How to Ask for Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder
It can be very difficult to ask for help for dissociative identity disorder (DID). People with mental health struggles, including people with DID, often need help and support from people on the outside, whether it be doctors, therapists, family, or friends. Sometimes, it is obvious to others that we need help (Dissociative Identity Disorder Signs and Symptoms). But what happens when we need help for dissociative identity disorder and have trouble asking for it?
Why It's Hard to Ask for Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder
The Trauma Connection
Dissociative identity disorder is most often the result of continuous trauma occurring in childhood (Causes of Dissociative Identity Disorder). Over 90% of people with DID have experienced child abuse and/or neglect. This abuse has long-lasting effects on the survivor.
People who have experienced trauma and abuse in childhood are often told, sometimes even threatened, not to tell anyone about it. This instills tremendous fear and anxiety. As a result, the child is afraid to tell others about what is happening and fears asking anyone for help. This fear can carry on into adulthood.
Asking for Help with DID Can be Triggering
Many people think it's easy to just say "I need help." It can be difficult to understand why asking for help isn't so easy when you have DID. Asking for help makes you feel vulnerable, which can be a dangerous feeling for someone with DID. It can also be triggering. Some parts, or alters, may fear that asking for help will result in punishment because that is how it was in the past; they don't always understand that the past is not the present.
Protector alters can shut outsiders out in an effort to protect the system. This can get in the way of asking for help and taking in support from others. They aren't doing it to sabotage the system; rather, they believe it is the best and safest way to protect everyone.
Use These Skills to Ask for Help for DID
It may not be easy to ask for help for dissociative identity disorder, but there are things you can do to make it a little less challenging.
- Write it out. If you have difficulty saying the words out loud, write it down. Sometimes, writing it is much easier. There is no need to write a long note; just writing "I need help" and giving it to someone is enough of a start.
- Plan ahead with a script. Just as actors practice their lines and speakers practice their speeches, you can practice asking for help with a script. Write down exactly what you want to say. Practice it out loud to yourself or even in the mirror. If you need to, you can take the script with you and read it.
- Use grounding. Remind yourself and your system that you are safe and that it is okay to ask for help. Practice self-soothing or mindfulness to help you remain present.
- Communicate inside and outside your system. As important as it is to communicate with supports on the outside, it's just as important to communicate with your system on the inside. Thank your parts for doing their best to protect you, and remind them that you are also doing your best to protect them by asking for help.
Asking for help for dissociative identity disorder isn't easy. It takes time, patience, and a lot of strength and courage. But help for DID is out there.
Matulewicz, C. (2018, January 31). How to Ask for Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2018/01/why-its-difficult-to-ask-for-help-when-you-have-did
Author: Crystalie Matulewicz
I have trouble knowing what help to ask for.
That is understandable. I have also had that experience. Sometimes, when you talk it out, you figure out more of what you need.