There is a lot of misinformation about Dissociative Identity Disorder, and it's confusing for people who have it let alone those trying to understand it. It's not helped by Hollywood's portrayal of the disorder in popular movies like Split and Glass. This won't be a "criticise the films" post, but I would like to try to separate the myths from the fact to help you better understand what D.I.D. is and what it isn't. There are quite a lot of points I want to bring up, so this post will be a bit lengthy. Sorry about that, but I want to make sure everyone is properly educated on the topic.
So let's dive in...
MYTH: D.I.D. is a personality disorder
FACT: D.I.D. is actually a dissociative disorder
MYTH: D.I.D. isn't real.
FACT: D.I.D. was officially recognised as a real disorder in the 1980 release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).
MYTH: D.I.D. is extremely rare.
FACT: Although the percentage of diagnosed people seems quite small (1-3%), in context of the world population of around 6 billion, that's quite a large number.
MYTH: D.I.D. is the same as Schizophrenia.
FACT: Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness. Symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, disorganized thoughts, speech and movements and social withdrawal. It does not involve alternate personalities or dissociation. However, it is possible for a person to have both disorders, or for an Alter to have Schizophrenia.
MYTH: Dissociative Identity Disorder and Multiple/Split Personality Disorder are not the same thing.
FACT: They are the same disorder. The name was changed to Dissociative Identity Disorder from Multiple/Split Personality Disorder back in the early 90's to better reflect what it actually is.
MYTH: D.I.D. is hereditary.
FACT: D.I.D. is actually formed in early childhood as a direct result of trauma, abuse and/or neglect. It is not hereditary, although some co-morbidities can be genetic (ie: Depression, anxiety, eating disorders etc).
MYTH: D.I.D. is contageous.
FACT: It is not. It is a disorder, not a virus or bacteria.
MYTH: D.I.D. will be with you for life.
FACT: You can heal from it if you so desire.
MYTH: There are medications to help "fix" the disorder.
FACT: There are no known medications that will "fix" D.I.D, however there are medications to help with the symptoms of some co-morbidities (depression, anxiety, Bi-Polar etc).
MYTH: It's perfectly okay to self-diagnose.
FACT: Although you can self-diagnose, you should always seek professional diagnosis to make sure that your diagnosis is correct and thorough. A professional will also be able to rule out anything else, or diagnose co-morbidities and recommend appropriate treatments.
MYTH: Some Alters/Parts are evil and should be locked up.
FACT: There are no inherently "evil" Alters or Parts. An Alter is only capable of the same level of evil or wrongdoing as the Host/Core is. Many perceived "evil" Alters are actually just Alters who hold tremendous amounts of trauma memories and emotions and have unhealthy coping mechanisms. They are deserving of the same amount of love and care as anyone.
MYTH: People with D.I.D. are violent.
FACT: People with D.I.D. are no more or less violent than anyone else.
MYTH: I can get away with crime if it was my Alter and not me who did it.
FACT: D.I.D. does not stand up in a court of law. You are all responsible for your actions and if you or your Alters do the crime, you will do the time. Period. D.I.D. is never to be used as an excuse for crime or bad behaviour.
MYTH: Integration means I will lose all my Alters/Parts.
FACT: Integration is the first step towards healing and simply means the amnesic barriers between Alters is starting to come down. The Alters do not have to merge into one during integration, however in some cases, that's the most logical next step.
MYTH: Having D.I.D. means I cannot live a full, happy, productive life.
FACT: You absolutely can live a full, happy and productive life as a Multiple. It may take work and good communication within the System and years of therapy, but it is possible to achieve.
MYTH: In order to be fully healed I must integrate and fuse all my Parts.
FACT: No. As stated above, it is possible to live happily as a Multiple and be fully reconciled to the past traumas to a degree that they no longer cause distress.
MYTH: I have to tell everyone I have D.I.D.
FACT: No. No you don't. You tell whoever you feel most comfortable telling. It's no-one's business except those who you want to know.
MYTH: Alters are obvious and easy to notice.
FACT: Alters have learned, out of necessity, to "hide" and act just like the Host or Core. Most people would not even notice that an Alter was present.
MYTH: Alters are just different emotional states of the same person.
FACT: Alters can experience a wide variety of emotions independent from each other.
MYTH: People with Alters are "demon-possessed".
FACT: This is extremely damaging and incorrect. Alters are "Alternate States of Consciousness".
MYTH: People with D.I.D. are broken.
FACT: People with D.I.D. are not actually broken. They are survivors of the most heinous crimes committed against them as a child and have learned how to cope under those conditions. D.I.D. is a survival mechanism, and a very good one.
I'll stop here for now, but if I think of, or learn, any more, I'll update this post. I hope this gives you a better understanding of what D.I.D. is and isn't.
YouTubers with great myth-busting videos and information: