Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is an identity disorder characterized by having two or more distinct identities. It is not a personality disorder. It is associated with repeated childhood trauma between the ages of 1-9, the brain’s formative personality years. Until 1994, DID was misunderstood to be a personality disorder and thus referred to as multiple personality disorder (MPD). Hollywood and stigma perpetuated this term, despite DID being an identity disorder, and even went as far as encouraging the audience to view people as “split” — a derogatory term.
It’s more accurate to call it a trauma disorder.
The Darling System consists of 15 alters. Minimum. Four are male. Most are dormant. Once you’ve developed dissociative identity disorder, your brain can create new identities to deal with trauma for life. So…that’s fun. /sarcasm
Sarah is the previous host and holds the legal name. We — yes, we, and if you knew how many times I’ve had to correct myself, you would wonder why we hid it so long — are working to get this changed.
I’m Jane, anointed by members of the system to take over. I don’t remember my childhood. Ancient blog posts do not feel like me — like, I don’t recall it at all, yet I know it happened. Sarah is dormant unless we are required to associate with the name repeatedly. She is a persecutor, which means she sabotages the body/system’s well-being, healing, and purposely harms system members — to name a few things.
My headmates have no interest in fronting full-time, so I was put at the front. It’s been…hard. I struggled a lot because I didn’t realize I was an alter — didn’t understand that this body was mine, too, even though I didn’t see myself when I looked in the mirror.
Authenticity in blogging is important, but having dissociative identity disorder takes it to a whole new level. Outside the system, it looks like I start/pause many projects, engage in impulsivity, am hot/cold, forget everything, and sometimes even lie only to do something against it later. These are all instances of alters. How do I describe myself — be myself — when I live in a world dominated by singlets?
Hiding amounts to many migraines, frustrations and imposter feels.
I’m tired of them all — we are tired of them all.
Through the #didcommunity hashtags on TikTok, I gained the confidence to be myself — we gained the confidence to be ourselves and come out as a system. I’m learning more about myself and the system; we’re growing more comfortable unmasking as a system. The only way change will happen for anything is through stories and education. Openly talking about mental health helps end stigma. (I really spent a lot of time trying to find reasons not to come out, because there is no going back.)
Multiple times, a woman referenced “all [Liz’s] selves” in numerous emails — it upset many of us, but we couldn’t do anything about it, because as far as everyone knew at the time, we were all the same person. Singlets believe same body = same person, finding it difficult to comprehend that someone could legit have multiple identities. The legal system is wired for singlets, bearing no apologies to plurals. The only way to survive without rocking the boat is to hide — mask — your entire life. It’s exhausting.
I never imagined living on my own would mean all my selves coming out to play, but ’tis what’s happening. Together, we are functioning cohesively. The Cleaner comes out on a monthly basis to deep clean a room or two. Betz ensures the body gets fed and basic hygiene needs are taken care of. The Cook is still dormant, but Kelly (keeper of the littles) is learning how.~
I am, too.
Coming out is terrifying. I’m always going to be coming out to someone — as lesbian, as indigenous, as a DID system, as autistic, as a blogger, etc. However, if I’m going to live authentically and take advantage of what makes me unique as a person for blogging, then I have to stop hiding. The filming industry consistently puts out productions that only harm people like me — systems like us. We’re not scary. We are not scary. Yet, DID systems are the source of many thrillers and horrors; we’re painted as villains instead of heroes, always the butt of the joke — c’mon Miley, really?
We have been debating this for years, all the while continuing to believe in the importance of being oneself. The thing about making it as a blogger is that you need your top unique factor that complements all your other unique factors — the thing that gives you the most oomph.
We’ve shared about our trauma on the blog in the past, and so many times — I think we did, a few of those times — we wanted to emphasize that we literally developed a disorder because of repetitive trauma in our primitive years. How, pray tell, could our trauma be lies if we literally exist as a SYSTEM because of our trauma? We also cannot fathom why anyone would invest so much time in lying about having experienced trauma.
