If you are at risk of being negatively affected when discussion of integration arises, please refrain from reading this for now. However, if you feel you are up to the challenge and have all your coping skills in order, or have a trusted friend near you, or a therapist easily accessible if not present as you read this who can help you in the state of emergency during, then feel free to read on…..
I am returning to this blog after a decision to end it. Because I am integrating. And I need to share what I’ve learned if it will in any way help any one change their negative point of view about integration.
This all started when I came back from a nervous breakdown after recovering new memories and new alters. I sort of was barely present, or not present at all, while others were in control of the body. I went inside my mind where I spent a lot of time internally, thinking about my life, and then did some serious work on healing myself from the inside out. Then, with help from my mind telling me I was ready, and by help from other insiders coaxing me back out, I stopped hiding. Stopped withdrawing internally. I was strong enough to face the world again. I discovered a lot about myself during my time inside, things that are signs of a break through of dissociative walls and healing my dissociative disorder.
I am not yet ready to discuss what I discovered, and honestly may never. Because what I discovered can possibly put me in danger if I discuss it before I have it figured out. No guarantees you will ever hear about a new alter here…I share a lot openly and no one has the right to demand how much more I share. So that being said, this is something very personal and keeping it to myself may be the best and only way I heal, to prevent attacks on me.
Now, moving on…..I still talk on Twitter sharing my daily experiences. I decided to share there some things I discovered about integration. My personal experiences were getting invalidated when I did so. I was told, when sharing how this works for me, and I quote: “That’s not how trauma and dissociation works. It’s very irresponsible for you to say this.” I was also told I was not “considering how my words hurt other people.” This is extremely offensive to me as it invalidated me and the fact that I was sharing my personal experiences. The person who accused me of not caring had no care or understanding how their assumptions and misconception hurt me. Then they proceeded to smear me on their own account with accusation of “telling others how to heal” and like I was something dangerous to the Multiplicity community…Almost could feel the sneer and hate through the computer screen within a simple text of “You are very pro integration, aren’t you?”
Why would calling someone “pro integration” be an insult?
It only is to people who don’t understand what integration is, in my humble opinion.
Why is advocating for something looked upon as forcing it on someone?
That’s like saying supporting the LGBT community if you are part of it is forcing someone to be LGBT even though that’s not who they are. But if you knew a friend who was in the closet or in denial, because of some misconstrued idea, wouldn’t you want to help them embrace the truth, and accept and love themselves?
I/my group of selves actually am/are friends with and accept many in what is called the Plural subculture community. Many whom have found balance in their Multiplicity and I champion them for that. It simply is not the lifestyle choice for me, and I personally, knowing what I know about child development, cannot quite understand the idea of being born multiple. So I don’t identify as “plural” myself but I don’t hate or judge those who do.
In fact, being that I still have not completed integration, I actually have an identity in here who is curious of the plural subculture and wants to explore the idea of maybe being born to be multiple. Maybe in working on my integration, I can be swayed to feel that way. Who knows? I could possibly understand the idea is neurodiversity as a cause for such a thing, but I feel like I cannot encourage anyone with known history of trauma to pursue that belief.
No matter what, for myself I have learned it was dangerous for me to be severely dissociative all the time. I have learned there is still parts of myself we haven’t reached. Hidden within to protect us from the trauma. I have discovered that when I thought I knew my whole story, there was in fact a LOT more to it. And if I wasn’t working on integration, none of that revelation would have happened.
It’s not right to say I’m saying integration is the “end all be all” of treatment for DID as if I am against people by promoting less fear of healing. That simply sounds like, to me, saying a closed wound should not be the end all be all of treatments for cuts and abrasions. Your body tries to heal it whether you want to or not, but you can make that more difficult or choose to help nurse the wound. So I’m speaking up because I just fear people are just making it harder to heal a wound. I.E. “self harm” and not realizing it. This is not equal to me “judging” another or “telling anyone how to heal.”
Dissociation is something all humans experience. Dissociation, in and of itself is not the disorder.
Integration is the final result of healing trauma. The need to dissociate to handle it, at the point of it being a disorder, is no longer necessary. You can control your dissociation just like the average person.
