For reference

The information in this carrd comes from a lifetime of personal experience, my own ongoing treatment with a specialist, and my own thorough research. Please take the time to read it to better understand.
This carrd may be updated over time.


An alter is a subjectively subdivided, selectively mobilized cluster of state dependent experiences, memories, feelings, and meaning systems.

A person with DID is a single person with an illness that prevents them from experiencing these self aspects at the same time.

This occurs because pervasive and extreme trauma prevents the solidification of a sense of "self" across situations and context in a developing child.

What is DID?
What is DID actually like?
What are alters?
Why are plurals harmful?


DID is a dissociative disorder. There are other dissociative disorders, and DID is one of them.

DID is a disorder on the far end of the continuum of
where certain conditions about development, attachment, and pervasiveness are met. It is also a dissociative disorder, although it is only one of them.

It exists at the intersection of dissociative disorders and complex trauma. The type of dissociation that would cause a child to develop DID is so severe that it can only be caused by serious trauma.

The types of trauma typical of someone with DID involves prolonged situations of:

> Brutal rape and sexual violence
> Cult and ritual abuse
> Human trafficking

This abuse typically occurs pervasively, over a period of many months or years, beginning usually before the age of 7, and almost always involves extreme violence and threat to life, and attachment disruptions. Many people with DID are abused by caregivers.

It is this attachment disruption that is thought to be central to dissociative coping strategies, wherein different self states might need to respond in a way another cant.

Older children, up to age 9 or so, can develop a type of OSDD where dissociation is severe enough to cause disruptions in continuity & awareness, but not so much sense of self, as the personality has had time to mature.

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Like any mental illness, DID is manifested by several symptoms occuring at once to cause a clinical profile, that can vary between patients. When certain symptoms are not present, that is specified by the evaluator. Most recently, OSDD has been included the same diagnosis as DID.

Most symptoms of DID are a variety of mixed dissociative experiences, including amnesia, identitty alteration, depersonalization, derealization, and identity confusion.

The disorder is characterized by its highly dissociative symptomatology and prevalent post traumatic symptoms. The 3 items in the DSM are a guide for clinicians, and not a diagnostic tool.

There are several highly specific diagnostic tools that have been developed for diagnosing DID. They are not made public, and clinically distinguish DID from fake/malingered DID with incredibly high accuracy.

It is the clinical profile of all the symptoms that make up the disorder that the subjective experience of highly descrete self states occurs.

(Taken from national institute of health)
Symptom patterns of DID patients differ from portrayals in the media and many psychiatric and psychology textbooks. These portrayals are [falsely] characterized by florid, histrionic behavior, and repeated, dramatic state switching between highly elaborated, distinct self-states, with stable characteristics over time—like “separate people.”

Factor analytic studies have generally found that DID symptoms are subtle and covert. They are characterized by overlapping and interfering states that typically manifest as inner voices or through symptoms of passive influence, not florid switching behavior—a state of multiple overlapping states.

Commonly, these states are not elaborated beyond a sense of personal identity, a self-representation, a set of (state-dependent) autobiographical memories, a sense of ownership of personal experience, and a capacity to control behavior, either directly or through influencing other states.

State switching may be relatively uncommon in DID, with states more typically subtly shifting, consistent with better functioning.

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Alters form as they do because a specific type of trauma recurs, causing the same dissociative pathway and that trauma type becomes very ingrained into their being.

A dissociative state is gradually created to process and contain a certain type of traumatic experience. The brain becomes sensitized to certain stimuli, and the state is triggered whenever a person is exposed.

Because of this, an alter contains many types of future experiences, as well as non traumatic experiences.

The fact that trauma is prolonged and pervasive is important is because unlike simple dissociative disorders such as dissociative amnesia or the experience of a PTSD flashback, the themes of the abuse are so broad that an alter is responsive to oestensibly "non-trauma" stimuli and may have various roles in daily life.

In this way, the mechanism behind alter states is the same, albeit more ELABORATED and EMANCIPATED, as a triggerable PTSD flashback (where a patient will be triggered into a dissociative state where they are still experiencing the trauma).

An alter is fundamentally a dissociative state where certain trauma responses are triggered in isolation.

A child develops DID when those traumatic experiences become bound to ego states, as the personality has not fully developed. This leads to a discontinuity of awareness across situations & contexts.

An alter state will continue to see use of the same dissociative pathway, and accumulate experience. Over a lifetime, this experience will amount to a variety of traits and identity characteristics associated with the state that, can differ between states.

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here are some reasons why posing as a "plural" online hurts people with DID:
it leads to a misunderstanding about a disorder that is already mocked and misinterpereted. people with DID spend many years in the psychiatric system before being diagnosed properly because it is not taken seriously, because of pop culture ideas and the amount of people who have started to fake it. because of this it is harder for people who have it to get treatment. people with DID have very different symptoms than plurals seem to think we do, and it creates an image of the illness that other people dont know the difference between, so we are lumped in with you, and belittledpeople with DID often struggle in daily life, for example, i had to drop out of school 3 times because i could not retain anything, i am disabled because i can not regulate and maintain pace in a work environment, many can not drive, and poverty and homeless rates are extremely high. I can not even have hobbies most times because i lose the ability to do them. dissociation has taken my life away from a world where survivors already face unjustice, it contributes to an environment where people who have survived things such as repeated, horrifying repeated rape, cult abuse, human trafficking, and much more, all as small children, are less believed and more alienated.if you consider for a moment, that have been through those things, at the hands of family members or trusted adults, had your life stripped away from you, and have a very hard time just getting by, and you saw someone online pretending to have and acessorizing the disorder that causes you so much pain, like a fashion statement, a game, a mockery, a roleplay, how would you feel? you might feel hurt, belittled, like you arent taken seriously (and survivors already do), insulted. because pretending to be "plural" makes people think people who have DID are just like you, a game.what youre doing is roleplaying online to garner attention. you have reasons for doing it, like not getting attention, feeling lonely or not special, or even having symptoms that just arent really DID. but please do not do it, because it effects others.

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