“This is the story of a system, the story of a multiple. This is the story of a person with dissociative identity disorder, therefore it’s the story of many people sharing one body, under the name of SarcasDID System. First of all, dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disorder previously recognized as multiple personality disorder. It’s characterized by the presence of two or more dissociated self-states, known as alters, which have the ability to take executive control of the body; they are associated with some degree of inter-identity amnesia. DID is caused by repeated childhood trauma and is highly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
We were born in Romania, in a family where invalidation was served at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anytime in between. For dessert, we would have a lot of emotional and psychological abuse. The first split happened in the second we were born, which can only mean the abuse started before we managed to get out of the mother’s tummy. These parents didn’t teach us how to walk, how to eat, how to read, how to exist. They didn’t teach us anything but fear, pain, disgust, insecurity, and hate. We would constantly be in a hot and cold environment, and this is mostly because of the mother. We also have an older sister. She is married and currently has two kids who are being spoiled by our parents, too.
Guess what? She is six years older than us and she has about 300 photos of herself as a little kid. We have NONE. The parents’ excuse was there were no cameras when our body was a little kid. Remember, I said the sister is six years older? Exactly. For a very long time, we thought we were adopted and we really hoped we would be. We never felt like we belonged there, in that house, with those people. Lucky enough, our brain learned to dissociate on a very high level so we could spend more time in the inner world and less time in the real world. With the amount of trauma and abuse we had to face, spending some time in the inner world, unaware of what was happening out here, was always the perfect vacation.
Due to the nature of DID itself, I do not remember most of our childhood. The events were so severe the memories would debilitate us and probably kill us, therefore we are not allowed to have them. We have been through it all. And all of this while we were still under the age of nine. Basically, our personality never fully integrated due to the immense load of information the brain couldn’t process, so the mind split instead. At eight years old, we started to be served with intense cult programming, which is a form of psychological and spiritual abuse. We were forced to go to church, forced to go to Sunday School, forced to be nice, forced to make ONLY Christian friends and possibly only female friends, forced to do everything they said, because otherwise we would end up in hell.
What happens to a person who has DID since early ages if they are being abused within a cult is the brain literally cannot handle all the trauma. So, from normal DID it becomes polyfragmented DID, meaning this time we would split easier, more frequently, and in multiple alters in the same time. Our current count is somewhere over 1000 alters, plus subsystems; this means alters have their own alters and sidesystems, which means systems within the main system that are unaware they’re inside a system. DID is about survival! And this is all we’ve been doing; trying to survive. We never actually lived. We just…existed. Never thrived. Just survived. DID develops as a response to extreme trauma that occurs at an early age and usually over an extended period of time. Our trauma was very severe, and lasted since we were born until we managed to escape from the parents’ house. I say escape because existing with them was like a constant war; like walking on a minefield.
We are survivors of many things. Childhood emotional and psychological abuse, neglect, invalidation, spiritual abuse, programming, mind control, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and even trafficking. All of these done especially from people who were very close to us, like family and partners, and some of them from people at church or school. All of them were people we were supposed to find a safe place in. People we were supposed to be able to trust. People we have trusted in the past, and it only ruined our life. ‘Who would love me for me? Because nobody has shown me what love really means.’ Even today, when we are out of the parents’ house and out of any abusive relationship, the concept of love is a mystery for so many of us. Moreover, some of us get severely angry or triggered if they only hear the word ‘love.’
And the parents used to say they love us. What love meant to them was decades of abuse, and we’re pretty sure that’s not what it’s supposed to be. Because our parents never brought us to the doctor, let alone to a psychologist. We never really took into consideration or understood why we experienced symptoms like depersonalization, derealization, dissociation, and so on, which were present since early childhood, along with disorganized attachment. We went to the doctor for severe headaches, but nobody understood why we would experience them at only seven years old. We were diagnosed then with chronic migraines, but the results seem to not be registered within the primary doctor, either. It’s like the document has vanished. We believe the parents disposed of it, because the mother could have never accepted the idea we could be ill.