I have learned integration is not a choice. I have learned even if you want to, it might not happen.
But you know what else I learned in my personal experience?
It is impossible to “force” integration to happen. That in and of itself would be traumatic. Sort of contradictory to say something traumatic can heal trauma, don’t you think?
More importantly, I learned it is possible to prevent it forcibly. I was preventing it forcibly. To me, that sounds like a symptom of my disorder. I am ready to acknowledge I did that. It caused a problem in my life that I wonder if anyone else may experience. Me being dissociative allowed another part of me to do some self harm and endangering things, when I believed I should stop and just accepted being separated. I took advantage of the separateness and hid in my mind, trusting another part to be “host.” Which led me to some serious trouble. I know not everyone has the same experiences, but I want to share mine, in case anyone else has had similar.
There is a big fight against integration out there, because of the archaic view of (as a friend said to me) “smooshing all into one identity.” Or the other view that either the one using the birth name or the main host is the “real identity.” Of course that way of thinking any of us would reject! We are all real! We all matter and don’t need to be “smooshed” just so the rest of the world is comfortable and can make sense of us. It’s the rest of the world that needs to be educated about us.
There has been a lot more exposure to positive Multiplicity out there. Due to a lot of great activists dispelling myths and fears about us just role-playing or pretending, and nipping in the bud the fear that we all have a “serial killer” or myth of a “sexual alter” inside us all. (By the way I’d like to take this opportunity to say there is no shaming of people who do indeed have these types of alters. All selves represent the outcome of their personal experience and the limited information they hold about the body and life in general. I’d also like to state my cat alter is not a “sexual cat” as it is merely the outcome of unhealthy understanding of sexuality and it’s purpose of being a “cat in heat” is actually about BREEDING AND REPRODUCTION, NOT SEX.)
However, I have come to fear that some media wants to make Multiplicity a “trend” for ratings and they are only interested in feeding the public stories about how great it is to be multiple, while feeding into the archaic stereotype of what integration was originally thought to be. They want great stories about “multiples being multiples” but reject the also valid and great stories of multiples healing dissociation.
I say this because, MANY times I have been contacted about being in a documentary because of how well I handle a good amount of “alters.” And my type of “alters” are “fascinating and interesting.” You can see I even posted a blog about being contacted, but was unsure of going through with it if they did pick me. But I believe I never brought up that as soon as I mentioned integration, they backed off. Seemed disappointed. And even worse when they realize, though I look like I fall in their goal audience of 18-25 age bracket, I am actually the next decade up. So they drop me. Which by that makes it seem like they don’t REALLY care about us, but about their ratings and money.
So I have begun to try to contact people/companies/shows actively myself. And yes I know many people have problems with many of these shows I’ve contacted. Yes I know all TV and media do care about ratings. But I’m hoping to focus on a positive outcome if one of them is willing to take a chance on me. I am hoping that, though they will edit and try to promote the most extreme parts of my story, that I can get this perspective of a positive view of integration out there.
I really believe we all are working toward integration, whether realizing it or not. It will put me under fire to go on TV to say these things. But I will do it because I want to help those it may help. I firmly believe that if it even helps one person, I have achieved my goal. I am willing to put myself and my selves at risk here. Because it’s something that I wish someone would do for me. So I say, someone has to. If there is no other, then why not me?
The truth is, my story is extreme enough I don’t believe any “exaggerations” or “sensationalizing” will be necessary. But they will focus and advertise things out of context. Well, they need “click bait,” I suppose. However if the smart people pay attention, they get the truth. (Nothing much you can do about the dumb and the willfull ignorance who no matter how you present it, will not accept your truth. Sorry guys, I believe sensationalizing only works on people too lazy to do research, or not intelligent enough to question things. I’m going to take a chance because I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND BELIEVE IN MYSELF. Even if others don’t believe in me, or support me.)
When I told a lady who interviewed me about being in a documentary that I was working on integration, her statement was “don’t you think that’s conforming to society?”
No. I don’t. Because this is not like being trans or a sexual preference and being forced to hide it or shamed for something you were born with, that is not potentially dangerous to you, as being dissociative can be. This is something that was forced upon us and DIDN’T HAVE TO happen. Which means, unlike being trans or a sexual preference, it can be reversed. Which since it makes life difficult, that is what I want, to reverse this.
I understand some people don’t feel the way I do about being dissociative. Some people enjoy it. But I can’t “unsee” the potential dangers being so. I can’t pretend. I am afraid for myself and others like me, who can really benefit from focusing on integration as a means of controlling dissociation. Not integration as something where you are being forced to change your behavior or interests just so society welcomes you.
So, notice here, I never said anything about why I wanted to integrate and the woman asking about the documentary never even asked, never asked what “integration” means to me. Right there is an assumption. Right there is the REVERSE STIGMA. Right there is shaming me for wanting what to me is healing.
Instead of asking me how integration would help me or why I wanted it, she made an assumption and attempted to implant an idea in my head that what I was doing was wrong somehow. And then she never contacted me again. And then I saw the documentary made without me. Where in it I saw a few multiples being exploited, some new to their discovery of multiplicity, some newly open about their Multiplicity, and some
who’s body age much younger than mine and could be severely affected by such negative press at such a young age. And my heart hurt for them.
We multiples do shaming things to each other, too, like how this lady did to me assuming I was “conforming to society” and therefore a negative to the Multiplicity community. I see it every time I open my mouth about integration. I know there are some who believe they are born like this and that’s their right to say integration makes no sense. But if aware of trauma, even the possibility of it before remembered, you can be aware MAYBE you were never meant to be this way.
The idea of “forced integration” makes no sense to me. From what I can see, that’s impossible to do. Or else I would have done it, if there were such a magical way to command it to happen. If you have a deep internal rejection for it, all you can do is teach yourself to mimic it. All you can do force alters into silence, stuff them down, make them dormant. But that likely will blow up in your face one day.
Anyone who says it was forced on them I guarantee cannot integrate and are not integrated. If the mind doesn’t accept it, it can’t happen. They are only pretending to be integrated to appease people. That is not ok. They are not healed and deserve to work through it the proper way. Also deserve to be told that it’s ok if they don’t/can’t integrate (or, I like to say, “not yet.” Because I’m an optimist.)
Anyone of us could be spending a lifetime working on this, so it does no good to shame oneself. Whether you have 2 “alters” or 200, it can take that long. This, by the way, is another misconception I’ve found: the belief that the more “alters” you have, the longer it takes to integrate. So this belief could theoretically be part of the problem accepting integration. I will tell you it doesn’t matter the amount of selves you have. Everyone heals differently. Let’s not make this a contest of who’s situation is “worse” and let’s not discount ourselves as not being able to heal because it feels like “too many.”
As long as you achieve balance and happiness, integration is on the back burner, will happen if it can happen, when your mind is ready to make it happen. Whether you actively acknowledge wanting it to or not, if you work in therapy or work on balance in your life, that IS working on integration. However, you can stunt your growth by actively reinforcing separateness. (I would like to point out, in some cases, it is helpful to TEMPORARILY stop the process if it becomes too overwhelming. Take note of that! This is how I know it’s possible to force yourself NOT TO integrate.)
When people say to talk about integration is upsetting, I believe what they mean is, talking about NOT BEING MULTIPLE is upsetting. That is the idea being forced on them, not the integration of consciousness. And since many can’t even comprehend being any other way, it can feel distressing and invalidating.
It makes sense it’s upsetting, when you think it means you have to give up the things you know, or you fear the things you don’t know, or you feel you will be lonely, or have to give up things you love about your individual selves, or that you have to experience feeling traumatized by remembering traumatic experiences. All those are valid feelings. I understand why you’d feel that way. I have felt those feelings too….
I want to share that it doesn’t have to be that way. I am learning this now, as without trying (or not thinking that’s what I was doing when I was trying to recover memories and connect and understand all the other selves inside me), I found myself actually integrating with a few of my “alters,” and found a few others blending together with each other but not yet with me.
