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We help Dissociative Identity Disorder systems to quickly transform into a team so you can start living a functional, normal, and happy life!

Is your system feeling unstable from a recent illness, major change, or big disruption in your normal routine? Are you currently feeling completely overwhelmed by your todo list? Do you and your alters have no idea where to start with all of the possible tasks? 

My system has been there and we’re here to help! In this article, we’re going to go over the foundational steps your system can take to make sure that nothing important falls through the cracks. We’ll tell you which steps to take and in which order. Let’s get started!


**Pro tip: Every system is different so feel free to tweak this list as needed! We encourage you to use this as a framework to suit your system’s unique situation. To learn more about understanding and addressing your system’s wants and needs, check out this post.

Table of Contents


Because of the nature of D.I.D., it’s possible that something in this article could be triggering to your system. Please use caution and your best judgement when reading this article. Safety first!

Disclaimer: We are not doctors, therapists, or mental health professionals. We’re just a bunch of alters that are speaking from personal experience to help other systems live their best lives.

How This Works

When life has thrown you for the loop, the first thing that you need to do is to get your bearings down. Because of this, some of the tasks that we’re suggesting may sound “obvious” or too simplistic to help your system. While every system is unique, we encourage you to at least consider each of these tasks to make sure that you have the best foundation possible!


We’ve arranged this list in the order that we typically suggest systems and singletons to address their overwhelming situation. First, we’re going to go over the four main things that just about everyone needs in order to live their best life. From there, we’ll show your system how to pick out the next most important category for your unique situation. The next time that your system is in a similar situation, all you’ll have to do is rinse and repeat!

The Big Four

For each of these categories, we suggest that you start by doing the minimum that your system needs to be stable for that particular category. So what that means is that you’d get the first category to a safe feeling place for your system, then move onto the second category, and so on. If at any time a previous category no longer feels stable, address that category before moving forward.


Down the road, once your system feels more in control of your todo list, you can always go back and address categories in whatever way you see fit. But in the beginning, the goal is to get each category to a point of feeling stable before doing anything else.


**Pro tip: As with all things surrounding DID, safety is your first priority! In this article, we’re assuming that your system is already safe. If you need to make a safety kit, check out this article here. If your system needs to set up your home for DID, read this post. If your system is not safe with the people living in your home, please consider calling the appropriate hotline. You deserve to be safe!


The first place to start is to make sure that your meals are taken care of. Your system won’t be able to do anything well if you don’t have access to food. The food that you have access to doesn’t necessarily have to be your favorite food but it does need to be something that your system can realistically eat.


This is going to look very different for every system but at the bare minimum, we suggest having food available that you can eat with absolutely no preparation needed. Things like granola, trail mix, dry cereal in a bag, and jerky work well for this. 


Are these the things that we suggest that you eat everyday? Not at all but while your system is recalibrating, it’s important that your system has something available. Below is the order of importance that works for most people. Complete as many of these as your system needs in order to feel stable and then move onto the next category. 


  • Grab and go food (no preparation needed)

  • Simple one step meals (things like canned soup and microwaveable meals)

  • Shelf stable ingredients for simple meals (things like dried noodles, rice, and broth)

  • Anything involving fresh ingredients and/or multiple steps (typically a one pot meal is still idea for this level)

Medical Care

After your system’s food is taken care of to a level that everyone is comfortable with, it’s time to address medical needs. This category includes obtaining medicines, medical tasks, and appointments. Regardless of your system’s unique medical history, you want to make sure that all life-threatening issues are taken care of ASAP before moving on to anything else. From there, gather whatever resources your system needs to feel steady and secure in this category. Here is an example order to consider:


  • Essential emergency, daily, weekly, and monthly medications arranged 

  • Necessary medical appointments scheduled for the next one to three months

  • Beneficial medications obtained (Things that your system won’t face major issues if these are missed; this category is for things that will improve your quality of life but are not “serious”. Things like cough syrup and seasonal allergy medication fall under this category.)

  • Preventative medical appointments, medications, or tasks (Things like using a neti pot, a physical, and anything in general that helps to prevent an issue from coming up in the first place)


**Pro tip: Obviously, we’re not medical health professionals! Please use your best judgment and the help of a medical professional when deciding what medical treatments are best for your system.


The next category is to make sure that your system has clothing. At the absolute bare minimum, your system will need seasonally appropriate clothing. While the clothing doesn’t necessarily have to be the most fashionable, it does need to be something that your system will wear and that won’t get you sick. Typically, your system will need to have 2-3 clean outfits that match the season.

  • A warm jacket (if needed for the time of year)

  • At least one seasonally appropriate outfit available 

  • One to three days worth of clean clothing ready to go

  • Most clothes washed and put away


**Pro tip: Our system likes to keep a minimum of one “bundle” of clothing clean and ready to go for everyone in our household. This bundle is made up of the entire outfit including underwear and socks. This way, we never have to worry about not having clean laundry in a pinch!


The final category in body hygiene. For this category, you want to make sure that you’re preventing issues from coming up; namely in the form of infections and cavities. Hygiene and medical care can be closely intertwined so as with medical care, please adjust things as necessary for your system’s needs.


