This article was written 27 days after diagnose and embarking DID-specific self-therapy, under a different pen name (he hadn’t picked a System Name yet), and over 30 distinct personalities/alters.
At the time of publishing, Reg is roughly80 days into self-therapy, down to under dozen DISTINCT alters due to integration, and has had many breakthroughs in his recovery journey. Integration can mess with memory – he doesn’t believe he wrote this article, as none of his alters have memories writing it, but the knows it can’t have been anyone else, and agreed to publish.
The Christian DID/MPD Experience: My name is not Legion, but we are many.
My names are many, and although we’re no strangers to demonic attack, we are neither possessed nor crazy. Only one month ago, we decided to embrace the Multiplicity rather than fight it, and even the act of doing this is both a team effort and an ongoing process.
But first, WHAT AM I EVEN TALKING ABOUT? Who’s WE?
I have what is nowadays referred to as DID (dissociative identity disorder), formerly known as MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). It’s a disorder that forms in some people when they repeatedly experience dissociation from stress/trauma before the child’s personality is fully formed.
Apologies in advance: We’ve experienced switches in the process of writing this article, so our writing styles and trains of thought may feel somewhat disjointed or dissimilar. We (RegimentSystem) have decided to keep this article largely unedited, because it is an authentic and genuine representation of our thought processes – which is probably gravy in and of itself. One physical brain, multiple contributors. We recognize which one of us has or hasn’t written which paragraph.
Dissociation, depersonalization, and derealization are all normal – Everyone experiences it a couple of times in their life. It’s those times when you lose your sense of self temporarily, or you and/or the world starts feeling like fake, as if it were a dream or a simulation, or you feel like you’re only watching through the eyes of a meat-puppet, but things are just happening, you aren’t doing any of it yourself – your words and actions are leaving your mouth, but they aren’t your own.
In normal people, these things happen in life and death situations, and other situations of extremely high stress which warps consciousness temporarily.
For some people, including myself, when these things occur repeatedly between the ages of roughly 0-10, the child’s developing personality gets shattered. Trauma is a very individually unique experience – some people grow up with bombs exploding all around them and come out unscathed. Others grow up in a sheltered rich “heaven”, get beaten by their parents twice, lose their favorite pet, and their personality is shattered. Think of how it can be more tolerable to bear the pain of childbirth for hours than it is to walk with a pebble in one’s boot for 5 minutes – stress, pain, discomfort, like most of psychology, aren’t as linear and straight-forward as we often like to think. There are more variables than one could possibly take into consideration.
So what happens once the personality / Identity is shattered?
Well, it depends, there is a LOT of variance – I have over 30 distinct “personalities” (the preferred term is Alters) that by now have learned to communicate and cooperate rather well with each other, while other people with DID have as few as 3 alters that are completely sealed from one another by amnesic barriers and lead parallel lives, completely unaware of each other. What is especially tricky, is that the whole “purpose” of Alters is to hide from both oneself and the outside world, and that the alters can “alter” who has access to which parts of your memories, so amnesic barriers fluctuate – there are times when, if you asked me about my DID, I wouldn’t know what you were talking about, and I wouldn’t even be lying. It’s an automatic self-protection mechanism, largely involuntary to the alter in the “drivers seat” at that given moment – originally, its purpose was to safely lock away traumatic memories so that we can keep functioning, but there are many things one can do with a screwdriver (like making smores over a fire, or hammering nails with the handle).
Also, It’s not like there are these patented blueprints which we just happen to have in our brains, which us DID folks feed to our mental 3D printer and pay Royalty to Siggi Freud.
It’s just a general pattern that is described in diagnostic manuals such as the DSM-5 see reference:
The DSM-5 provides the following criteria to diagnose dissociative identity disorder:
- Two or more distinct identities or personality states are present, each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self.
- Amnesia must occur, defined as gaps in the recall of everyday events, important personal information, and/or traumatic events.
- The person must be distressed by the disorder or have trouble functioning in one or more major life areas because of the disorder.
- The disturbance is not part of normal cultural or religious practices.
- The symptoms cannot be due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (such as blackouts or chaotic behavior during alcohol intoxication) or a general medical condition (such as complex partial seizures).
But wait, everyone has personas right? Like, the John you see in the office from nine to five ain’t the same John as the one who plays with his 2 year-old daughter on the weekend, or the John who goes beast-mode in the gym – does that mean we all have DID? We all have “alter egos” right? “I have 5 online nicknames too, no big deal”, you might say.
Well… not quite. It’s very similar, but also very different. Do you, without getting physically knocked out, and without the influence of substances, forget where you are, who you are, what day it is? Do you experience body dysphoria and switch hand / eye dominance? On the gun range, do your groupings change dramatically depending “which one of you is shooting”? On the mats, do you completely forget all your fundamentals and muscle-memory depending on “which one of you is in the dojo right now”?
If your answer is yes, then maybe you do [have DID or OSDD]. If your answer is no to all of the above, I would say you probably don’t [have DID or OSDD], but do understand I’m operating on VERY limited data here, not nearly enough to diagnose anything. One of me studied psychology at university for a bit, but none of us is qualified to make a diagnosis – so do your own research or talk to a psychologist you think you can trust (I don’t have one I can trust, that doesn’t physically live in my own brain).
What about “inner child”, “inner warrior”, and other things you hear therapists talk about?