Symptoms of dissociative amnesia were obvious since childhood as well. Many times it happened for people to call us liars for things we didn’t even remember doing or saying. This has always been very confusing and it messed with our brain. It comes with the impulsivity, anger bursts out of nothing, flashbacks, constant triggers, panic attacks, years and years of delusions and psychosis, extreme mood swings, unbearable depression, which just wouldn’t go away, severe anxiety, social awkwardness, quick attachment to toxic people, the lack of healthy coping skills, etc. At eighteen, we were finally diagnosed with a mental illness for the first time: borderline personality disorder. Even though we have other undiagnosed issues, we still believe borderline is the worst of the worst.
At nineteen years old (in 2019), the former host and core, Sophie, befriended an older girl who would behave in a motherly way toward her. In April, a child alter (called a Little) felt safe enough to front. Ever since then we never stopped doing research, joined every Facebook group we could, watched every educational video possible, and talked to as many people as we managed to. We live in a country where DID is not recognized and where you get mocked for just wearing black, so we had to find information on our own. To be honest, we became fascinated and kinda obsessed with the wonderous world of dissociative identity disorder. Basically, one person discovered she is multiple people with their own different personalities, memories, opinions, feelings, and even life experiences.
Everything finally made sense: the huge memory gaps (we have more than a decade missing from our memories), the dissociation, never knowing who we are, not recognizing the face in the mirror, talking to ourselves out loud, not remembering what we did just five minutes ago, being blamed for things we didn’t know we have done, and much more. We spent months of denial thinking, ‘But what if it’s just the borderline?’ and then ‘hearing’ voices who’d say, ‘Borderline doesn’t make you state a different name, though,’ and other smart comebacks like this. Lucky enough, we like each other. Most of us get along pretty well, we like to make jokes, to be sarcastic, even in moments of great pain. In our lowest lows, we indulge in black humor as much as we can until we feel better, and then we start thinking seriously about what we can do to make our life just a little easier.
We are a system of over 1000 alters, which means we are polyfragmented. Over 1000 people living in one body, all with different personalities, perspectives, opinions, feelings. There are also persecutors whose main goal is to hurt other alters, the body, or other people. DID doesn’t mean having friends in your head and never feeling lonely. Most of the time, things get quite messy and chaotic. We don’t have to deal with all the alters, only with those who are directly in charge of the host or the life in this world, the child alters or alters who need to be supervised. Alters can have different names, ages, genders, species, forms, types, roles, personality types, wishes, dreams, etc. We are around 20 living in the headquarters of our inner world, which takes the form of a big wooden house. And before you’re questioning it: no, it’s not imaginary, and yes, the inner world feels just as real as this world for us.
The main alters are: Tough—the king of our system, he has the form of a black mist but can look human too, he is like a god, knows everything and everyone, he is the alter who took care of us since we were born, along with Dark, a shadow-demon who is on the same level as Tough; Tigris—a tiger-hybrid, physical protector and gatekeeper, she is the result of the fusion between Sophie and Skyler; Seph—the current host of the system; Kyle—primary and emotional protector, he was created when the body was nine years old; Tyler—emotional protector, he numbs the host completely when the feelings are too many and too intense to survive; Connor—gatekeeper of the system, he organizes files and memories along with Mason; Tami—trauma holder and sexual protector, in the system since 2018; Scarlett—vampire, sexual protector, she has been around since the body was around nine years old; Kim—caregiver, she is a witch who can shapeshift into a wolf. In our system we have all kinds of species, like Drake who is a dragon and the master of nature, Phoenix who is a mythological creature, Phantom as a ghost, and so on. This is our family, this is who we are, who we live with and deal with day by day.
We must try to see the positive parts of being in a system, because the negative ones are many. DID is obviously a disorder, so it comes with many side effects, ugly symptoms, and a lot of hardship. We get random flashbacks, nightmares, dissociation, dizziness, headaches, fast heartbeat, chest pain, etc. We have MANY triggers, even silly triggers, that can debilitate us, weaken this body to the point where we can’t move anymore, we can’t hear anything, we can’t breathe, we can’t think, and we have to force switch with an alter who is able to handle the situation and survive through it. We have really bad associations with cleaning, therefore if we start to clean the house we immediately become very dissociated and we may switch. We have triggers with cooking, so we can’t cook either. We can help someone else do it, but we can’t do it alone.
