Coming back after a personality switch is like waking up from a nap. It takes a few seconds of blinking and looking around to get your bearings, to work out who you’re with, where you are and what you’re in the middle of doing. The only difference is with a normal nap you soon realize you’re in exactly the same place you went to sleep, whereas I could disappear from my sofa and wake up again at a pub or a supermarket or even driving a car and not have a clue where I’m heading.
Speaking of driving, sharing a body, I think, is a bit like being the driver of a bus. Regardless of how many passengers are on board, there’s only one person in control. The only difference with us is that any one of those passengers can take over the steering at any point.
Even when, years later, I was told again and again that I only ‘existed’ for an hour or two a day, I rejected the very idea. How would you react if someone told you that?
I have learned that alters express themselves with nightmares, dreams and “daymares” (another subject altogether). While you sleep, alters feel safe to move around and feel. One of the ways they feel is by dreams. I have done my share of sleep walking and re-arranging things in my sleep, but if you are not sleeping alone, your alters might not feel safe enough to physically move, but they will still express their feelings in dreams.
Sometimes the dreams are graphic images of exactly what happened in the alter’s past – quite possibly events that you knew nothing about because they shielded you from them and now you have both reached the stage where this secret should be kept from you no longer. In other dreams, the actual events featured have never occurred in the alter’s life but the dreams express dilemmas and emotions that are of great significance to the alters. The biggest point about either sort of dream is that they communicate things that are deeply distressing the alter, and trying to bear them alone has become too great for the alter and is no longer necessary. The alter needs your support, and probably the support of other parts of you as well, and you have much to offer in terms of a listening ear, empathy and wisdom.
Often in my dreams, I am in a no-win situation. If I do one thing, I will suffer; if I do another I will suffer. That is exactly how I feel with a certain relative. I have noticed a real spike in these dreams right after I talk with that person.
The first alter i ever met was in my dreams and i did not know who or what it was. since i was a child i would lucid dream, where you know you are dreaming and you are aware that everything in your environment is you. however in my dreams, objects would show up, usually obstructive, that were not a part of 'me'. like a teacup where one should not have been or a windfall of trees over a road i was traveling on. i would remove or circumvent the offending obstacle or thing and go about my merry way dreaming until another bigger obstruction would appear. this would repeat with bigger and more obvious obstructions. the whole thing would culminate with an 'entity' attacking me. this entity never looked the same but always had the same eyes. it was definitely not 'me'. it did not like to be seen and it hated 'me' with an hatred i never imagined possible. i would wake up in sleep paralysis having gruesome hypnopompic hallucinations and wondering what the hell had just happened. it was terrifying. as i got older the attacks got worse.
i now know i am fragmented. this 'entity' is a very strong alter that i have very little communication with. i think it was formed at nine out of a severely traumatic event that created it and a twin, a little girl named lily who just cries and says sorry. it does not want a name. it is very animalistic and demonic. i think it was made out of all the rage i had at my abuser but it didn't have an outlet so now it just hates me. i don't think it talks. i think it hates me because i sent it away.it hates me because it thinks i am weak and worthless and did not stop the traumatic event when it happened. i say this but it doesn't feel like it even thinks.
I think it stands to reason that they would each have their own dreams. And the body would experience each dreamer as they phase in and out of control, just like if they were awake.
originally posted by: gwynnhwyfar
I am currently reading an interesting book, All of Me: How I Learned to Live with the Many Personalities Sharing My Body” which is purportedly written by/about alternate personalities sharing the body of a woman named Kim Noble who has ”over 20” personalities due to childhood abuse. I have read a number of similar books over the years and I accept many of the assertions that are made regarding “Multiple Personality Disorder” (MPD), currently known as “Dissociative Identity Disorder” (DID). Kim Noble is a particularly interesting example of the disorder, because she began painting as part of her therapy, several years ago, and each of her alternate personalities now not only paints, but has their own painting style, and they are quite accomplished. Here is the set of on-line galleries for Kim Noble & Co
Kim Noble has been interviewed on the Oprah show, and several “alters” or alternate personalities surfaced during that interview: Oprah Interview with Kim Noble
She was also written up in an article on the Vigilant Citizen web site here - in the Vigilant Citizen take on the subject, Kim Noble’s abuse constitutes “Monarch Programming” as described in their article on the subject of Monarch Programming.