That’s definitely a thing in everyone, it’s just that we DID folks have it all on steroids. Our inner child/-ren (often referred to as “littles”) may not have memories of what happened to the rest of us in later stages in life. It all gets a bit time-travelly for us – there are future pasts, past futures, and such things, so chronology can get very messy. In the case of DID, “littles” are usually like carbon copies of who you were at a much earlier stage in life. I have pre-traumatic or intra-traumatic, happy littles but also traumatized littles which I think of as “trauma containers”, as some of them are still-sealed pandoras boxes of traumatic memories I’m not yet ready to remember and relive (yet, at this stage – maybe never). Surely, non-DID folks have memories linked by association to their “inner child”, or activities they’ve engaged in as they were growing up – “Eating Pizza reminds me of my Uncle Mario, playing Soccer makes me feel like I’m back in elementary school” are things you hear people say all the time, and they’re valid, but that’s not DID. People like me with DID don’t always switch smoothely, in fact we very often dissociate before/as we switch which can often feel like experiencing a “soul-death” if one of the alters involved isn’t used to it yet and/or you get blind-sided by it – sometimes it only takes a few seconds, and sometimes it takes hours until we’re fully functional, and feeling somewhat real again.
This is only an introductory post, but one thing we want to get into to close this one off is the topic of spirit possession.
DID is NOT spirit possession, that’s a very common category error. Just because we have many names and allow for “multiple lives” to some extent, doesn’t mean that there is more than one soul or spirit in one body. Where we go one, we go all – our internal consensus is that if one of us goes to hell, then we all do, and we all want to be with Jesus in the end – and we are all equally responsible for the fate of every one on this “ship”, none of us must ever be corrupted, but if it should ever happen, we must bring him/her/it back to the righteous path. Every one of us was at some point created out of necessity and was at one point responsible for the survival of all of us in one way or another. I believe this is true for everyone with DID, so while no person or alter has the right to be liked, they should all be treated with dignity unless they’ve earned your indignation. Ethically/morally, our perspective is similar to alcoholics driving – you can’t blame the alcohol. If you can’t control the switching or the alcohol consumption, make sure you’re in a position where you can’t harm anyone (put the gun down safely / slow the car down or park it until “sober”). There’s less we can control about switching then an alcoholic can do about drinking but in the end, we are all responsible for our actions and we need to keep ourselves and others safe, even if it means we don’t get to have it all and have fun every day.
Think of the body and soul as the hardware of your computer. Normal people just have one bootable partition – for example, a Windows 10 installation. Some people have dual-boot or multi-boot setups, which have more than one bootable partition – when you start your computer, you can choose one of the installed operating systems: Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, and Kali Linux, for example.
A dual boot system is not a compromised system – that’s a category error. Yes, hackers CAN create hidden partition with some kind of “malicious operating system” if you will, and this may be used to ruin the entire system. But a hacker or demon doesn’t need to create another partition/alter in order to corrupt you, when they can just be subtle and compromise whatever personality or Operating System is already there.
Also, your chances of having hackers compromise your system don’t really change with more operating systems on your machine – not in so many words.
There are 3 scenarios I could think of that apply to both computers and humans.
1. You only have one operating system / personality, which is fully fleshed out, fully up to date, hardened, security software installed, with backups and everything in place. You never visit pages you shouldn’t be visiting. No chance it will be fully taken over. Even if anything happens, it’ll bounce back up relatively quickly.
2. You just have one 20-year old, totally unsecured Windows XP installation / undiscerning personality, and you’re torrenting and visiting smut sites daily. No backups. The chances of your system getting screwed at some point are almost 100%, and once it’s screwed, it’s SCREWED.
3. You have a multiboot system, so you can’t invest as much time into perfecting, optimizing, and securing every individual operating system (alter) as an all-purpose build, but you have a secure TAILS Linux for hostile environments, one old Windows XP partition you only use offline for legacy software, and a few others that are all appropriate for different environments. On top of that, you don’t visit sites you shouldn’t be visiting.
No backups, but some partitions are on different hard drives, and not all of them are connected at the same time. If one gets hacked, then you can use a different alter / operating system to do recovery work, or to keep the system running while the other system is being rebuilt/repenting.
Scenario 3 is a very close analogy to how my own brain is structured. Of course, these are just very simple analogies, so don’t take them as gospel, and don’t read too much into them. It’s much more complex than that. There is always the question of who does what. To the conscious mind, half of the time “things just happen randomly”, and half of the time, it’s more like a “decision made by the multiplicity, or the subset of ‘members’ not currently sleeping”.
Needless to say, The rabbit-hole is a deep one, and I myself have only scratched the surface of it. We have different states, and there are times when we can meet and have conversations with one another. There are times when more than one of us is “on the steering wheel”. There are times when we feel like we are one big tour bus, and other alters can briefly grab the mic or distract the “driver” – which is a bit like temporary Tourettes, except that every “tic” has meaning to one of us, whereas real Tourettes is mostly random and with very different causes. When we’re in “tour-bus mode”, switching drivers is very easy and almost fluid, and we have a sense of who is closer to the front (drivers seat and/or front seat), and who’s further in the back. Those closer to the front have more sway over our actions and have an easier time taking turns at the Driver’s wheel.
Back to the topic of possession and DID:
None of my 30 alters is possessed, and although most have had encounters with demons, all of us managed to resist temptation and pray to Jesus or call one of our “priest alters” to protect them and cast the demons away in His name, every time. In the beginning, when we started to allow ourselves to be many and stopped fighting to “be the only one” – Highlander style – not all of us had heard the gospel. It was our joint mission to bring the good word to all of ourselves and bring everyone to the faith, and we succeeded, however, there may still be alters hidden in the depths of our shared brain which we haven’t found yet, and we will help them find God when they’re ready. In the meantime, we pray and pursue self-knowledge.