Calion Smith

Dissociative Identity Disorder Lived Experience Expert
Child sex trafficking survivor

Calion is a lived experience expert and educator on the topic of dissociative identity disorder, a chronic mental health condition caused by severe childhood trauma. He believes it is essential for all mental health practitioners to know about, especially those working with childhood trauma survivors. There is a severe lack of training and expertise out there, and Calion aims to change that.

His experience is based in studying research, including from International Society for the Study of Dissociation and Trauma, plus lived experience with the condition. Calion is also a child trafficking survivor and is ultimately passionate about raising awareness for this, alongside breaking down mental health stigma.

Trainings, Memberships, & Experience

Survivor Alliance Member

SMART Recovery Addiction Recovery Facilitator

Global Association of Human Trafficking Scholars Member

Enrolled in B.A. in Psychology Program

My Story

Hello! First, I’m so glad you’re on this page. Learning about dissociative identity disorder is such an important thing, whether you’re a mental health provider, someone with DID, or their loved one. My blog carries a mix of current research, community advocacy, and lived experience you can learn from, and I also offer training to all mental health professionals. More info on that is here!

So, who exactly am I and why do I do this work? 

I lived with dissociative identity disorder for over 20 years after experiencing childhood sexual trauma and trafficking. Because of this dissociation, my own brain would block out the memories when I left my trafficker’s house, leaving me traumatized, but without any knowledge of what happened. I was helpless to tell anyone, including my own parents. 

That’s the power of dissociation. It’s a protective mechanism, as my mind couldn’t handle the full truth of what I was going through, but it’s also an affliction. Many people living with DID feel the same. 

I came to find beauty in my condition. The different identities I had made up a family, each alter (identity) with their own unique story and personality. We enjoyed each other’s company, but we also struggled through some great challenges. After discovering my condition was dissociative identity disorder in 2017, I became instantly involved in the community and current research. I wanted to understand what was going on with me.

Except…there was so little out there. I had to co-found my own community, a twitter group called #DIDchat, and I had to spend months locating current research and treatment protocols. 

My therapist was a wonderful and empathetic practitioner, but he didn’t know much about the condition. Yet, I needed to be diagnosed…there was clearly something different about the way I experienced the world. There were multiple me. 

Fortunately, he had access to some specialists (a rare find!). So, we were able to get an accurate diagnosis, a privilege that so few people with DID have. Now, I show up as an expert consultant, much like those he relied on for my diagnosis. 

After diving deep into research and going through the entire treatment process myself, I became dedicated to educating professionals about this condition. It’s not nearly as complicated to diagnose and treat as it seems—there just isn’t the initial education to build the essential knowledge needed. Any understanding mental health practitioner can safely work with someone with dissociative identity disorder, so long as they have an education that mixes evidence and lived experience. 

When it comes to DID, both are essential. I saw specialists that ignored lived experience, and they sent me back months in my healing journey. I’ve heard countless stories like this from others too. 

When you are ready to understand the clinical and lived experience of dissociative identity disorder, click here to book a training. 

Thank you for being here. You’re making waves in the world, saving lives, and supporting a community that needs far more care than it gets.