  • Soap and water available to wash your hands throughout the day

  • Deodorant and mouthwash (or tongue scraper or toothpaste)

  • Toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean your teeth (if you have to pick only one time, it’s typically better to clean your teeth at night so that bacteria will have less time to do damage)

  • Soap and resources to wash your body at least once a week

  • Shampoo and resources to wash your hair at least once a week

  • Nail care (clipping nails before they cause damage by ripping. Everything else is typically bonus)

  • Body hair removal and exfoliating (exfoliating is beneficial even if you’re not removing body hair but if you plan to remove body hair, please make sure that you also have the resources to exfoliate. Not exfoliating properly can quickly lead to ingrown hairs which can easily become infected)

  • Skin care (like face moisturizer and body lotion. We do NOT advocate for using makeup if you’re not able to remove it properly every night. If you plan to use makeup, we encourage your system to only do so if you can also wash it off correctly.)

**Pro tip: We totally understand that this can be a touchy subject. We’ve been there and know what it’s like to have to go without typical hygiene. If you’re in that situation, please know that it can get better! This won’t be your life forever. If you’re in the thick of things, a bit of deodorant, dry shampoo, and mouthwash can help get you through it. Is it the same as showering and brushing your teeth? No but sometimes you just need to do what you need to do in order to get to a better place. Things will get better!

Picking The Next Category

Once your system is feeling steady and secure in the four main categories, you’re ready to start addressing other categories on your todo list. Since every situation is so different, this is going to look different at various times in your life. Because of that, we encourage you to “start from scratch” every time. The category that matters the most to you today may not be nearly as important in the future!


Once you’ve confirmed that your whole system is feeling good about the big four, ask your system the following question:


If we didn’t do anything on our list, in five years, what would have negatively affected us the most?


Brainstorm everything that your system comes up with. Typically, one big topic or task will stand out. If that’s the case for your system, start there! If more than one category comes up, take a minute to envision what your life would look like if each category was completed but the others were not. This will give your system the clarity to pick a starting point.


**Pro tip: If your system is having a hard time having a team meeting, this can be a great time to use journaling to externally communicate with internal alters!


The Wonder system has recently come back to “normal life” after caretaking for their grandmother in the hospital for the last two months. Their house is exactly like they left it almost eight weeks ago and they’re completely overwhelmed at where to start.


First, the Wonder system checks their pantry to see if they have any “grab and go” food. They have some cereal that is still good. In their freezer, they have a handful of microwave meals that could also be heated up in a pinch. They take a few minutes to divide the cereal into ziplock baggies so they can quickly eat if they don’t have time to make a microwave meal. Now that the Wonder system feels secure in what they could eat for the next few days (even if it’s not their favorite), they schedule a shopping trip for later in the week and call this category good.

Medical Care

Next, the Wonder system checks their supply of their emergency inhaler. It’s low so they’ll call their doctor to get a new prescription started. While they’re on the phone, they go ahead and schedule their quarterly appointment. Can’t let that slip through the cracks! 


Now that the essential medical needs are taken care of, the Wonder system checks to see if anything else is needed. Spring is on its way which, for the Wonder system, means that spring allergies are right around the corner. While the Wonder system knows that they don’t technically “need” allergy medicine the same way that they need their inhaler, the whole system would feel more secure if they had allergy medicine ready. The Wonder system puts “allergy medicine” at the top of their shopping list and feels done with the medical category.


When the Wonder system left to care for their grandma, there was still ice and snow everywhere. Now that Spring is almost here, their winter wardrobe is just too much. They rummage through their closet and are able to find at least three outfits that will work for the relative warmth of Spring. They make a note in their planner to bring their Spring and Summer wardrobe to the front later on in the week and they’re done with clothing.


As the Wonder system is unpacking, they see that they left their toothbrush behind. After adding “toothbrush” to their shopping list, they check to make sure that they have enough hand soap, toothpaste, and body soap. They thankfully didn’t leave behind their nail chippers so they’ll be able to trim down their nails before they start causing issues. 


While the Wonder system typically likes to shave their body hair, they don’t think they’ll have the time to properly exfoliate their body while they’re adjusting to being back home. They add “razor” to their shopping list just in case that changes (since they would really prefer to shave even though it’s not really necessary), but they give themselves full permission to not remove body hair until they’re feeling able to do so. 


Along the same lines, the Wonder system typically follows a skincare routine before and after they apply make up. But with all of the adjustments needed over the next week or so, the system decides that they’ll put a halt on makeup and skin care until things settle back down. With all of that decided, the Wonder system feels secure with the hygiene category.

Picking The Next Category

Now that the four main categories are taken care of, the Wonder system looks over all of the possibilities to decide which ones are most important. They try to imagine what their life would look like in five years if they did or didn’t do various tasks on their long todo list.


Of the possible tasks, they decided that in five years, their life would be most negatively affected by losing their job, losing their apartment, or having a mental breakdown from all of the stress.


Since the Wonder system was able to work remotely, their work situation has remained the same. Their boss is aware of the situation and is thankfully being very flexible. Their work does not need to be their top priority at this time so they make a note to check in at the start of the next work week. Their landlord, having gone through a similar situation, is also very understanding. Their landlord said dropping the rent check off next week would be fine so their rent does not need to be their top priority. Their mental health feels fragile in light of all of the caretaking and stress. Because of this, taking care of their mental health is their top priority at this time.


The Wonder system brainstorms about all of the possible ways they can take care of their mental health given the situation. After considering each possibility, the Wonder system settles on meditating or journaling for half an hour before work for the next week. While this won’t be the only thing the Wonder system does for their mental health, given their current situation, this seems to give them the most bang for their buck. The Wonder system now has a plan to get their life on track!

What Next?

Now that your system has a plan for feeling more steady and navigating an overwhelming todo list after a big change, where can you go from here? Click here to read up on how your system can prepare for your own illness in advance and click here to set up your home for DID. This article will help your system to face multiple triggers in one day and this article will show you how to set up a safety kit for your DID system. You’ve got this!