Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Dissociative Identity Disorder, ghosts, reincarnation, possession and imaginary friends


Sense of purpose by Donna Williams

Sense of purpose by Donna Williams

Dissociation, alters, co-consciousness and PTSD nightmares can be extremely hard for children with DID to understand and those with awareness of any of their alters or experiencing co-consciousness or PTSD nightmares may easily conclude they are haunted or that their alters are ghosts or imaginary friends even if they had no conscious role in creating them and just ‘discovered’ they were already in existence (those without DID may have imaginary friends but they remember imaginatively creating them).

Some alters will believe their are ghosts, some will live just outside of the body utilising the skills of another alter who is less afraid to be in the body. Some alters will co-consciously experience the signing, chatter or feelings of another alter or feel them outside of the body a short distance away. Some will find themselves outside of the body watching it or be certain they had been killed and were now a ghost. Some alters will be so unable to acknowledge being related to their abuser or stuck living in the family of their abuser they will experience themselves as a different gender, age, culture/race to that of the Core Self, making these alters feel they must have been a ghost who possessed the body or a reincarnation to account for how they got there.

PTSD nightmares can begin as lucid dreaming/night terrors involving waking to find music playing, voices in the room, faces coming toward you, a body in bed with you or touching you where there is physically actually nobody there. So until you understand what PTSD nightmares are you can easily imagine you are in a haunted house. If you move to another place and these occur again you can easily surmise it is you who is being haunted.

The Core Self can, through chronic abuse, go dormant, giving up identification with, response to or all personal defense of the body. In effect the Core Self can become a ‘ghost’. When the Core Self is around as an observer it can be sometimes experienced by the alters as a ghost watching them. The Core Self, having forgotten it was once the self can come to believe it is a ghost and not find any reason or drive to fight to regain the role of host in the body.

In my case the Core Self took the role of a conduit for the alters, doing their typing almost as a medium might. The alters talked of me as a ghost. Turned out that as my personhood was progressively reignited, they, and I learned that as I stepped into the voice and began to run the body and take over the life they had each built for me that I was clearly not a ghost at all.

Thanks for listening.

Donna et al

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.