lb_lee: (serious thought)
[personal profile] lb_lee
Okay, so not long ago, I was contacted by an online reporter wanting to interview me about Andy Blake, the infamous abuser who ran multiple fandom cults around himself (and likely still is). The idea was that we were a somewhat removed party who could give info about DID/multi.

I am posting the information I gave publicly. I think Andy Blake is an abuser. Not was, is. His mental health, his supposed multiplicity, his IDENTITY, none of that affects his actions. I do not want anyone to think otherwise. However, because it's his identity we were asked to weigh in on: I do not believe Andy Blake is multiple. And even if he were, he'd just be an abusive multiple, no improvement.

A couple people have drawn parallels between Andy and ourself. We have both claimed to be multiple, we both have trans singlet presentations (though Andy likes to avoid admitting it), we have both claimed to have fictive members... we are even fairly close to the same age. The difference being, we haven't abused dozens of people and are not interested in using multiplicity as an excuse for bad behavior.

I have debunked Andy Blake's claims of multiplicity before, in the two-part MST. Now I take on his more recent claims. Let's go.

First, I did some basic 101:

Being multiple comes in a lot of different flavors. DID is a very specific kind, requiring very specific criteria. Namely, you need to have more than one system member who take front at various times, you need to have amnesia for things you should remember, and that amnesia can not be caused by brain damage, drug use, etc. [one sentence cut about something the interviewer had read]

DID is caused by major, chronic trauma at a young age. For instance, we have been diagnosed DID, and came from a family with multigenerational incest going back at least forty years. [cut for personal examples]

There are other multiples who have never been traumatized, or don't believe the trauma is related to their being plural. They may have been multi since day one, or see it as a religious or creative experience, or something else entirely. They sometimes go by 'healthy' or 'natural' multiples, but Andy Blake is none of the above.

This is something I want to emphasize here. Andy Blake has NEVER claimed to be a healthy or natural multiple. If he was a healthy/natural multiple, he would have no mental illness to blame for his behavior, and he would have to take sole responsibility. Never gonna happen.

The interviewer then asked us what DID was like for us and to compare and contrast to Andy Blake's behavior.

Okay. For us, being multiple is like having roommates in your head, only you can never move out. There's constant internal chatter and maintaining a singlet facade is extremely taxing. There is no way to turn it off; we can't go shopping without a lot of internal debate about who gets what and for how much. A lot of our stability is based on us having our own internal support system, and integration would be disastrous. We have a system government, a set of rules, ways to keep everything going as well as possible. So yeah, like co-op housing.

Andy Blake has not ever described that. He has only ever focused on the most dramatic and lurid effects of his supposed system. He seems to have only used his "system members" to control and abuse others, and never describes the tedium of figuring out what clothes to buy, or food to eat, or an internal government. A system that disorganized wouldn't be ABLE to run a cult, because it takes SO MUCH ORGANIZING. You can't do that with a disorganized DID system's memory, unless you only have ONE fronter there all the time, which he specifically describes as NOT HAPPENING in the 2011 letter.
[Note: the letter is the one in the MST.]

If a system knows that they have dangerous members, it is a moral imperative to try and control their behavior. One system we met had everyone under orders to call a mental hospital the moment their dangerous member fronted. Ours has enough checks and balances that we would dogpile any system member at risk of violence. Even Billy Milligan, the infamous serial rapist, at least ATTEMPTED to control the rapist system member. That Andy didn't, even though he CLAIMED to know exactly what was going on the 2011, is heinous.

The idea of the poor innocent multi possessed by big bad alters is a story singlets are obsessed with, but it's just that: a STORY. It's not how systems run. I believe that if a system allows members to commit atrocities, then they are not 'nice' or 'good.' They are enablers, at best.

[Note: I specifically say 'allow' because that's what Andy describes in his 2011 letter. He describes being so miserable he dramatically gives in, never resisting or putting in failsafes. This is not the same as a system who tries to control abusive or violent members and at times fails.]

There is also the fact that Andy Blake changes his story CONSTANTLY. He admitted to lying about having BPD here. He claims that lie was a dissociative defense, but doesn't claim to have a dissociative disorder--the story you describe him telling was that he had delusions, which are not part of DID or DDNOS. He used to say here  that he had “severely paranoid delusional schizophrenic spectrum disorder” (I cited it here on July 24th, 2014.) That is not a diagnosis. It does not exist in the DSM. IT IS NOT REAL.

[Note: I was incorrect, he said he had “severely paranoid delusional SCHIZOID spectrum disorder.” My mistake. delwynmarch went into more detail on this here.]