We aren’t functional in the normal terms of society. But thanks to our partner system, we receive help in the daily life and we can focus more on ourselves. It’s hard living like this, though. We would’ve wanted to continue our studies and go to college, but the last year of high school was so bad we were lucky we were still alive. It is impossible to follow a normal schedule when you have DID, because you never know when you get dissociated, when you switch, when you may split again, who in the system gets triggered by something you don’t consider a trigger, etc. We are one. We have to care for each other and put our system first. We have to protect each other and keep each other alive. This is our goal. Even if it means a lot of sacrifice. The worst thing about repeated childhood trauma is that you keep encountering trauma, like you become a magnet for it. So life never really stops being hard, it’s you who starts learning to cope and adjusting to the hardships.
Even writing this article was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done, because our life has always been so messy, chaotic, lacking sense, and hard to put in order. Just like our thoughts and feelings. But we worked it out, together, as a team, when we decided to not let only the host struggle with it. We decided to help her out and write this together, because being in a system also means sharing things, doing teamwork, and just being there for each other. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is even close to perfection. But at least we are together. For the first time, we are not alone in this. Yes, we might still feel lonely, because depression does this to people. But we know in the end we will work everything out together, as a family, as a system. And we also have fun with each other, making jokes, being sarcastic, seeing the differences between all of us, experiencing more things in the inner world, and so on. We’ve been traumatized since birth, and it was horrible, so at least now we can try to have fun.
We also did our best to improve ourselves since we discovered DID. We found out about a lot of triggers and self-triggering, adjust to anything, and we made the hard decision to look for professional help, which we actually cannot receive in our country, so we had to learn how to cope with everything on our own. This is still very difficult. We’re learning everyday to fight the denial that inevitably comes with a disorder like this. We tried to open up to friends, but we lost them all because of their disbelief and lack of trust. But we found other friends who are like us, and even though they are many miles away, they support us and are there for us when needed. Yes, we are still longing for in-real-life friendships, but since this seems impossible where we live, we’re learning to survive like this anyway. It’s a big struggle to get out of survival mode when that’s the default for your brain, and it’s hard to live life, not just exist. We just have to deal with it and stay alive. This is the main goal. Everything else is way too complicated to achieve, and if we do it’s a bonus.
Focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel is hard when there’s so much darkness, and even though we are not far away from struggles, we can focus on how far away we are from our starting point. ‘You don’t have to be at the end of the road to appreciate how far you’ve come! You’re allowed to share, celebrate, and be truly proud of your victories along the way.’ Because we know how hard it is to live with DID or OSDD, we decided to create an online space where we make digital content and write accurate information from our intensive research and personal experiences, to help other systems adjust to their new life and to educate people without DID/OSDD. You can find us here. Follow us in our journey through life, see our posts, stories, and live streams, and take advantage of learning more about people living with multiple identities!
Our country doesn’t recognize DID as a real disorder and it’s impossible to be diagnosed, therefore we also created a website where we write about it in our native language. If any Romanians read this and feel like us, here is your safe space: Multidimensional. We are also trying to create a safe environment for ourselves, because we are not safe where we live! Our every step is being monitored by our parents and we are being followed by them, even though we are almost 21 years old and we are living with our partner. We are afraid to get out of the house even just to the closest store, because we have seen them creeping around our house many times. We HAVE to move out, to have at least a bit of peace. If you wish to support our cause and help us reach safety, please consider buying us a coffee or two.
We all know life is never supposed to be this hard, so your generosity means the world to us and it will help us live a bit easier! If you consider supporting us more, we may finally be able to move out of this country full of triggers and dangers, and go somewhere we can feel safe and where we could get the professional help we need. We are surviving thanks to each other and thanks to our partners, the Bright System, who also have DID and who provide for us and don’t leave our side. Thank you for being such dependable people and for loving and accepting us.
Thanks to all of our friends who helped us writing this article when our anxiety was over the roof, and thank you, Love What Matters, for the opportunity you’ve given us to share our story to the world! We’re hoping it will help people understand DID better and grow empathy towards others, because you never know if the person sitting next to you has been severely traumatized, so it’s better to just be kind to everyone.
This article has been written mostly by Seph and Kyle, with help from the Bright System and our online friends, under the supervision and by the courtesy of Tough, king of the SarcasDID System.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by the SarcasDID System of Cluj, Romania. You can follow their journey on Instagram and their website. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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