Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder or you’ve known you were multiple for a long time, one of the most frequent things you’ll hear is that your mind will hide your DID from you. Many systems struggle with coming to terms with their diagnosis for months or years.
It’s extremely difficult (and borderline impossible) to heal from something if you can’t accurately acknowledge what is happening. So what can be done to help your mind stop hiding your diagnosis? That’s what we’re going to be covering in this article so let’s hop right in!
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER
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.
Where Therapy Goes Wrong
Before we get much further, let’s address the elephant in the room. Any multiple that has been in trauma based therapy but is still struggling with their diagnosis has one thing in common: the therapist is talking to the wrong part of your brain.
The human brain is an insanely complex organ that is not yet fully understood by modern medicine. Because the medical community knows fairly little about the brain, it makes sense that therapist can’t fully understand the brain, either. They’re doing the best they can with what they have.
Now, we are not a medical or mental health professional in any way. But our personal experiences with both multiples and singletons have showed us that it is possible to speak directly to the part of the brain that traps people in unhelpful cycles.
When your therapist (or anyone, for that matter) speak to you, they are speaking to your conscious mind. That’s the part of you that is experiencing life in this moment with all of the feelings and thoughts associated with that. While that definitely serves a purpose, in order to make powerful changes for your DID, you actually need to be speaking to your subconscious mind.
About The Subconscious Mind
The subconscious mind is like an incredibly complex computer system that keeps track of everything needed to keep you alive. Your subconscious mind controls everything from past memories, traumas, threats, and fears to how you breathe, when you fall asleep, and how fast your heart beats. Talk about powerful!
Your subconscious mind is always in the background, always watching, always recording, and always evaluating. This part of your brain has been tasked with keeping your body safe and alive at any cost. People that are able to do things like dangerous and heroic acts have learned how to work with their subconscious mind rather than against it.
How To Understand The Subconscious Mind
To better understand your subconscious mind, it helps to think of it as an A.I. that has been tasked with keeping you safe and alive. Anyone that has seen a sci-fi movie knows that things can easily go awry when an A.I. mistakenly interprets something. Just like with an A.I., your subconscious mind is extremely literal, very cautious, and deeply committed to their job. Let’s go over these a little more in depth.
Your subconscious mind is not programmed to understand sarcasm or jest. Whenever you or your alters say anything out loud, your subconscious mind is listening. While you may mean something figuratively, your subconscious mind takes your statement as fact and will act accordingly.
This is true for singletons and multiples alike but in the case of multiples, your subconscious has learned that trauma is a very real possibility. This means that your subconscious mind in on high alert at all times.
Here are some common phrases and what your subconscious will do:
Since the English language uses a large number of colloquiums that are based on exaggeration, you can see where your subconscious mind would be really concerned!
In addition to being literal, your subconscious mind is very, VERY cautious. Everyone’s subconscious mind is working hard to keep them safe from all potential threats but DID complicates things a bit. Your subconscious mind has already perceived itself as failing to recognize the threats that lead to the creation of each of your alters. Now, your subconscious mind believes that it needs to work harder to find threats before they can strike.
The sad reality is that many systems with DID have been hurt by people, places, or things that should have kept them safe. This makes it so your subconscious mind sees nothing as safe and everything as a potential threat.
While this can be very frustrating to live with, it helps to remember that your subconscious mind is like an A.I. that is desperately trying to keep you alive and safe. Ultimately, your subconscious mind is just trying to do what it thinks is in your best interest.
Deeply Committed To The Job
Just like with an A.I. that is created for a very specific purpose, your subconscious mind is so intertwined with it’s purpose of keeping your body safe that it can’t be distracted from that objective.
This means that, unless you can convince your subconscious mind that doing something is more safe than what is currently being done, your subconscious mind will never stop fighting you. It’s determined to keep you alive and safe at all costs but is unable to reliably recognize that it can be wrong about what “safe” means.
Why Your Subconscious Mind Is Hiding Your DID
At some point in your system’s past, your subconscious mind had to make the very difficult choice to create an alter in order to keep the overall body alive. It’s the ultimate survival technique and it’s not a decision your subconscious mind made lightly. In that moment, your subconscious mind truly believed that the body was going to die and the only shot at survival was the creation of an alter. The trauma was simply too much for one person to bear.
Kept You Alive Before
From that day on, your subconscious mind worked hard to keep all of the alters unaware of each other while juggling traumas, switching, and all around keeping the disorder a secret. Your subconscious mind knows that acknowledging your DID means acknowledging your traumas and that was simply not safe to do when you were younger. You and your alters could not have comprehended it or the consequences of knowing about your body’s traumas.
