I'm a person with DID who would probably be considered overall high-functioning but mostly in the area of job success. I have several areas that are barely functioning. So this isn't really a recovery story.
My alters mostly stopped switching in by age ten when we ended the abuse. They mostly went inside and the gatekeeper was extremely passive in his monitoring of me, the host, because the body was alive, we had a job, etc. Since age ten, I haven't lost much time at all, so DID was easy to write off as a potential problem. Throughout adulthood I had periodic depressions that would cause me to stop working, lose everything I'd gained, then have to start over again. Work-wise I'd always bounce back more successful, but suicidal thoughts became a daily reality.
I've read so much about DID and the mind that I should have had this figured out and healed decades ago. Jonathan, who was my unknown companion and eternal supporter, left me a couple decades ago and went into hibernation. From that moment forward, to avoid triggers, I shut down more and more to a minimalistic life that looked productive.
As an alter, I've always had friends but now these are mostly at work and they don't know all about me. People turn to me for support. They like and trust me and this validation has been enough to point to and tell myself, see, I'm not a total failure. I make a difference to some people. Unfortunately, just not enough to me.
* Can one get all alters to be (relatively) happy/okay without integration?
Yes, and I think we've worked toward that. But it's only relatively happy. The littles especially won't be truly happy because they recognize more and more that they're a child in an adult body. They can never be truly normal, what they were. It also feels like their natural and completely inevitable growth is toward adulthood. But their ability to mature is hampered, probably crippled, by their unhandled trauma, which is still there, under the surface.
* How does time gaps affect your life as high-functioning?
The only time gaps since age 10 have been brief, a matter of minutes, all less than an hour I think.
* Any tips for working with DID (in a business I mean)?
Send out a message internally that your job is important for a roof over your heads and food on the table. Everyone can thrive better if there is no inappropriate switching during work. Emotional things or time in the body need to happen outside of work. So now, if the host really wants stability and continuity at work, the host must then provide for everyone's needs during the rest of the time. That said, I also let my littles out at work if no one's around or if there's repetitive work that they might enjoy and that lets them help and feel useful.
* How do you schedule body-time when you have an entire, full life to take care of as well?
I'm "lucky" that my life outside of work has become so miserably isolated that most of the non-work time can be doled out to alters as they ask for it. My lifelong habit is to hog the time, however, so I have to work hard to share, even though if asked I would say "sure I want to!"
* How did you work to become high-functioning? I assume therapy, but were there other choices as well?
The presence of Jonathan inside (to age 33), who guided me towards wise employment choices. The presence of Quato, who allowed me to compete via a brazen attitude, street smarts, and the ability to lie cleverly when needed. Marc instills a deep belief that I am worthy, valuable, equal to anyone, so that I'm virtually never intimidated. In childhood, Jack developed a simple but solid morality from outside the family and made me conform to it. He didn't include lying as our DID required that. Other alters provided other benefits. This was all internal work done by my mind, not me as an alter.
Reading, reading, reading about the mind, psychology, self-improvement. Years of a variety of therapy, including things like biofeedback. Consciousness-raising work like the Landmark Forum, which included pulling back and processing memories. None of these got through to me that I was multiple though, that that was what all my problems and the "weirdness" in my life stemmed from.
I regret probably more than anything in my life that I did become "high-functioning." If I had not been able to cobble together a functional life, if crippled in many fundamental areas like relationships, I would have been forced to look more deeply into what was wrong. If I had lost more time, I would have had more clues to suggest what was wrong. The ability to function, for me personally, was in many ways my curse.
John(ny) academic, Sphinx gatekeeper, Marc 46 noble
Aaron 44 logger, Jonathan 33 suit, Nigel 21 reader
Quato 19 rebel, Dan 15 jock, Faolán 14 detacher
Jack 11 hillbilly, Ty 10 Brit, Brody 9 AllAm
Luke 8 farmboy, Chase 7 rich, Carter 6 softheart, Greg 6 sad
Inky 5 jumble, Johann, Hansel 4 twins, Max 3½ freeze
Little John 3 quiet, Ashár 2 wolfdog, Henry 2 lost
Edward 1½ knight, Zeb 1 baby, Adam 8mo core