Thanks to Becca’s comment on my previous genesis post, I thought it would be useful to post a quick explanation of the differences.
People who are schizophrenic hear voices. So do people with DID. What’s the difference?
The voices that a person with DID hears are rooted in reality and only feel separate because of a lack of self-awareness. The voices that someone with schizophrenia hears are external voices. Schizophrenia is a neurological condition biologically based. In other words it exists independent of what’s going on in the outside world and is a disconnect from reality.
By contrast, DID is a developmental coping mechanism that is caused by early trauma. It shapes identity (multiple) and memory (compartmentalized) and is really an extension of the normal process of having different parts. For example, you have your work part and your doting grandma part. In and of itself it isn’t damaging. It’s a way of managing a difficult reality. It’s the PTSD from the trauma, the nightmares, triggers, anxieties and flashbacks that are damaging.
The good news for people with DID is much better than for schizophrenia, which is little understood and hard to treat because it is a problem with the brain. People with DID have healthy brains which adapted to difficult environments. As people realize that the current environment is safe and desensitize from early conditioning, the PTSD symptoms diminish.
Conditioning is something that most people have to wrestle with, so people with DID have a lot to teach. And about living together as well, because people who are multiple become experts in internal negotiation.