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Pagmies - "I, for my part, would rather be made from the dust of an alien world than the ether of anyone's heaven" - Shiu Wei, Amorpha

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Chapter Two

Multiple Personality Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD and DID) have a very colourful history. For a long time, throughout western history, they were treated as possession, and so priests were brought in, as opposed to psychiatrists, and repeated efforts were made to exorcise the possessed person, a practice which often left them more traumatised rather than less, and caused additional problems like angering their multiple others, and causing them to become increasingly destructive as a response to their ill treatment. This in turn caused a vicious circle, and after some time, the person would become essentially non-treatable due to the upset that their others, and themselves had been put through. Demonic possession was seen as a cause for multiplicity for a long time, but eventually peoples beliefs began to change. By the 1700s, treatment ideas had changed, after it was found that when people were hypnotised, second personalities emerged. This gave rise to the belief that all multiples are easily hypnotised (we’re not). Not long after that, epilepsy was found to be present in a lot of these cases, and there is still a connection between DID and epilepsy that has never been fully investigated. Towards the end of the 1800s, it was discovered that people who had been through emotionally traumatic events often manifested personality disorders. A lot was made of this, and investigation was done in a lot of these cases. The interest in dissociation grew until the 1920s, when it steadily declined, after a lot of the patients being treated for these disorders were exposed as frauds. When schizophrenia as a diagnosis was introduced, it replaced MPD/DID as the diagnosis du jour, and the concurrent scepticism ended any discussion of DID. Following the 1974 publication of Sybil, MPD/DID became more popular again, the number of diagnosed cases rising dramatically, as it both grew in fame, and became a more easy diagnosis. Some of these are probably genuine cases of the medical model, that would not have been discovered until people knew a lot more about DID, but a large percentage of these cases are not “real” or trauma-induced cases. One theory is that trauma was not present, but the person was naturally multiple. Due to this, false memories were suggested to them, to explain their multiplicity, and so they got the medical diagnosis. One cause of MPD/DID is supposedly SRA or Satanic Ritual Abuse. We don’t deny that this exists, but there is a lot made of it, and at times the severity and spread of it seems unbelievable, that this could occur, because some survivors accounts implicate entire towns. MPD/DID can surely be caused by abuse, but the extent of this seems at times unbelievable.
The history of DID/MPD in other cultures, especially African and Native American is far more interesting, although far less documented. It is said that people who were multiple were respected, and the more personalities one ahd, the more powerful they were seen to be. Often people who were multiple were made shamans, or even chiefs of some tribes, due to the immense power they were seen as controlling. Despite this acceptance, they were not ever above being blamed if anything went wrong, because they were seen as having powers that others did not, and in many cases minimal control of these powers. In some ways, the combination of the two gave rise to what is known as the “flying toaster” multiple, a multiple who believes they can short out electrical equipment, and do other amazing magical psychic things (including making toasters fly). The combination is found in the idea of having extra powers combined with the idea that to have these powers one had to go through unbelievably bad abuse. Again, this is something we are sceptical of, but we accept that some people see it as their reality.
The current culture surrounding MPD/DID is very varied, with points of view on it spanning everything from “It doesn’t exist” to “everyone is multiple”. There is still a climate of disbelief about multiplicity for varied reasons, including the aforementioned stories of extreme SRA, the number of people who say they are multiple, and the “internet multiple” culture. Said culture is one of people who exist on the internet claiming to be multiple, or claiming to be soulbonds, and have the souls of storybook and computer game characters inside their heads. We believe in this, but believe it is something different to multiplicity, as it is possible to choose to soulbond, whereas even natural multiplicity either happens or it doesn’t. Armchair psychologists debunk our reality every day, it is seen to be accepted, even whilst we do not have the option to debunk theirs.
Meanwhile, people are still being diagnosed with this as a disorder by some whilst others in the medical profession do not even believe in its existence. Films are still being made of multiple mass-murderers, or people who take multiplicity as a joke, but none have ever explored it as a serious issue for discussion. In saying issue, we are not implying it is a bad thing, merely bringing it up as a topic. Both the over-believers, and the under-believers are bad for the multiple community. People who are multiple deny it to themselves for years, refusing to acknowledge that they are, or people pretend they are when they aren’t, and in some ways, both are equally damaging.
