Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

D.I.D. Diagnosis, How Do I Accept This?

Question:

I am a 45 year old married woman, mother of 2 grown children, and I am a drug and alcohol counselor. I have lost my home, my career, and my marriage is strained. My relationships with my with my adult children are also strained.

I have been in psychotherapy for 15 years and I am diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), an Eating disorder, and PTSD. I also self-harm and have attempted suicide. I live with nightmares, twitching, headaches, and confusion on a daily basis. However, I still can’t accept the diagnosis of DID. It has been almost 3 years since this diagnosis was added to my “portfolio.” I just can’t believe it is possible.

My family and friends seem to have no problem acccepting the diagnosis and this includes the State Disability Psychiatrist who fully agrees that I have DID. But I can’t perceive of any childhood trauma that could have caused such a need for personality splitting.

Is this common to stuggle with acceptance for so long? Shouldn’t I have those repressed memories by now if something did happen to me?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

I must admit that you do have quite a portfolio, as you aptly point out. At the same time, I have to let you know that I suspect you have a sense of humor to be able to characterize these woes as a portfolio. I hope I am right because humor can be very curative.

In is very difficult to accept a diagnosis, especially in the field of psychiatry. No one enjoys being labelled with a disorder and this is no exception. To make matters worse, you have additional diagnoses and that has to feel very unpleasant.

However, my suggestion is that you focus on recovery rather than worrying about diagnoses. In my opinion, when it comes to verbal psychotherapy, diagnosis is not important. In fact, in my opinion diagnosis is much more important in terms of prescribing medications than for most other reasons. Whether you have Dissociative Identity Disorder or not, you need to be working with an excellent therapist that you like and with whom you believe and feel that you are making progress. In other words, if you have been in therapy for one person for all of these years and have still not gotten better, you need to find a better therapist and a better therapy…my opinion, of course.

Cognitive Behavior and Dialectical Behavior Therapy are very effective for many psychiatric disorders. I suspect that, from what you have written here, your experience a lot of emotional uheaval. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is very useful in helping patients learn how to calm themselves and change their patterns of thinking so that they cope better with life situations.

Good luck in your pursuit of well being and let go of the whole issue of diagnosis.

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand