lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
[personal profile] lb_lee
Being certified DID is WEIRD.

I was brought up in the "healthy multiplicity" community online, which basically argues that being multiple is not necessarily a mental illness. Which was a godsend to us when we were young and had "only" undergone the Raping Year--by DID trauma terms, that's nothing. We didn't feel traumatized enough for DID, and our memory seemed pretty contiguous, and "healthy multiplicity" gave us an alternative, allowing us to identify ourselves as multi without the huge therapeutic baggage associated with it.

A lot of our early comics and zines reflect this, FTMPD in particular. Within our tiny subculture, we became decently known for our viewpoint on multiplicity, on being an "example." God help me, there were people who saw us as someone worthy of looking up to.

And then the Bad Years happened.

Now we're certified DID, our memory has been exposed as not nearly as contiguous as we thought it was, and I'm no longer healthy. I don't know if I ever will be again. Sneak finally started counting and paying respects to our dead, and suddenly, we realized that no, our multi was EXACTLY like that shit in the books and manuals. We're no longer that healthy multiple that kids look up to, the one with the good job and a respectable life. We're disabled. And I am working at not being ashamed at that, because you know, sometimes that happens, but sometimes I'm still so ANGRY about it.

First, there's the personal side. I used to be PROUD of being multi. That's what our icon says, doesn't it? "Queer, trans, multi, proud!" But now that I've been through the Bad Years, and now that I know what my brain is willing to do to me in the interests of survival, I can't be proud of it. My brain is totally okay with editing my memory and free will if it keeps us alive, and apparently I'm more durable than other people here. Which means if the Bad Years come again, I will be the one charged to endure it, because I'm the most likely NOT to die.

Not a very comforting thought, is it?

And then there's the political side, which shouldn't have such a sway over me, but does. For years, I argued for healthy multiplicity, for multiplicity as a point of pride. How can I do that when I can't be proud of my own multiplicity, when I'm not healthy? When I may NEVER be healthy, and when pursuing that ideal of health might cause us major damage?

Although I still write, and make educational comics, and do plenty of things, I still feel like I've lost a chunk of what gave my life direction, and it gets me pretty angry. I no longer feel like I can be a part of the healthy multiplicity community, but I've spent too much time in it to be comfortable with the DID community. There's a lot of baggage with DID that I'm still not a big fan of, and I don't like a lot of the little tin gods that helped form a lot of the popular concepts of multiplicity. I am very critical about it and the mental health system in a lot of ways.

So basically, I've been at a crossroads for a while, and it's been really honking me off. I'm still not quite sure what to do with it.

At least I'm in a good enough condition to HAVE these kinds of problems again. At least my brain's allowing me to even be cognizant of them. There's that to be proud of, at least.


Date: 2014-04-21 06:31 am (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
ach. I don't think I can say anything particularly helpful - I wish I could. Empathy.

I just read FTMPD. Whew!

(tech note: "Click the page to go to the next one" doesn't work on FTMPD: Pg. 3-4 (, which links to itself. Also, the title that displays in the browser is "FTMPD: Pg. 5-6".)

Date: 2014-04-21 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Son of a bitch, I thought I fixed that. *goes to repair* Thanks for letting me know! Due to the crappy site repair, it'll probably take half the day to show up, but it should be fixed.

And it's okay. Some things, I feel, can only be fixed with time, introspection, and growth.


Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-21 08:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(Sorry if this sounds weird or disjointed. I'm still groggy from a migraine and chugging some seroquel so I could sleep)

I never liked the term "healthy multiplicity", mostly because of the "healthy" part. I'll come right out and say that those of us with mental illnesses will never be "healthy" for as long as we're suffering from them, at least not by normal people standards. What we can manage is functioning. We can be healthy in our own parameters.

There's no such thing as "healthy bipolar". Bipolar is an illness, and that's that. It needs to be managed and, in most cases, medicated. But that doesn't mean that I have to hate every little thing about it. I don't. I have a perspecitve on the world that neurotypicals don't get, and there are arguments to be made that people like me enrich society. I'm pretty sure that the same thing goes for people with DID. And the good thing is, that perspective doesn't go away because I'm medicated and (for the most part) functioning.