This effect hurts people with MPD/DID most, because they have to decide amidst their recovery from whatever trauma they went through how to recover, when some people do not even believe in their condition. Multiplicity DOES exist, and it CAN be caused by abuse, but it can also happen for no real cause, just as an extension of the human psyche. That is what our collective believes anyway, and yes, we may be biased, when it is our reality, but just maybe we’re telling the plain truth. We ask you to believe that anyway.
In some ways, the multiple community is still trying to be special, be different because it has realised it can’t be the accepted definition of “normal” whilst in others, it is full of people who just want to fit in.
MPD/DID is usually accepted as being caused by severe abuse, usually sexual in nature. It is also said that the abuse had to happen, or start, before a certain age, be it 2, 3, 5 , 6, 7, or 9, in order that the personality was not so developed as to find splitting impossible. What is said to happen is that when the trauma becomes too much for the original personality to bear, it splits off a part of itself to bear the abuse. This can happen repeatedly, there are cases of polyfragmented multiples who have thousands of parts from the abuse. The use of “parts” and “personalities” is deliberate here, because the focus here is on the model that suggests that all the “alters” are fragments split off a “core”, the original personality. If you are reading this, and believe that is what caused your system to exist, don’t see it as cause to close the book, and decide it isn’t for you, because the focus is on all multiples, not just those who conform to a certain model, and the idea of empowerment is possible for anyone, whatever the reason that they are multiple.
Despite sexual abuse being the common accepted reason that one is multiple, there are others, including physical and emotional abuse. These are less common reasons for MPD/DID, because sexual abuse is seen as the violation of someone’s entire person, but to me, they are just as bad, if not worse, and they are also valid causes for multiplicity. The essential principle is the same - that the abuse is so bad that the person cannot cope with it, and hence “splits” into various fragments to cope with the abuse. In this case, MPD and DID differ, as MPD says that the splits are complete, whereas DID is saying that the splits are in fact just different facets of an identity, and that the person is simply deluded into believing that they are different people. Again, it doesn’t matter. If you experience the idea of being multiple, then you can become empowered, whatever the cause. There are other causes that could make a person split into their various “parts”, and some believe trauma like a natural disaster, or death of a close family member can cause it. We personally think that it can be caused by any of these, and myriad other causes, and that people simply become multiple due to many things. Our personal theory is that everyone is born multiple, and they either integrate, or they don’t. Sometimes they don’t integrate for no reason, and sometimes due to abuse. One school of belief is that everyone would be multiple, if abuse caused multiplicity, because of today’s consumer-driven society.
There is also the theory that plurality is a psycho-neurological condition, as is being left-handed, and the reason most documented plurals have been abused is simply because that was why they ended up under the care of people within psychiatric profession. This seems realistic enough, as do most of the theories, sadly, and it seems that there is a lot more research needed before anyone really understands the causes for plurality. At the moment, there is far too much controversy for anyone to dare investigate, with the FMS (false memory syndrome) foundation being so widespread, and various other groups also denying plurality, and it is only when this dies down that the much needed investigation will take place.
There is a wide-spread belief amongst the psychiatric profession that people who are multiple are very easily hypnotised, and that is often how they become aware of their multiplicity – through being hypnotised, and other alters taking the front, and speaking to the psychiatrist. This might be the case for some, that some multiples, just as some people are easily hypnotised, but on the other hand it might just be coincidence. We have never been successfully hypnotised, and never wish to be, due to the loss of control. Why would we need it, when we are already all aware of each other. Another popular myth is that to become aware of your multiple status, you need to see a therapist. That is NOT the case. You can become aware of the people sharing you head in myriad ways, from notes, to a conversation, to a conversation with someone else who has met them. On the other hand, your groups communication might be so poor that you need a therapist to make you aware of your multiplicity. Either way, again, it is unimportant. Again, this book shows you how to work on communication between members of your collective, but if that is not possible, there are substitutes for a normal conversation as well. There are hundreds of myths, some believing multiplicity is demonic possession, even in today’s world. Let’s pretend for a moment that it is, and that the group of us that are currently sitting at college agreeing what to type are in fact demons. All I can say is that if we are, then demonic possession is GREAT, it’s fabulous, so what does it matter? Another is that people are cardboard, two-dimensional figures. We can assure you we are not, nor are we psychic, nor gifted, nor, well, pretty much anything. We share the body of a quiet student, and essentially, that’s all we are, so let us be that. Isn’t it bad enough that some people have been abused, and have MPD/DID, without making them out to be modern demi-gods, and expecting so much of them that they surely will crumble under the pressure. Whatever the cause of the multiplicity, plurals are people as well (or a number of us are, some are otherkin, which we will come to in time). There are various accepted forms of treatment for individuals who are considered to have MPD/DID and some of these are worth looking at whatever you believe the cause for your collective is. Not all of these treatments even involve aiming for integration (a common psychiatric goal) and can be beneficial. There is nothing wrong with you collective needing a helping boost if things are difficult, and there is nothing wrong with reaching for professional help for that. One major warning though, is to avoid being slapped with the MPD/DID diagnosis, because it can track you, and make it difficult for you to learn to drive, as well as interfering with job applications. The vast majority of laymen hold a specific view of multiplicity, sadly one that is detrimental to us. It is far easier to get the diagnosis of MPD/DID than it is to lose it, and whilst seeking help is good, the diagnosis often is not. The way our collective got around this is that we chose instead to see the college counsellor, who is not tied to local mental health services. Due to that, we could get the help that we needed without becoming entangled in the professionals, who might have made things worse rather than better.
