Holly please help! My partner has DID and she herself is disappearing. I dont know what to do. For weeks now she has not been out and i have heard from her personalities that she has little to no chance of coming back. She herself has no idea what is going on. I dont know what to do. I love her very much and I dont want to lose her. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I cant just say shes gone. I know she has been going through some seriously large amounts of stress lately that has to do with her family. Please help me.
My advice is not to freak out. And I don’t mean ‘pretend not to be freaking out in front of your partner’ because dishonesty, no matter how subtle and no matter how well-intentioned, is almost impossible to hide from people with Dissociative Identity Disorder; and if she senses that you’re covering something up (in this case: your worry) it will only stress her out more. But worrying about her creates stress, too. So I urge you to do your absolute best to genuinely remain calm, but if that’s just not possible, don’t lie about it or go in the other direction and give in to it. It’ll just make things worse.
Exercise your flexibility
I get why you’re worried. But there are very good reasons not to be. The first being that, no matter what her alters tell you, nothing with DID remains constant. They may believe that she’s not coming back (or they may not – there are reasons a Dissociative Identity Disorder system might tell you this even if it isn’t true) but if she is your partner, that suggests to me a fully-fledged personality. It is possible, particularly if other aspects of her system are capable of navigating the world successfully and without calling much attention to themselves, that she might remain dormant for some time. But it’s highly unlikely (read: just shy of impossible) that she will simply disappear, never to be heard from again.
Focus on the whole
The second reason to refrain from worrying is theoretical and therefore one people generally dismiss (which is a profound mistake in my opinion.) Namely, that your partner is not one specific personality. Your partner is a dynamic human being with a number of aspects of self that, due to this particular pathology, tend to operate with greater independence from each other than they do in most other people. Your partner, then, isn’t disappearing at all. Why not embrace this opportunity to get to know more of who your partner is instead of lamenting the apparent loss of one aspect of who she is?
Trust the system
The third reason (and there are more but this is as far as I’ll go) not to freak out is that she – and I mean the entirety of her person, not one singled-out aspect of it – knows what’s best for her. Have faith. You said she’s been dealing with an inordinate amount of stress … this is how DID systems deal with stress, they rearrange themselves, they move things around to take pressure off of certain aspects. This is what she does. Let her do it. Don’t try to stop it.
In a nutshell: don’t worry!
If I were in your shoes I can tell you exactly what I’d do: I’d interact with whatever aspect of my partner’s identity was presenting and I wouldn’t worry, while interacting with them, about all the other aspects that weren’t presenting. I’d let her be. I’d ask her (whoever) if there was anything I could do to help mitigate the stress in her life and then, assuming I could do it without hurting myself, I’d attempt to meet those needs.
The biggest mistake a partner (or therapist or family member, whatever) of someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder can make is – in my opinion – to infantilize them, to assume that their apparent pathologies ought to be interrupted, thwarted, and redirected for their own good. If she needs to disappear, let her disappear.