IDK about how things roll in the healthy multi community, but do you really have to be perfect to be part of it? Do you have to achieve the same things a non-multi does to get your healthy multi badge? Because tbh I think that's just setting yourself up for failure. Besides, most normal people don't achieve this whole good job, always happy, dreamboat perfect life either. And then break down because of it, because our society is sick and twisted and puts people under unrealistic pressure.

I think you can be proud of yourself, and your brain. You're still here. Yeah, that's an achievement badge for lots of crazy people, and I refuse to hand that back just because staying alive is easy for the mentally healthy. They haven't been through the same shit I have. They haven't had their thoughts twisted until death seems like the only viable option to get out of hell.

So your brain has done some shifty things to keep you alive. IMHO, that's a good thing. Don't hate on yourself for that. The alternative is being dead. Better alive and without some memories and the occasional lapse of free will than dead.

I think it's a good thing that you can no longer see yourself as a role model or the poster child for healthy multiplicity, because that's some pretty high standards to hold yourself to. You're a person, not an ideal. And you can still advocate for being healthy while managing your DID. You can still point out the good things about being DID, like having a family right there in your head.

Also, you're totally entitled to change your POV on things, and fuck whoever thinks you're a class traitor for doing so. IMO, changing your POV now and then is a good thing. Only politicians and fanatics hold on to a certain POV even when presented with evidence to the contrary.

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-21 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Personally, I do believe my own bipolar is healthy. I see it from a radical mental health and neurodiversity perspective, for sure.

But that certainly doesn't mean EVERY bipolar has to see it this way. And it isn't always healthy...but sometimes it is.

I respect your perspective, but just pointing out that it isn't true for every bipolar.

My radical mental health/neurodiversity blog:

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-21 02:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Question: do you do anything to manage it? Even out your moods? Are you on meds, in therapy?

Edit: I'm asking because for something to be defined as "healthy", that would mean you don't do anything against it. Like, hm, if you had diabetes, but didn't adapt your lifestyle or take insulin.
Edited Date: 2014-04-21 02:56 pm (UTC)


Date: 2014-04-21 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
...that's not what it means at all.

Yes, I take care of myself, like...most people, bipolar or no. But it's not AGAINST my bipolar... I do all those things to make the best USE of my bipolar.

To compare bipolar to diabetes is total bs. One is an illness. Another, in my case, is just an identity, one I happen to be really damn proud of.
Edited Date: 2014-04-21 03:26 pm (UTC)

Re: ,

Date: 2014-04-21 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I guess that's where we part ways. My bipolar has driven me to the edge of suicide more than once. It's been the force behind my self-harm issues, it's made my anxiety and self-hatred worse and cost me more than one friendship.

So yes, to me, this is an illness, as it is to thousands of others.

Ending this discussion here. Sorry @LB.

Re: ,

Date: 2014-04-21 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ok certainly...really sorry if I triggered you. I admit I was a bit triggered myself, which in anonymous web spaces, can sometimes lead to awkward and rude impulse posts. x.x But I'm definitely working on it. Best of luck to you with your healing. I can relate to your experiences a lot actually...I just blame it on different things personally (more on traumatic external situations than my brain chemicals, but either way is really ok...I don't judge people for having different perspectives than I do).

Yeah, sorry for the derail, LB. Although, it's not like you and I haven't discussed radical mental health together a bajillion times before. ;-)
Edited Date: 2014-04-21 04:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-21 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I believe everyone is healthy or unhealthy within their own parameters. We have BPD, well the core has it but because we share everything we all have it to varying degrees. People function differently based on their own set of circumstances and most people are not forthright with their personal issues, so what people see and the messages we get from society doesn't always reflect what is actually going on. Society likes to paint a pretty, easy (if you follow the rules) portrait of life and how one should live it/deal with things, but it's basically a grand illusion because everyone struggles with one thing or another and we all deal with things differently.

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-21 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You've given me food for thought, and I think part of what causes me such aggravation is that my crazy is not an "illness" in the way many people think of it. Honestly (you're a geek, so I can use this metaphor), I feel like it's more comparable to Deadpool ('s powerset, overcompensating for damage so aggressively that it goes wrong.

Unlike many mentally ill people, my brain isn't trying to kill me. It's trying to keep us alive and functional at all costs, and it follows a completely different ethical code than I do. It probably never would've gotten this bad if shit had just stopped with the Raping Year, but as it is... I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm appreciative of my continued existence, but I'm not exactly thrilled about the method.


Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-22 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah exactly... My brain isn't trying to kill me either. When I feel suicidal, my brain is all like "NOOOO!" ;-)

My brain saves me from society.

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-22 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, while my brain saves me from itself. It's pretty much like one of those evil masterminds you see in cartoons, only everything it manipulates is internal.

And so far it's been (mostly) to our benefit.


Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2014-04-23 10:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sounds like my anxiety and "general mishmash of shit related to prolonged abuse".

My therapist explained it in a very good way: all of those behavior patterns I (used to) have were useful when they first got ingrained into my personality. They were what kept me from getting hurt even more, so I shouldn't hate them or see them as maladaptive, because they're not. What they are, though, is obsolete and an obstacle to me being happy NOW. Thus, they need to be put to rest. So I learned how to unlearn them, and replace them with healthier methods of coping with adversary.

Which sounds like something you could benefit from. Shit is never going to stop happening - shit is part of human existance, and the stars will never align in such a way that there will be no more pain in your life - but you can develop new methods of dealing with it. Methods that don't involve taking a machete to your brain.

Date: 2014-04-21 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I understand your anger, I can empathize with that. And you have every right to feel the way you do about this. Identity and belief shifts are often really confusing and frustrating.

But I also don't think you HAVE to only be part of one community, or even any at all.

Like, I draw some influences form radical mental health and Icarus, some from neurodiversity and ASAN, some from Paganism, and some from mainstream Western psychiatry/psychology. These are all very different influences, but in my own head, I've found a way for them all to make sense simultaneously. Sure, I'm not exactly the same as anyone else in any of these communities. But that's ok. Most people I've found, actually, do draw influence from a variety of different experiences in life, rather than fitting perfectly into a single group or movement.

I'm glad you're being honest about this. First of all, considering your history and position within the healthy multiplicity community, that's very brave of you. And I also think, from personal experience, as difficult as it may be right now, that processing all this will ultimately bring you some semblance of clarity (even if what you ultimately decide upon is nothing like where you started. That's ok, too...really.)

Personally, if you've read anything of my soulbonding and plurality filter here on LJ (which...I'm honestly not sure if you have or not?), you'd know that I have my own history of multiplicity as well that is somewhere in between "headmates/soulbonding" and "textbook DID". You'd also know that in my case, it was DEFINITELY trauma-based... in fact, my headmates only ever really show up at all when I'm actively being traumatized at that very moment. x.x I know this is obviously not the case for you, as you're always multiple, or other systems we know. But I just wanted to point out that you're not the ONLY one who simultaneously believes that multiplicity CAN be healthy, and that it isn't necessarily ALWAYS so. For me, it's a warning sign... one I must listen to and learn from, and if I do these things it will ultimately help me grow and prevent such trauma (to the best of my ability) in the future, but a warning sign nonetheless.

In fact... we seem to be on the same wavelength yet again, as I was just about to post an entry to ye olde multiplicity filter for the first time in like a year or so. Stay tuned! ;-)
Edited Date: 2014-04-21 03:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-21 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmmm, if you haven't posted anything on it in a year, I'm really not sure if I have or not. I knew ABOUT it a little, from what you've told me in person, but I'm not sure I remember anything about it online.

Obviously I can read your mind. MAGICAL MULTI.


Date: 2014-04-22 01:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-21 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't have much to contribute, but thank you for sharing. The comic in particular gave me a lot to think about. I have to admit I was surprised at some of what I learned because it's so far outside my frame of reference, but that makes it all the more valuable for me. Obviously this isn't about me, but I thought maybe it would help that you're helping to educate people like me who know very little outside the neurotypical mainstream.

Date: 2014-04-21 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No problem! Feel free to check out our other comics (; we've done a good few of them for the specific purpose of education.


Date: 2014-04-24 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I went and read them all, and they are awesome! (One of the links is broken though, the one about the other systems across the world.) I feel a little bit smarter with this new info, lol. More importantly, I think I have a better chance of avoiding being accidentally horrible.

I don't know if you care for the comparison, but the thought of multiple identities stopped being weird to me when I liken it no body integrity identity disorder. It's just one of many ways subjective reality doesn't match the physical reality of the body. Society calls it a disorder because it's easier in many ways if subjective and physical realities match, but if the subjective reality is workable and healthy enough, and hurts no one, I don't see what's wrong with it. Far better to prioritize conditions that are actively destructive rather than stigmatize psychological structures that the "sufferer" is cool with.

Date: 2014-04-21 07:03 pm (UTC)
dreamwriteremmy: treetops & sky, text reads "Dreamers United" (Dreamers United)
From: [personal profile] dreamwriteremmy
Eh. We feel that you're still a good name to follow even if you aren't strictly the traditional healthy/functional/natural plurality model anymore.

We're of the opinion that diagnosis and struggling isn't mutually exclusive to the healthy/natural/functional community either, even though the older crowd did kind of see it that way.

I'm not particularly fond of the use of healthy in that way either. We get that yeah, recovery is possible, but recovery in general doesn't exclude still having massive setbacks with the exact right triggers (got that reinforced for ourselves collectively last week).

Recovery model/"healthy"/"functional"/radical psychology/ex-patient/neurodiversity models sometimes seems a little like misnomers to us, even if the viewpoint is quite helpful.

We got into the old healthy plurality model a lot later than most systems, so we're more new-wave plural, which seems to be more in line with recovery psychology and doesn't seem to exclude the possibility of diagnosis or functioning deficits.

I generally tend to figure, if our collective understanding is that 70% functioning is perfect enough, then if I'm functioning somewhere around 10% (which is common for me at least when i'm around), then i'm at least going somewhere; maybe it's kind-of crap compared to that collective ideal 70% but i'm still here and that's progress enough for me.

- Nico, on behalf of Dreamers with a couple other folks inputting past-data into this reply

Date: 2014-04-21 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, and as I'm getting more into disability activism and such, that's becoming really clear to me. As far as identity changes go, this one isn't that extreme, but it's still rather infuriating.

I guess I'm trying to balance the neurodiversity model with my own deficits and setbacks. It's a complicated, frustrating little thing.


Date: 2014-04-21 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's difficult to feel healthy in a society that determines "health" and "success" based on one's career, monetary worth, relationship status and to a large degree looks - all things that can and do change over the course of a lifetime. Also there is no room for being multi and healthy/successful in mainstream (non-multi) society hence it's difficult to feel good about yourself and your system and to have pride. What society views as respectable is something I do not agree with, but for a long time A has felt the way you do. Through therapy and just us working on those issues she is feeling a bit better about herself and about our system. I personally don't get into all the labels in the multi community, so DID/MPD/pluralism/ whatever doesn't carry a lot of weight with me. I think in any community that is outside of non-*insert whatever label* mainstream society people get too caught up in labels and placing themselves in nice little neat boxes, we were never a fan of this. You can be a success and have a respectable life even on disability, if you need help at this time, you need help there is nothing to be ashamed of, again people throughout their lifetimes will need help at one point or another - it's not as cut and dry as society would lead you to believe. Showing a weakness or needing/asking for help is a part of life. If you like you can PM me, I have been working with our therapist and with A on the same issues you mentioned in this post.

Date: 2014-04-21 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I'm working on it, just workaholism dies hard, and part of me is still furious that I can't do the things I used to, even if really, I should just be glad I'm still not dead.

I'm trying to use disability as a springboard to do the projects I've always wanted to, it's just aaaaaaargh.

(PS: Sneak is ready to take on your commission now! You should send us a PM with a brief description of all the system members you want covered by your logo; I know about you and A, but hasn't there been at least one or two other folks floating in and out?)


Date: 2014-04-22 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I want to clarify something about what we think a "healthy multiple" is.

Being healthy in this sense is not about whether you have memory continuity or a job. Or whether you are or are not in therapy or on medication. It is not about how you got to be multiple. Plenty of trauma-split groups are doing well, look at Truddi Chase&. It's not about never having problems or troubles in life; it's about what you do about them when you have them.

Healthy multiplicity is about choices. Your choices will not be the same as the next group's yet both of you may be "healthy multiples". If you have issues (abuse-related or not) for which you need to be in therapy, then it's healthy for you to be in it.

We've been in counseling off and on for several years, first with a counselor we didn't disclose to and now with a professional who knows about us. We actually asked the late Lynn Wasnak for the names of ones in our area who would be understanding that this is how we are, and wouldn't go all "omg u must integraet ~~~1". Our choice to do this was healthy given our circumstances. But we have had to accept that we have probably been diagnosed with DID just because they have to put something on the record, even though we have no insurance. That's what it is officially, which is why we continue to work for change.

As a group you seem to us to be quite mature and self-aware (I don't mean aware of the others, I mean in terms of insight and self-understanding). You've been in some tough spots, but you've also come out of them. You're in contact with reality. You have plans for the future, you have an occupation, you're artists who have created (among other things) stories exploring and explaining yourselves to yourselves and others. I think you guys are someones who set a good example.

Date: 2014-04-22 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I agree with this :-)

Date: 2014-04-22 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oookay, sorry for the out of the blue comment from someone you've never actually talked to, haha. I actually pay attention to your tumblr and your writeathons here without actually watching/friending/whatever anywhere because then you might notice me. I'm THAT socially awkward. I'm still not even using my actual livejournal account so people can't click on me. Yeaaaahhh.

But as someone who discovered the whole multi thing through you guys (and thus finally stopped shoving out and trying to kill off my headmates because they were crazy ~delusions~, so thanks for that), I just want to tell you that I think you're STILL someone to look up to. Seriously.

I don't mean to sound really dismissive of serious concerns and health issues, but in general, hardly ANYONE meets the standard of "perfect productive and healthy human" that you seem like you're still trying to hold yourself to. I don't have a single friend that doesn't have severe depression or anxiety disorders or bipolar or eating disorders or whatever else, often more than one of those at once. Even people that look "perfect" often have things going on in the background or at home that they just don't let other people see because it would ruin their ~healthy~ image.

I don't know more about your current situation than whatever you've said publicly (because, again, super awkward), but it seems to me that ANYONE would have had a breakdown under those circumstances. That your brain picked the multi stuff to cope and stay alive doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad or a disease in itself, just that that's what ended up being how you got through it. Does that mean it was fun and happy sparkly sunshine? Nope, doesn't sound like it. But everyone has breakdowns and copes in different ways, and I don't think this being what ended up happening makes you a ~bad multi~ or something. I mean, maybe tmi, but when I get extremely stressed or upset I literally start beating myself up to get it out, and at least it stops me from yelling or hitting anyone else. That doesn't mean it's good, but because it doesn't involve the multi stuff I'm probably still considered ~healthy~. How much sense does that make?

Honestly, to pull back a little from the big issue, "disabled under extremely stressful circumstances" is a pretty common experience. No one should force you to feel like you have to be PROUD of it, but I hope you can avoid feeling ashamed. It happens, and it's okay.

I feel like the "healthy" multiplicity label is way too much pressure. It seems to me like the main point should be that this is a thing that happens to some people which doesn't necessarily need to be "cured" back into being one person, not that multi people need to be perfect examples of health or never ever need help with it or else they're a terrible bad example and not like ~the rest of us~, we're soooo healthy and thus more socially acceptable~~.

I guess the entire point is that I want to reassure you that some anonymous creeper here still looks up to you guys. You've made it through a lot, and I don't think survival, however painful it was, made you into a bad example that can never be proud again. You made it, and that's something to be proud of.

Date: 2014-04-22 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sneak/Miranda: Aw, sweet anon, you can unanon if you like! We no bite!

Rogan: You make some valid points. And yeah, I'm kinda worn out from the effort of being socially acceptable, I really don't have much intention of going back into that morass.
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