One form of therapy for MPD/DID is that which Azusa spoke about in the introduction. That is the ongoing form of therapy where the memories you encounter become worse and worse, less and less believable, new “alters” are encountered whenever you consider quitting, and you just feel like you are constantly getting worse. That is not healthy; you have become dependant on the therapist. Another is inpatient treatment in a dissociative disorders unit. This is not good either, especially for those who have genuine MPD/DID, because it entails putting a group of seriously unwell people together, and allows hysteria to develop, and often tales of satanic ritual abuse as well. These are both forms of therapy to steer clear of, because they WON’T be good for you. However, despite these dire warnings, it is also important to recall that therapy is often needed for a collective to survive. Some multiples have been through some difficult stuff, and any help they can get is needed. This is NOT designed to put people who are multiple off getting any professional help by any means, it is simply designed to help them choose what will really help them, and what will only make things worse for them.
Occupational therapy is often used to good effect, because the focus is less likely to be wholly on what you are saying, and the OT can work with younger people in your group as well as older ones, a massive benefit for some groups where the younger ones need the space to talk. A decent OT can also make varied forms of therapy available to the group as well, so some people can work on life skills, others can talk, and others can play. Often simple counselling is also good, because the counsellor can take care to keep the emphasis off the past. Our collective has a very rough past, and with the counsellor, we are working on “family therapy” type work, to keep the collective functional, and on issues that come up and bother us in the present day, instead of keeping all our focus on the past, as detrimental as that can be.
Inpatient help can also sometimes be needed, and there is no shame in that. We have spent time in inpatient psychiatric care, and when we need that, we need it, and there is no way of avoiding it. If your collective is unable to keep itself safe and functional, it might need this level of support, or if there are people in your group- “dark ones”, it can be useful to keep the body you share physically safe for some time. One of the benefits of becoming involved with high-level psychiatric care is that it offers decent specialists, and there are those trained in post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, and other treatments that might be useful as well. Sometimes it takes a real crisis for anyone to come to the awareness of psychiatric professionals, and if that’s needed then it is worth having.
The type of support that has helped our collective most is that found online. There are countless multiple systems in the depths of the internet, and we run a thriving web-board and chatroom for people who are multiple or plural in any way. The addresses are at the end of this book. We also have our own site which links to many others. There are a lot of personal websites owned by multiples scattered across the internet, alongside chatrooms, mailing lists etcetera, and these can be a valuable resource for the multiple group. It was one multiple group (who prefer to remain anonymous) that showed our main fronter that we were a collective, it was another multiple group (Astraea) that showed us via their website that there was nothing wrong with being multiple, and that it wasn’t an illness unless we let it be. A lot of people are prepared to easily discount the support available online, and it is obvious why, because not everybody is ever who they say they are, and caution is always needed, but it is important to remember that for all the people that are liars, there are also people like you or us who are genuine friendly supportive people, and that a lot of help can be accessed through the web. We have at the end of this book, a list of people and groups that have been of use to us, and that have supported us, whether through direct speech or through us reading their sites, and we invite you to add to it, and find a support base of your own that you can rely on to be there. There is no shame in needing help, ever. There are a lot of cases of multiples becoming dependent on their therapists, or on being in therapy, and this is found both in real life and on online communities. We will start with a focus on how this happens in online communities because that’s where our experience lies primarily. It is best illustrated in this short story by Em`Edged of Pagmies Collective
The life and death of the multiples forum.