Here is Kim Noble's Web Site
Here is the WebMD topic on Dissociative Identity Disorder.
On to the main subject…
The book opens with the current “primary alter” discussing her interview on Oprah and what it is like to be in her situation. Here are some quotes:
Do they dream?
Thanks for your attention!
originally posted by: pl3bscheese
I don't have a diagnosis of DID, and don't dissociate in time; however, I obviously have sub-personalities (alters) running through my mind at all times, and different aspects of whom I imagine myself to be take control depending on the situation at hand. We all work for the well being of myself. I am one.
Having said all of that, this is the experience. Imagine a round table of associates. Each has their perspective and skills. The table works as a team to make sure all projects are complete on time, and that the system is running smoothly. That's my psyche.
It's experienced internally as a constant shifting in perspective, and scenario-building through role-playing. I will re-imagine things already experienced, and play them as if other people, or maybe integrate a new insight as a pattern to be thrown into the previous situation. I run through the program and see how the introduced variable changes the system (internal movie). Maybe I'm imagining something I will do in the future, and need to anticipate everyone's reactions to how I plan to navigate through the scene. At any rate, each internal character will put on masks, and play the roles of the people I'm going to be meeting with.
At times, these characters will pop out for a bit. The mood changes, my perceptions change, my focus changes, my energy levels can change, my ability for affect can change, and more. I'm aware of the shifts, fully allowing them as is best.
From a neurological perspective, I imagine neural circuitry reinforced due to positive outcomes. Each circuit represents a persona/character. Circuits cross-fire simultaneously, and may appear as if a Christmas tree blinking on and off all over the psyche on an EEG reading.
When I go to sleep, sometimes, a bizarre phenomena occurs. I will, just before losing consciousness, expand my connection between subconscious, in what I call the semi-conscious realm. That's when the table is expanded, or it seems more like apparitions are floating all around the room which contain my super team around the circular table. These must be disowned aspects of my psyche, who have yet to join the team.
Now, how are my dreams? Often quite "out there". I share the multi-perspective view with bob above, sometimes. I don't think that has to do with a lack of logic, though. I'm almost always aware of my dreamscape, ie lucid, and capable of recreating the environment to my choosing at will, else rolling with it and deciding there may be some things to learn from my subconscious. What I find interesting is the layeredness of the dreams that I experience from time to time. This isn't a mere dream within a dream, rather, as if each packet of information cross connects between multiple dreamscapes, has multi-tiered meaning, and application. I'm essentially experiencing many dreams at once, with an integrative unfolding amongst them all.
Not sure if this may give you insight into how a DID may experience their dreams. I imagine they are more likely to have bizarre dreams, but perhaps lack the ability to properly understand them and gain insight from them as I may. It seems the difference between creativity and "mental illness" lies with a lack of acceptance of how and what ones reality is. I'm okay with ambiguity, and what many would label as "bad" or "wrong" or "disordered" if it doesn't seem to do any harm. The harm seems to be in attempting to solidify that which is abstract, and in flux. Leave it be, ya dig?
originally posted by: gwynnhwyfar
When you guys dream, do you experience your "self" in the dream as being the core personality, or the last personality in charge? Or does it not work like that at all?
It sounds like those of you who dissociate are aware that it is happening, so maybe you have some control?
originally posted by: Ellie Sagan
a reply to: Anyafaj
Thanks for sharing your own experiences with us so openly. It helps to get another perspective, and it helps me understand more.