[Note AGAIN: actually, my correction stands corrected; according to delwynmarch, it WAS "blah blah schizophrenic spectrum disorder," then Andy Blake CHANGED it to "blah blah schizoid spectrum disorder" a few days later after people pointed out it was redundant.  So I was right the first time and Andy lies even more than I thought.]

Furthermore, he is claiming to have alters at the same time. Alters are a feature of DID and DDNOS. There is literally NO OTHER DIAGNOSIS that encompasses that. It's why those diagnoses exist. It's another pop culture thing to correlate schizophrenia and DID, but they are TOTALLY UNRELATED CONDITIONS with totally different criteria.

The only way what he describes is possible is if he had schizophrenia and DID at the same time. Which is highly unlikely, far more so than him lying again.

[Note: Andy has claimed, in his old FAQ delwynmarch states, his 2011 letter, and here to have BPD, ADD, PTSD, DID, depression, paranoid schizophrenia, and the nonsense schizoid spectrum disorder.  Also note that you CAN have schizophrenia and DID at the same time; it's Andy Blake I doubt.]

Also both conditions are debilitating; together, there is no way he could've managed things like cons, GISHWES, a hugely active social life, and all the cult and abusive behavior.

The only thing that can be proved is that he lies a lot. It is not ableist to be wary when someone who has admitted to lying about his diagnoses in the past claims that no really, he IS telling the truth this time. There is no proof except his word, which constantly contradicts himself.

The next question was a bit confusing to me, as it was asking the difference between otherkin, fictives, factives, and DID. I did my best.

DID systems can have all of the above. Madison Clell (a now-integrated DID multi who made the Cuckoo comics) had a fairy system member. We have a couple fictives, though they don't like the term. The Troops for Truddi Chase (AKA the multi who did 'When Rabbit Howls') had a system member named Mean Joe Green who was based on the football player. So none of this is impossible.

[Note: My mistake. Truddi Chase's system member was named Mean Joe. Still based on the player though, far as I know.]

The only difference I figure is whether they're singlet or multi, which has to do with number, rather than identity labels. I've never had any problem believing that a system could have tons of hobbits. My problem is how Andy apparently never sought out any of the sites devoted to helping such multiples get their acts together; Dark Personalities and Astraeas Web existed in the late '90s and early '00s. (Plures lists some here ) Again, it reads as someone who isn't interested in recovering, but using it as an excuse.

The next question was whether there were ways to tell between Blake and a fictive, factive, or someone with DID. This was again a little confusing to me, since to me, fictives and factives are just MEMBERS of multiple systems, DID or not. Still, I gave it a go.

Honestly, I see the fictive/factive as a distraction. I know PLENTY fictives who never abused or hurt anyone, and a few factives. The majority of them go about their lives quietly, and they are no more likely to be dangerous or abusive than anyone else. (A lot of the ones I know even conceal who they are to avoid trolls.)

There is documented proof that Andy Blake ran cults and psychologically tortured the people who cared about him. He faked his own suicide multiple times, both online and off, has created fandom cults, and I've already proved he's lied about his mental health before. THAT is what I care about, not who or what he claims to have in his system.

If he WERE multiple, he'd be an abusive one and his behavior would still be unforgivable.

As a side note, I noticed you said he "believed he *was* channeling numerous hobbits, the spirit of Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, etc, receiving messages from them, and up to 80 other alters through September 2012, at which point he suddenly stopped because he started therapy." And I will tell you, THAT'S NOT POSSIBLE.

Alters are NOT delusions. Again, that's a pop cultural TROPE, but it's not reality. Even if you don't believe we are people, we are recurring patterns of behavior, who exist as coping mechanisms. You can't get rid of us by refusing to believe in us--we did that for seven years unsuccessfully. Returning to singlet-dom is INFAMOUSLY long and difficult in therapy, usually requiring at least five years. And Andy Blake claims he did it just by STARTING?

And if they WERE delusions, that sill doesn't make any sense. Delusions don't just DISAPPEAR when you start therapy. They're chronic struggles.

[Note: TL;DR there's no such thing as someone who is both an alter AND a delusion. It's impossible to have someone who is both real and not. This is more of Andy Blake conflating DID and schizophrenia.]

I honestly see no question over whether Blake is continuing his behavior. He's still involved in fandom. He still has DAYD up as his header bar on tumblr despite running a cult and abusing people through it. He's still lying. Every discussion about his behavior, he turns into a sob story about his own personal tragedy. I have never ONCE seen him claim responsibility, full stop, and his behavior does not reflect someone afraid of reoffending.