The forum started out young and enthusiastic, run by a stable balanced system who wished to share that with others. Soon it got indexed on google, and grew from there, as people joined. It had its share of inactive members, doesn’t everyone, but the atmosphere was vibrant, and the focus was firmly on health. This was kept by the system that owned it, and the few systems that administrated it. The problem with them all being healthy was, of course, that they had other lives. Over time, they drifted away, busy with Real Life friendships, relationships and jobs, and soon there were only a few of the more disillusioned and more unwell administrators remaining active. Meanwhile, the board got older, and kept a core of active collectives. As so many joined each day, they would make a post about how difficult things were for them, this time it was a new “dark” alter, that time it was a horrible memory. They got far more attention for that than the core members ever did for posting about how well they were doing. Over time, a period of years in fact, the focus shifted, and these “ill” multiples grew. Eventually the only way that the originals, the core members, could even get noticed was to post the same thing. It started for them with the slight exaggeration of somebody new emerging, or a mild flashback becoming terrifying, but the attention and sympathy became exhilarating. Soon, whole new alters were being invented, just to get noticed, and as is the case, once an alter had been invented, if it was talked about enough, it became almost real to the people talking about it, and soon they became increasingly unstable, as the alter that they had invented to get just a little bit of attention became a key part of their collective. This got harder and harder for them, so they continued to post, but however bad the stuff this alter put them through, there was always someone who had been through worse, on the board. The atmosphere became more and more unhealthy, and less and less people came to it, because it was so draining and unbearable. Meanwhile, these core members lost the stability they had had, and became iller and iller, and it was a vicious circle. Eventually the owner came back to their happy healthy empowering community, and was shocked and horrified. In a fit of anger, they took the board and deleted it, rather than to let their precious community stagnate any further, and the regulars just moved elsewhere, maybe trying to gain some stability back, maybe not. Either way, the board had been a failure, people were wrecked by it, and it was dead.
This tale is a warning. This board I wrote about does not exist outside my imagination, but it has happened so many times, people place far too much importance on online friends, and far too little on their own lives.
That story, although fiction, is not unusual. This has happened with sexual abuse survivor boards, with eating disorder recovery boards, and with self-harm recovery boards, so why should it not happen to a multiples website as well?
This tale is very similar to what occurs in hospitals when a group of multiples are in the same dissociative unit together. They become focused on illness, theirs and each others, and become worse and worse, determined to get the attention of the staff, and outdo each other to become the illest. This happens in all kinds of psychiatric hospitals, including those that specialise in dissociative disorders, and it is something that it is important to always be aware of, and to beware of. It is easy enough to notice it happening to your collective, just analyse your reasons for saying, typing or doing something, what do you want from it, is it healthy to want that, and can you get it by asking directly, or not.
The other main type of dependence is becoming dependent on an individual therapist. Multiples in particular can be a gold-mine for a therapist, this primarily in America, and other countries where you pay the therapist for your treatment, rather than in countries with a National Health Service. A common view of multiples is that to be multiple you have to have been through trauma, and if you say that you haven’t, then you’re just denying it, or you’ve blocked it off. For this reason, a therapist might bill themselves as skilled, and keep drawing memories out of you and those in your group, and meanwhile ensure that you become less and less stable, and need to see them more and more… the cycle continues. One way of watching out for this is do you feel better or worse after the session? With therapy that is working, it is common enough to feel worse, because you’ve dug stuff up, but what about the next day? If the therapist is decent and really helping you, then you should be feeling back to normal the next day, whereas if they aren’t helping you are likely to continue feeling worse until you see them next. Despite this, it would be bad advice to suggest that you immediately cut off all contact with them, because that would likely make your collective feel more unstable than ever. Instead, we advise that you find a new therapist, one who will work with and genuinely help you, and start seeing them concurrently. When this starts to work out is time to stop seeing the old therapist so much, and slowly cut down on your sessions with them, withdraw from them, and get to the point where you can safely work with the new therapist as a group. Even with these dire tales and warnings, there are many benefits to having therapy as a collective, as long as it is well ordered, safe, and decent work. It is very important, as should be obvious, for the collective to all meet and decide whether they can trust the person that they are working with, and that is one of the main reasons we all still work primarily with the college counsellor, because we haven’t seen anyone else that as a group we feel able to work with and trust. There is no point whatsoever in some of you trying to work with somebody others hate, and often people have good instincts that should be listened to. It is slightly different when the case is more that a person in your collective is entirely unwilling to work at all, with anyone, and in that situation, then yes, it is worthwhile for the group to find someone that as many people as possible can agree on. Continuity in the therapy is very important, and it is something that people who are members of multiple collectives often don’t get. A list should be made, a timetable maybe, of how often your group sees the therapist, and who should get to see them when. This should be based on need and willingness to work, and although it can be changed in case of emergency, should be relatively stable, so as to create an environment in which everyone can work. This is something that our group has always been lacking, for various reasons, and something that we plan to work on changing.
A therapist who is going to work with multiples needs to be good with children (if there are children who will work with them) and also needs, interestingly, a good memory. This is because if a collective want to be seen as individuals, then an important part of that is a right to confidentiality for each of them. It can be very hard for therapists to consistently keep track of who they are speaking with, and as such whose confidentiality it is, but this is important. There should also be designated members in your collective who are who should be told if the therapist is seriously concerned. For our group, the designated people are Megan and Geoff, Megan for people in fractal and the older ones in edged, Geoff for prowlers and the younger ones in edged. This works out practically as them each having responsibility for six people (Megan has Quinn, Liss, Manda, Danny, Em and Amy, and Geoff has Han, Sal, Ren, Taen, Nord and Carn). This way individuals outside the collective need not be consulted necessarily, if it is believed that responsible individuals within the collective can handle a situation.
For a therapist to work with a multiple, especially if they do not typically work with multiples, can require a major paradigm shift, for instance they will suddenly have to wonder if the client leaving the office has any idea of the way home, if they know how to cross roads, if they even know where they live! This and many other so called “minor” things become increasingly important. Therapy has a lot of benefits though, if it is done well. These include helping people in your collective over past issues or traumas, helping people to trust somebody outside the collective, helping with “family therapy” style issues and work in getting the group to work together, providing the adults with a listening ear, the young adults with a mentor, the teenagers with a boundary-setter and the children with a playmate. As such, their role is highly varied, and can mean a lot to the multiple, even in a healthy way. There are often people within collectives in need of some work on life-skills and other such work, and a therapist can do that.
Therapy has a lot of benefits though, if it is done well. These include helping people in your collective over past issues or traumas, helping people to trust somebody outside the collective, helping with “family therapy” style issues and work in getting the group to work together, providing the adults with a listening ear, the young adults with a mentor, the teenagers with a boundary-setter and the children with a playmate. As such, their role is highly varied, and can mean a lot to the multiple, even in a healthy way. There are often people within collectives in need of some work on life-skills and other such work, and a therapist can do that.
Our own collective has improved and gained stability greatly since we started seeing a counsellor. When we began, we had one main fronter, and were unstable and generally awkward, and now we are able to seem stable and safe. Note the word “seem”, therapy doesn’t work magic, but it does help a lot. There is a stigma it seems in the healthy multiplicity community against the idea of therapy, but if it enables you to present a healthy balanced image to the world instead of an unstable, unbalanced one, then surely it is worth it. It is pointless to give up or refuse therapy because of the way you believe people would respond, either you need it or you don’t.
Therapy can be expensive, and if it isn’t needed, then it isn’t something that one should go for, but if it is necessary then avoiding it is by far the greater ill, especially when avoidance of issues can make problems get worse and worse, instead of allowing abreak for improvement. It is however important to always be assessing your therapy and judging whether it is what you need at a given time, and whether you are more dependent on it than you can safely be. Nobody is perfect or invulnerable, and that includes therapists.
When looking for a therapist, take a list of questions that matter to your collective, and get them answered before you consider starting with the therapist. Don’t just go for the first one you meet, but wait until your group “clicks” with somebody, and they can answer your questions satisfactorily. One way of finding a good therapist is to ask people you know to have seen one, singlet or multiple what their therapist is like, and judge from that whether you want that person as your therapist. Remember, nothing beats your own sense of judgement though, and if you don’t trust somebody, there is probably a good reason for that.
It is important to learn how to be healthy as well. If you have spent your life immersed in being ill and different, it can be difficult to learn how to be healthy. Here is something that Nameless`Fractal`Pagmies wrote about institutionalisation:
I’ve spent a lot of my life in psychiatric care, and that has had an effect on me. If you get up at the same time every day, and go through a routine where you have no choices, no decisions and few rights, you learn not to want or even need them. Where everything is provided for you, you find it easy to learn to vegetate, to leave yourself behind, and become what they say to you, what they tell you, what they want you to be. That becomes pleasant; you grow to want it, to like the attention that you get from being unwell, and it becomes easier to be sick, because then you remain in the same safe patterns, you’re not trying to test anything new, you’re just following in the same steps you always were. Despite this almost-conscious wish not to leave the place where you have no responsibilities, you end up doing just that, leaving. You are officially better, and it is time for you to get out of the sameness, and move into the real world. You throw yourself into it, minimising any kind of responsibilities, trying to keep it all the same as it was when you were in hospital but that isn’t possible any longer, and despite it being difficult, you eventually learn to be who you need to be, you become responsible, an adult, and you blend and merge into the real world, just like everyone else. This is the bit where you think you’re better, where you think you’re normal and recovered and sane, and where your life carries on in those patterns. After some time, you end up going away to some kind of event, it doesn’t really matter what event it is, a residential conference maybe. You’re getting up at a fixed time, and all your meals are being provided for you. You don’t need to choose what you do with your time, and you end up with no responsibilities. Before you know it, you end up back where you were, back to being unable to be self-reliant, back to being institutionalised, and if you’re not careful, back to being insane. This is what happens, and each time being institutionalised takes a little bit longer, so by that token you’re a little bit weller, but it still happens, mainly because it always has, and it always will. Once you’ve been institutionalised, you’re never the same person again, and however much you want to change, you can’t. These things are soul destroying, life destroying, and eventually you end up no more or less of a shell than the body you inhabit. Hospital kills you. It takes your psyche to pieces and it destroys you, because that’s how it works. Learning to be well is what happens after, it’s about putting the bits of you back together long after you thought you had. It’s about knowing yourself, and I certainly don’t know myself. Things are not always this extreme before you need to learn to get well, but they can be, they get like this, even if they don’t remain like it. For some people, learning to be well takes nothing, or very little, and for others it takes a lot. For those people with MPD/DID who have been abused, it can take a lot. It is very easy to be in mindsets where you think that you deserve it, where once you have been abused once, it becomes a pattern for your life, and you use it to judge who you are. We were abused, and for some of us the mindset is still there that only abuse equals real love, and that everyone will go away. Learning to be healthy involves breaking these mindsets, and discovering yourself amidst the debris that is left. It means you need to take yourself back to the essentials and build from there, discovering slowly and painstakingly who you are without this. And this can be soul-destroying in itself, we don’t deny that, but here being multiple becomes an advantage, because instead of having to fit that around daily life, you can (sometimes) be able to leave fronting completely for however long it takes to work out who you are and to find yourself, assuming that once you were lost from yourself.
You do not have to have been abused to need to learn to be healthy, but in some ways the methods remain the same, taking everything that is a part of you that keeps you damaged, keeps you in the MPD/DID stereotypes, unable to envisage a you that is beyond that, you need to do the same, taking yourself apart to find out what you really need.
We do that by clearing our main living space of everything that is a non-essential, removing our internet access, and living off home-prepared soups, and fruit and fruit juice. We do this to go back to the basics, go back to our roots. Slowly, we return to normal, stronger and refreshed for the time we have spent alone with ourselves. There is a lot to take in, sometimes, and being multiple can mean that you get no peace with yourself, but even when you get that peace, it can still be not enough. Sometimes that peace isn’t real, that also exists, and sometimes being healthy means not having that peace, because what is healthy if not functional, but you need a place which is the peace to return to, you need somewhere where you can be yourselves, whatever that means.
This isn’t solely for multiples, this is for everyone, but here it is about learning not to have DID/MPD but to be a normal, healthy person, living in normal ways. (Whatever being normal really is, anyway).
Being diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder immediately burdens you with stereotypes that it is somehow your job to break. This happens to some extent with anyone, but more so to those with the diagnosis of that disorder, because this carries stigma of its own.
Here is a request from a natural multiple to people with MPD/DID:
When you’re saying what you have, if it is a disorder, or causes you disordered living, then please say that, we’re not asking you to lie to us, when that would do nobody any good. If it isn’t a disorder though, then for christs sakes say that, don’t tar it with one brush because it’s easier!
Please do your research, and know what you’re talking about when you talk, don’t just read a site about disorders, but look at Amorpha, or Pagmies, or Astraea, and decide which of them is you.
Please explain, or even mention natural multiplicity, it makes things so much easier for us if you do, it doesn’t take you long, but it makes such a difference
Get your words right, and your names for conditions as well, if you can be bothered, just… please
Remember that we exist as well, and your calling your multiplicity a disorder doesn’t benefit us, remember that there is healthy multiplicity as well, that there is the option not to be unwell, and when you’re talking, for crying out loud, use that! We are people as well, us of the different ways, and we want recognition for the way we live too, so just do that to help us, and maybe you’ll find that you’re helping yourselves as well, just maybe.
Is somebody in your system a mad axe murderer? Or is somebody suicidal? Insane? Dangerous? If so then yes, maybe it is a disorder, but psychiatric professionals tend to diagnose people presenting as multiple in whatever way the same, and maybe you’re not, maybe you’re a functional collective. If you are, then rejecting the label might be good for you, because it might keep you that bit less stuck. Labels are adhesive, and it is very easy to change yourself to fit the label, when maybe what you need is to change the label to fit who you are. In ways, we are beyond labels, us of the collected origins, we are multiple, and mid-continuum, and trauma based, and natural, and we have been disordered, although we aren’t now, and when we tell someone, we try and trace all that to them, because it matters that we are honest. Being all those things is difficult, we are neither one group nor another, but both, we are children of one, and of many.
When you explain your being MPD/DID to people, maybe explain it as a blessing, as a good thing, and as a part of who you are, not just as a disorder that destroys your life. Maybe introduce friends to some of your headmates, friends who know about it, because then they might change their perceptions, and friendships built can be a lot stronger when you are friends with all a persons headmates, not just one.
Stereotyping is common in the psychiatric and medical professions, and you might be branded a liar or an attention seeker for having the diagnosis, and it can be hard to accept that people might think that of you, without changing who you are, but it’s all part of this breaking down of what people think multiples are.
Maybe lend people this book, we mean, after all, if you’re reading it, you must be considering empowerment as a possible way to go, mustn’t you, and maybe the book will help with that, maybe it’ll show people the other side of multiplicity. Or maybe you’ll be branded a crackpot, yes, but isn’t it worth it?
Our parents, our family, and a lot of our friends are unaware that we are multiple. Why? Because of peoples reactions. We were abused, and they will take that as the cause, and drag us from psychiatrist to psychiatrist, getting us the diagnosis, after all, there’s no other way of being multiple, right?
You never read about normal healthy multiples because the fact is, we’re boring, we live boringly normal lives, why would people be interested?
Also think, do you want to be branded with the stereotypes that there are? Do you want to be branded insane, and people to take everything that they believe about you from “Sybil”? We’re guessing not. Sometimes, even if you see your group as MPD based, it might help you to be open about other origins of multiplicity, who knows, someday they might fit you. We thought for a long while that we had MPD/DID and were disordered, and we thought that was all there was, it was only when we read Astraea’s site that we realised we weren’t, the timescales didn’t fit, and that there was more to multiplicity than a disorder. Now a system we are friends with, who have always been firmly planted in the DID pen are beginning to rethink, even as they undergo intensive therapy, that there might be something beyond that, and they might be able to be healthy. You don’t have to integrate to be healthy, there is very little you have to do, except take responsibility for yourself. In a sense, breaking these stereotypes simply involves becoming what you always were meant to be, and taking responsibility for your own life, rather than passing it off, as is so easy to do, but gains nothing for being done. We ask very little of you for this, just that you remember that there is a world of multiplicity beyond the stereotypes, beyond the disorder, and that you stay open to that, just as we stay open to your world. We will let you be, in your disordered world if you wish, but when you want to step out of that, we will be here.

Pagmies Collective
Amorpha???
DSM-IV
Kai’enne Tymerik
Two Courts
Astraea
Jones Household
http://plurality.nightshadecreations.com
#plurality on irc.synirc.net
http://pagmies.meeble.net
Astraea
Kaimialana
Curiosity of Nanowrimo

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