On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed TikTok's thriving dissociative identity disorder (DID) community. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!
BuzzFeed Daily: Before we can really dive into what the DID community looks like on TikTok, we need to talk about what it is. Most of us may be more familiar with the term "multiple personality disorder," but we now call it dissociative identity disorder. Can you give us a broad definition of what the disorder is?
BuzzFeed Daily: Like you said, these creators describe themselves as "systems," meaning a system of personalities. What do their videos and content typically look like?
JL: A lot of the videos mirror what you'd see from vloggers, usually. It's alters, so different personalities talking about their days, their individual identities. They're very keen on this because they like to be seen as individual people. Especially there's a lot of stuff of alters reacting to the same thing, so let's say seven personalities sharing a body will all eat the same food and tell you what they think about it. A lot of the content revolves around showing that each alter in a system is indeed a different person. They also do a lot of live streams and the live streams predominantly focus on switching — the state of moving between personalities.
BuzzFeed Daily: It's interesting, what you say about how these different personalities are different people and react different ways, because for several of the people you spoke to, their videos are filmed by or either include their partners, and their partners have different relationships with the different personalities, correct?
JL: Yes, so it depends on which system you're talking about. It varies for each system. They tend to have different sexualities if you go between alters. So some alters in a system might have a more platonic relationship with the partner because they might be asexual or they might be a different gender. I think the A System, for example — three alters in a system of about 27 are in a romantic relationship with the wife of the A System.
BuzzFeed Daily: What did the A System tell you about what it's like being such a big part of the TikTok DID community?
BuzzFeed Daily: In your piece you do a really good job of staying neutral, but there's a lot of people who are skeptical of these accounts. What kind of criticism are they facing?
JL: There's a lot of criticism about the DID community from all kinds of perspectives... There's obviously the subreddits I talk about in the piece, like r/DIDCringe, where people with DID on social media are heavily scrutinized and accused of faking their disorder for clout or attention or fame. There's also a general lack of belief from people in the psychiatric community or the academic community that DID even exists in the first place. Some people believe that the disorder is developed after diagnosis through therapy rather than something inherent within people.