Send Your Replies to Sabrina:

Hi Sabrina.

I agree with Lynn, too. In the past, I just decided to tell people about my MPD. It usually didn't go well, even with people I'd known forever. I had made new friends and told them, but it was like all they could picture me as was huge MPD letters standing there. Since going through the integrations, I am slowly making new friendships at church. I'm still uncomfortable around people. One night in church, I told our Celebrate Recovery group about my MPD, and how I no longer had it. I was terrified more by what their reactions would be, than I was of giving my talk. But they handeled it great. Since then, I haven't brought it up on my own. I decided to wait until anyone in the group would bring it up. Since then, I've had one questionabout it. I always tell people I'll be glad to answer any questions they have. Right now, I'm just getting to know them better, and letting them to get to know me better. I do follow their lead. And I talk about things they're interested in. I also use humor alot in situations, so that seems to help people feel more comfortable. I was blessed to find such a great church.

Take care
Debbie E.



Hi Sabrina:
I am three years into my therapy and am just starting to accept my diagnosis.  But, I have been living with it for years and years.  The whole process takes a lot of my mental and consequently physical energy.  Sometimes I feel as if I am consumed by the work with my therapist and my often times, unruly (and I say that fondly), identities.  However, I may think and act with multiple identities but that is not all that I am about.  Even “healthy” people have secrets.  Follow their lead and don’t talk about your “secret” until you are ready.  And remember, you may never be ready with that particular “healthy” person.  In life, one rarely has more than a very few truly good friends, whether they are one identity or like us, working with multiple identities/parts. 

Secondly, for example say I had an artificial knee (or artificial leg or say cancer, high blood pressure, etc.) I wouldn’t go out and say “Hi, I have an artificial knee, and my name is X.”  I would just say ‘Hi, my name is X.’   I would talk about my likes and dislikes.  You’ll talk about their likes and dislikes, probably more than yours.  If we got into an area I wasn’t ready to discuss, as with my identities or perhaps a diagnosis of cancer, I switch (excuse the pun) and change the subject.  It takes time to get to know anyone.  It takes time to trust in them and it is worth it to take that time.  Don’t ever forget, you are a very special person, and not just anyone will do as your friend.  Don’t sell yourself short.  You’re not going to like everyone and not everyone is going to like you and the reason may be as simple as their dislike of the color of your hair.  Please don’t make your diagnosis, any diagnosis whether it’s mental or physical, your new identity.  It is only a part of who you are.

Third, I wouldn’t recommend going out to meet “healthy” people when your identities are having a rotten day.


What happens when your identities start messing with you when you are out meeting new people? Stop talking.

If that is hard to do without drawing massive attention to yourself, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom.I have sat in more than one stall trying to pull myself together.It may be scary but no one has ever bothered me in a stall.In other words find a simple way to pull away from the conversation and or group.You could even drop your keys, accidentally, of course.The whole idea is to buy you some time to gather yourself.

I am a nurse.I am not currently working, but I still push myself to attend educational conferences. My identities, the student and the nurse attend.It’s not uncommon for me to be talking and suddenly have no idea what I was talking about because somebody else comes about. It may take some precious seconds for me to register this.I might even see it on others' faces.It’s ‘ok’!’ I actually say, “Oops, I don’t remember what we were talking about. It just slipped my mind.” If I feel really odd I may make a ‘getting old’ joke. Really!If someone has a problem with this no one has ever said. It’s not uncommon for someone to refresh my memory and then I can catch up with the conversation.But, I don’t make a big deal about it.I just find a way to bow out so I can pull myself together.

People are most interested in themselves.Don’t sweat it.What you may perceive as a huge display of your DID they may not notice at all.If someone does notice and treats it with respect you may have found a friend.
Take care


Hello, Sabrina:

I've found it helpful to realize that all people struggle with issues.  Whether they are the same as my issues or not is not the point.  So in a way, though I may have the label of DID, I am not any less healthy than they are. 

What has also helped me is to look for the spiritual aspects of friendships.  In other words, am I drawn to a person because we have similar interests?  If so, I can focus on those aspects of the friendship.  I have also learned that no one person will be all I need in a friend.  I've met several friends online, for example, who either are DID like me or who are abuse survivors.  Our friendship developed from that standpoint so if I have a DID issue to talk about, I can talk to them. 

I used to think that any interpersonal connection was an opportunity to help people understand about abuse or DID or PTSD or whatever.  I now see that that viewpoint is unrealistic.  When I go to a writing workshop, for instance, I will be talking about writing.  Sticky situations can come up of course when a developing friendship gets to the place where maybe you're out having lunch and your friend asks about your childhood.  When that happens, I've learned to test the waters.  I usually say something noncommittal at first, like, "I didn't have a happy childhood."  Usually that works.  If the person is talking about something they liked to do as a child that I can relate to, I will comment on that.

What has helped me also is having forums like this one and others, where I can discuss DID issues openly.  The energy around those issues doesn't build as much pressure that way so I don't feel the need to share with people who may or may not have a basis on which to relate with me in those areas.

Hope this helps. 



Dear Sabrina,

I guess my approach has been...don't discuss the mental health stuff until I know the new person quite well. I try to find people I've got some other connection with (for example: art, politics, bicycle riding, books, whatever...) so there are other reasons why I am meeting them. With my boyfriends I had to be a bit more upfront because my livelihood was wrapped around Many Voices, & if they knew what I did at work, they'd see some connection with mental health. I made it a very big point not to lie if asked a straight-out question. But I didn't always volunteer...& certainly not right away. I kind of eased into the discussion of abuse & recovery with the current guy several weeks after we first made contact. & because, in my case, I had no wish to be entangled with someone who disapproved of therapy or freaked out about mental health situations, I was candid about the fact that (a) I'd been in therapy (b) I was feeling good now (c) I might go back if I felt I needed to, etc. His reaction was very supportive and that got our relationship off to a solid start.

Good luck with your new friendships!

Lynn W.


Dear Sabrina,

Take Lynn's advice.  What she says is what my therapist says to me.  I, too, have difficulty making friendships.  In fact, I have no real friends at this time.  I thought I had one for about two years and she dumped me without any explanation.  This hurt me so much, I still think about it every day.  Now I am afraid to be hurt again and seem to find myself pushing others away.  I am glad you wrote about this subject in hopes it will assist me also.  Maybe others will reply later and it will help both of us.  Lynn has the best suggestion, though it is difficult to do.

On the good side - Isn't it nice to know you are not alone in this situation?

Good Luck & Take Care,