That was the first part. Then there was the second. And this was honestly the part I started getting angry. The interviewer described some of Andy Blake's reprehensible behavior: sending his suicide note to his parents to make them think he was dead. The interviewer also mentioned that she'd seen one our pages our mention that our "original girl" was dead. The interviewer drew a parallel between us and asked whether the suicide note would support Andy's claim of DID, because he believed his parents weren't really his.

No. His DID claims still make no sense. Most of us see the vessel's family as ours, even though our "original" girl is long dead, and even the members who don't would NEVER send a suicide note to our family! Would YOU send a suicide note to people you didn't know, except that they cared deeply about you? That's reprehensible! (And if you didn't have any ties at all, then why send a suicide note? I don't send suicide notes to random strangers! Even our system members who don't LIKE our family would never do such a thing! That's cruel!)

This was the part that made me angry. Our original girl, after suffering molestation for nine years, was finally raped to death. It was a brutal, soul-crushingly pointless way to die, and I don't like talking about it much because I was there for it. She does not deserve to be compared to Andy Blake. Not only that, but we had to hide her death for years out of fear of hurting our family--which might lead them to hurt US. Not that it worked; our parents eventually figured out that "their child" was gone, and our mother, at least, stated outright multiple times that we were not her child. This was part of what led to our relationship's deterioration.

Our mother's behavior was unacceptable. So was Andy's. We would never, EVER condone this kind of behavior.

Also, if he's claiming to have integrated, then it's really questionable that he's claiming his "original" is still dead. He would at least have integrated her memories, experiences, and feelings. Part of therapeutic integration is acknowledging that you are ALL the former members. If he's claiming otherwise, then frankly, he can't be cured. It's the total OPPOSITE of what integration therapy is supposed to be!

The next question was whether it was possible for Andy Blake to recover from DID in the two months he reported, especially since he was on meds and the interviewer seemed to believe that DID symptoms lessen when you're older. [Note: this is not true.]

This question made me literally crack up laughing. No. No, it is NOT possible to integrate in two months, especially at the level of dissociation and number of system members Andy claims. That's absurd. It's like saying you got cured of diabetes in two months, or schizophrenia. DID is a chronic, long-term condition. It takes YEARS of intense work, IF you integrate at all. (The studies I read showed integration rates of multiples of roughly 25%-60%, and mostly took place in a hospital setting, not casual therapy. Here's my data. )

Integration requires you trim down members one at a time. Andy Blake was claiming to have... what, ninety alters?

[Note: actually, the interviewer reported he had claimed eighty, while I think Abby Stone, one of Andy's victims, reports over a hundred, though I can't find the source. Again, Blake likes to fudge.]

To integrate all of them in two months, he would have to average integrating almost three alters every two days. That's absurd.

There is NO MEDICATION ON EARTH that will cure DID.

[Note: Source, under Pharmacotherapy.]

This is pretty much universally accepted. And symptoms do NOT lessen as you get older. I don't know where you heard that, but back in the day, it was known as a condition people didn't get care for until their thirties or forties. It is NOT something that eases as you get older. We are twenty-seven now, not much younger than Blake, and we are as multi as we have ever been.

So there you have it.


EDIT: one more thing.  I have no interest in concealing Blake's identity or past actions.  It is all easily Googlable and a matter of public record.

Date: 2015-02-13 02:25 am (UTC)
slashmarks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slashmarks
Sounds like a frustrating interview.

One question about unclear wording: "The only way what he describes is possible is if he had schizophrenia and DID at the same time. Which is highly unlikely, far more so than him lying again." You mean that it's unlikely that Blake, specifically, has both, right? There are plenty of people who do.

Date: 2015-02-13 03:46 am (UTC)
slashmarks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slashmarks
Yeah, thought so, but wasn't sure.

Date: 2015-02-13 08:55 pm (UTC)
brothers_grimm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brothers_grimm
Well that was educational. :\ We had no idea who Andy Blake was until now. I hope people will listen, it's very unsettling to have somebody like that saying he's plural. Unsettling in a lot of other ways too...

- Icarus

Date: 2015-02-15 12:24 am (UTC)
brothers_grimm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brothers_grimm
Eesh, yeah.
>< I swear I had an intelligent response in mind, but the brain doesn't want to process anything today.

Simply: it's terrible when people use marginalized communities (trans, mental health, plurals, anything) to squirm out of responsibility. It's bad for the people who actually belong to those communities, because then they have to fight negative publicity and renewed skepticism because of that one horrible example. And, he could have covered up his trans* status by saying he used female aliases - the request is moot, he should be held accountable either way.

- Icarus

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