Surviving a Wedding with Dissociative Identity Disorder
Contrary to the title of the post, the wedding was fantastic, and we did much more than just survive it–we loved it and had a great time. However, the weeks leading up to the wedding were tense, both in terms of planning for the wedding itself and planning how our DID system would handle the wedding event.
Hello, I am Jules, and I am the host of a DID system known as Many But One on many forms of social media. The DID system I am a part of has around 20-25+ members—I say an estimate because things change, parts split and fuse or go dormant, so it’s hard to keep track of an exact number, not to mention I am fully aware that there are many more alters that I have not been allowed to meet yet, as per our gatekeeper’s request. (The gatekeeper of the system acts as a “leader” of sorts and is usually aware of all alters in the system and works to keep alters that are not ready to be “out” away from others.)
To begin, three of us were dating our fiance. Me (Jules, host), James (the gatekeeper), and Foster (a co-host and protector). We all have an established relationship with our wife and were all on board with getting married to her. There are several other adults in the system, most of which are not with my wife because 1) they are not attracted to women, 2) they think of her more as a friend, or 3) they are not ready for a relationship or have no desire for a relationship.
From the beginning, the three of us knew we all wanted to be a part of the wedding in some way. We had been working on co-consciousness (often shortened to co-con, which means having more than one alter in control of the body) and communication between the three of us. Out of everyone in the system, we have the best communication and all get along very well for the most part. With our therapist we came up with a tentative plan of action for our wedding day. James or I would handle the ceremony while Foster handled picture-taking and the receiving line, as well as any social interaction. Foster is highly social, doesn’t care about getting his picture taken, and doesn’t care about people touching him when he is aware of their intentions. James and I are much more wary on those fronts, so we knew he would thrive in those positions. James and I were also the ones to write the vows, though he did most of it and I edited and trimmed down what he wrote to make sure it wasn’t too long.
Almost a year prior we had come to the conclusion that we would be okay with wearing a wedding dress. I am non-binary and generally prefer androgynous or masculine clothing, James is a cis male and hates femme clothing, and Foster is genderfluid and loves any kind of clothing, especially fancy or statement pieces of clothing. Wedding dresses are the ultimate statement piece, so he was thrilled by me deciding I wanted a dress. James relented, as he knew it would upset us if we didn’t get to wear a wedding dress on the ONE day of our lives we would get to wear one.
On the day before the wedding, I had been trying to practice smooth switching. As in, switching in a way that wasn’t obvious. It was not possible at that time. Positive triggers to get the other two out were not working, and our communication was not great that day. I cannot control switching in the slightest, though I can somewhat coax one to happen on occasion. This usually means we have to have excellent communication and trust with one another. This day was not a good day for practicing switches. I worried very much that I would be stuck doing the whole wedding, doing stuff I really didn’t like such as pictures and hugs. However, come the wedding day, things were flawless. There was very little “lag time” between any switches we went through and we all executed our parts perfectly, with me mostly co-con during the entire wedding. Our officiant was aware of our DID and said some beautiful words regarding it, something that would not be immediately obvious to someone who doesn’t know about the DID, but was clear for us and meant a lot to us. Here it is:
“May you honor the complex dimensions of one another in ways that reflect your commitment to loving and embracing every part of one another, even the parts that might be scary or unrecognized.”
It was a beautiful speech, and our wife and James got to say their vows to each other. It was a beautiful wedding!
For those of you with DID that want to get married or struggle to handle big social gatherings, having a plan is the best thing we could have done for ourselves. Knowing who would tackle what and using each other’s strengths was paramount for our ability to get through a wedding with almost 90 guests in attendance. However, if I can do it, so can you!
-Jules, host of the “Many but One” DID system