in our head or gone forever. But.. Yeah. Rambling, maybe. Worried I'm derailing cuz our experiences aren't rlly the same.

Tri

Edited by WinterTidings

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I have no idea when my alters started manifesting. High school, maybe earlier. They got names in High school, or some of them did. But my parents moved us around A LOT (like 25+ times before I was 15 or so,) and so it's hard to track it all.

I believe you <3

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my brother says i had alters as a child. i don't remember any of that, though. i have very few memories of childhood, which my shrinks now tell me is a sign i was dissociated most of the time and alters were stepping in to run the show.

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Have you found any therapists who were supportive of DID? I found an EMDR therapist who fully embraces it and uses that in her re-integration process and trauma healing. I've had dissociative disorder since childhood. I found that having a supportive therapist has helped work through the traumas that caused the DID. When we talk about my pieces, I find there are more that surface because it's safe to. We're kinda reintegrating the pieces as we do the trauma work. I don't know that my parts are strong enough to be called separate entities but there's enough to deal with just hearing their baggage they carry and allowing them to be heard. I think a lot of my being better now is from having the kind of trust relationship with my therapist.

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