A better question might be, does it help at all? Honestly, probably not, and yet we do it anyways.
Feeling sad? Shut down. Feeling hurt? Keep quiet. Feeling overwhelmed by chaotic happenings inside? Don’t share THAT. Anything but that.
It used to be that many of us considered it a sign of strength if we were able to keep quiet about it. It also used to be that there weren’t many people willing to listen, try to understand, or even want to hear it.
For many people, when they feel in crisis they pick up the phone and call or text a friend or a crisis line. For many of us with DID, that doesn’t happen. I’d be willing to bet that most of us with DID aren’t going to go far looking for support or help. People stop looking for help when they learned at a young age that help isn’t coming. I’m pretty confident that it’s a combination between a learned behavior and a feature of the disorder. The disorder is about staying quiet, diverting attention, and masking everything.
For anyone who has experienced any kind of trauma, it’s often hard to reach out for help and/or support. Well-meaning people ask that absolutely ridiculous question “How can I help you?” For a lot of us, there’s no answer to that. If we knew, we’d probably have done it ourselves by now in order to keep from being a burden or a bother to anyone. See how that works? I can almost see heads nodding in agreement.
Here’s the thing, when we isolate, we lose the right to be upset that no one’s there for us. Mostly because we aren’t available to anyone. When we isolate we become filled with nasty thoughts about how others are mistreating us and ignoring us. Those thoughts spiral and turn into bigger dark thoughts. We end up lost in the isolation and how it’s someone else’s fault for not reaching out.
When we don’t isolate, when we make the effort to show up somewhere, somehow, suddenly there becomes a few people who want to be there for us. People who notice when we miss something. Who enjoy talking about random things. The bad thoughts get pushed back and it’s harder for them to take hold. The sense of community grows.
Isolation doesn’t help us, it hurts us.