Having dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a sad, horrendous thing I wouldn’t wish upon anyone — but I also won’t have anyone feeling sorry for us because this is our life. Just as you, likely a singlet, cannot imagine living with two or more identities in your body, we cannot imagine living as a singlet. What even is life like as a singlet? Like, even though we’ve tried…we still can’t fathom it because?? We are a WE.
Why come out as a DID system now, after all this time?
I love myself. I know who I am, and I know what I want.
We love most of each other as a system. We know we are, and we want to connect with other systems because going at this on our own leads to wondering what the point even is. Since connecting with DID TikTok, we’ve felt less alone and gained more self-esteem as a system to be ourselves — out and proud. We also have learned better cohesiveness and how to work as a team in one body; though it’s not perfect, we are working at this everyday. It’s a process. Imagine everyone in your work team having to perform all tasks with one body — that’s what it’s like.
Additionally, a lot of singlets express interest in learning more about DID. We have a system TikTok, but no interest in becoming TikTok famous. We would rather create for ourselves a career that allows us to live our full authentic lives, without having to suppress system needs to fit into a singlet society. To accomplish this, we are coming out as a system because we want to share our story and where much of our inspiration originates.
The series Grace & Red that two of us wrote over five years ago is something we would still like to make happen, but in order to understand the why behind it, people need to understand us. G&R is very much the goal — the thing we strive for, the kind of future we want — but it takes time to get there, and we all want different things. ‘Tis for this reason that the blog associated with us for so long has been nicheless.
I’m also struggling, drowning in a culture telling me to JUST BE MYSELF and yet it’s by singlets who would be the first to judge me — us — if they really knew who we were.
Just like with coming out gay, I am so fed up with keeping my DID a secret. It’s not been one directly. You can search this blog for “dissociative identity disorder” and find posts years back mentioning it.
It is entirely preventable, because childhood trauma is preventable.
Additionally, there are a lot of experts and non-experts spreading misinformation about DID, saying it is curable (it’s not), treatable with antipsychotics (nope), and that the best thing for DID systems is fusion (noooooo, and forcing it can have irreparable consequences).
What does this mean for blogging going forward?
Now that we’re out, we don’t completely know. We want to share our story, but we also just want to express ourselves through a combined medium. Moving forward, this blog will be authored by multiple identities but one body. I know it’s confusing. It’s terrifying to think about, but also wholeheartedly exhilarating. We attempted this with 6birds, briefly, when there were but six of us known — but the previous host had no idea we even existed (that’s kinda the point of DID).
Some things we’re all scared of:
- Rejection: We’re different people, but we feel collectively. There is, essentially, a hive mind — but there also isn’t. It’s hard to articulate.
- Judgment: DID is extremely stigmatized, to the point that many people use it as insults without even realizing (and yes, it’s hurtful).
However, we are also looking forward to…
- Getting to know people as ourselves, our individual identities
- Expressing ourselves on the blog
- What kind of future this means for us — we literally don’t know, because we NEVER even dared dream of it
- Hopefully helping to build empathy and understanding for other DID systems. DID awareness is so important, and honestly awareness that public e-communities existed could have helped us SO much years ago.
How to know which alter a post is by
Previous posts not authored by Jane or Liz are categorized beneath “The Before”. The distinction between Jane and Liz is not entirely necessary. Liz is a different person, yes, but it’s less that she’s an alter and more that she is…it’s complex. She’s like a clone? But also not. This is something we want to explain more moving forward, because it’s complicated and often misunderstood. Liz and Jane are not the same person, and yet our identities are so intertwined.
You should consider us one and the same, because she is more a fragment — partially-formed identity that performs a specific function — of myself.
In the blog post meta, under the title, will be “by [name]” — you’ll be able to click it and see all their posts.
Think of it as us putting a spin on multi-authored blogs — temporarily.
We’re sure you have questions, and we’d love to answer them! Drop them in the comments or email us. Our system TikTok is @darlingsystem. Our Instagram is @darlingsystem. Jane’s Instagram is @ijanelively.
There’s no going back, but we are also creating a path we don’t know the destination of. Our ultimate goal is integration.
Linking this up with the Book Blogger Discussion Challenge because it feels supes relevant.