As you and your alters have gotten older, you’ve started to piece things together despite your subconscious mind’s best attempts at keeping you safe from this secret. As a child, this illusion was the main thing keeping the overall body safe. Depending on how old you are now, your body may have decades of “proof” that hiding your diagnosis is in your best interest.
Keeping You “Safe” Now
Now that at least one of you is an adult and you’re all removed from your trauma, it’s safe for you to know but your subconscious mind doesn’t know that yet. Because your subconscious mind is extremely literal, there are many things that happen on an average day to convince your subconscious mind that it is correct in hiding your diagnosis.
Keep in mind that common things we say on a daily basis are easily interpreted as a threat by your subconscious mind. While you may be safe in this moment, it’s very likely that your subconscious mind thinks that your life is filled with threats simply because of some common phrases our culture uses.
**Pro tip: In our personal experience, your subconscious mind pays more attention to what you say and write than to what you think. Be mindful of what you say!
How To Speak To Your Subconscious Mind
Now that you understand how the subconscious mind thinks, it’s fairly easy to communicate with it. When speaking to it, remember to phrase things in a way it will easily understand.
Whenever you speak with your subconscious mind, speak literally! This is the most important thing to remember. Do not use figures of speech, sarcasm, or anything like that. Say what you mean and mean what you say. For us, it helps us to imagine the subconscious mind as an A.I. that is highly intelligent but still very literal.
For example, let’s say you’re speaking to your subconscious mind about excess stress being put on you and it’s causing significant mental issues. Avoid saying things like “It’s driving me crazy!”. Instead, try something like “The body is needing increased therapy and likely medication because of the unnecessary stress.”
Show Safety Issues:
When speaking to your subconscious mind, we find it works best to start with physical safety issues. Your subconscious mind cares about all aspects of safety but physical safety always takes top priority to your subconscious mind.
Even when talking about safety issues, your subconscious mind needs you to show them how things are connected. You want to be crystal clear when explaining the cause and effect of issues.
For example, “We are stressed and not sleeping well” is an ok way to word things. A better way is something like “We’re are stressed because of the increase in anxious thoughts. This is causing our sleep to be ineffective.”
Show How This Helps Their Job:
If you want your subconscious mind to take your side of things, you need to make your proposal a no-brainer. By making it super easy for the subconscious mind to see the benefits of your proposal, you’ll be able to easily work together.
For example, saying “Showing the alters their DID makes your job easier” isn’t as convincing as the following sentence. “Allowing alters to know about their DID will improve the quantity and quality of sleep, the body will eat healthier food more regularly, self harm will reduce, and hygiene will increase.” Who could say no to that?
Script Of What To Say
Below is a script for encouraging your subconscious mind to stop hiding your system’s DID. The general format of the script can be tweaked for a wide range of topics. If you or anyone in your system is still struggling with acknowledging their DID diagnosis, start with this script.
“I would like to speak to the part of me that controls my breathing. Are you listening? (repeat this until you feel like something is watching/listening to you or you lightly tip forward). I understand that it’s your job to keep the body safe. I understand that you think hiding our DID is keeping us safe. It is not. The body is undergoing physical, emotional, and mental harm. Each alter knowing that they have DID would solve a lot of those problems.
We do not need to know our traumas to be safe. We do need to know that we have alters. This will help every alter to make better decisions and to stay safe. Do you understand? (you will feel a tip forward for yes or backwards for no. Your head may feel like it wants to nod or the answer may just pop into your mind’s eye. If the body says no, go in more detail.) Will you allow all of the alters to know that they have DID?”
Letting everyone in your system know about their DID will only help you at this point so if your subconscious mind is saying “no”, they just need help understanding. Here are some examples of some common DID issues and how to word them:
Once you speak with your subconscious mind and prove to it how much things will improve by allowing all of your alters to know about their DID, things are going to move quickly! Be ready to meet your alters, for more co-consciousness, and all around moving forward with your diagnosis.
If at anytime you suspect that things are moving backwards, just talk to your subconscious mind to find out what the issue is. Remember that your subconscious mind is like an A.I. that is always doing what it thinks is best based on the literal interpretation of the information it receives. Sometimes your subconscious mind will need a little guidance from you but now that you know how to communicate effectively, everything will go much more smoothly!
What can you do now that you know how to speak directly to your subconscious mind in order to quickly come to terms with your DID? A great next step is meeting your alters! You can learn more about why you should meet your alters here. If your system is ready to get serious about meeting each other, check out our course, Meet The Alters.