I want to share integration doesn’t turn you into a “singlet.” It merely allows you control over dissociation. I will become an integrated multiple, not a singlet. If I so choose, I could call myself all the names of all my “alters” when I feel myself in that state. Or if I so choose, I could take on just the birth name and leave it at that, still being and feeling all of us as one. Or if so choose, I/we can pick one new name to represent us all. Either choice is a personal choice for anyone. I can still tell people I am a multiple. I will probably still need to explain my “quirky behavior” when I still become each of the selves in me, in one shape or form or another.
But then I’d get stigma for that, wouldn’t I? They would say, “I thought you integrated? Now you’re just pretending!” But the truth is your “alters” don’t away. You can’t “unknow” what they know. You can’t be just “pretending” what you actually feel and have validly felt. All the memories, experiences, and emotions each self have are not fake. They are real and valid. And I can call myself whatever I want to identify as, if I feel it accurately expresses me.
What happens is your brain process changes. You switch from feeling like just a body separate from yourself with a bunch of people in it, to realizing “I AM THE BODY with a multifaceted brain/mind.”
I can feel every part of me. And no, this is not just being “co-conscious.” This is me becoming them and them becoming me, and we don’t have to pause to discuss anything, as thought waves travel effortlessly across synapses and new connections are formed in the brain.
This is already such a complex subject and we are the ones making it more complicated.
I want to add, society needs to accept multiples exist. But multiples need to accept that even integrated, they STILL exist. The truth is, you don’t need to “discuss integration” as an “option.” It’s simply a matter of accepting that it will happen if your mind makes it happen. The moment you start therapy, that is working toward integration, even if you don’t realize it. The moment you try to achieve balance and meet and connect with all your alters, that IS working on integration, too.
There is nothing “wrong” with you as a multiple. To not yet integrate doesn’t make you “lesser than,” just like having any disability or different ability or illness not your choice doesn’t make you “lesser than.” But when you find yourself integrating you find your brain is working at it’s NATURAL OPTIMUM ABILITY that it ALWAYS could. It’s science. It’s biology. It’s not really psychology or a philosophical concept here.
Integration means less brain power used. Integration means you accept and feel part of your body. Integration means you never feel out of control of what happens to your body. Integration means you remember at all times, no more “black outs” or amnesia. Integration means “someone else” no longer controls your life because you own all decisions and experiences.
Integration does NOT mean parts of yourself are “forced dormant” or “erased.” Integration does NOT make you a “singlet,” because all parts of you exist and still exist. Integration does NOT mean you must choose a single name of an identity to go by. Integration does NOT mean you have to stop doing anything you normally did as a multiple. If you want to still do them, it’s your choice.
The problem is, some bad therapists are trying to change your entire personality. They are trying to change your behavior to conform to how people want you to be, to mimic how an average developed brain functions, when you can’t.
That is what is causing an aversion to attempting integration. The therapist decided that if they integrate they must conform to how everyone else acts. The ONLY point of integration is what it literally means, to make your mind whole. They have no right to tell you how to behave and how to act in the world. You are right to feel angry at any one who does. It’s ok to be a little eccentric, in my humble opinion, anyway. A lot of great people are! Artists, singers, writers, activists, business people. It’s not right to tell you to be what you consider is not accurate to your true creative self.
The philosophy is one body, one being, one mind, one direction. And be who ever that is to you. Life doesn’t have to change. But not being present in that life needs to change for you to heal the dissociative disorder.
This is not me “telling someone how to heal.” This is me EXPLAINING the PROCESS of healing we ALL ARE CAPABLE of experiencing. Because we all have the wrong idea. We need more positive stories about integration out there. NOT from the field of psychology, but from the mouths of multiples who live it.
If you are not at the level of integration, that doesn’t make you wrong. If you have cooperation and balance in your life, perfect! I’m happy for you. Just don’t try to stop your mind from integration on purpose because you are afraid or think it somehow destroys something. I only mean to show you that this is the next natural step of healing. When you feel it’s no longer necessary, you will understand. Again, I repeat, it’s ok if you haven’t yet reached this. As long as you believe it may be possible, it could just randomly happen one day. Like it has for me.
I am becoming an integrated multiple. In this process I have learned the separation is no longer necessary. But it was ALL OF ME who made that decision. And no one else can “force” it on you. Yet YOU CAN force yourself to avoid it.
When/if I complete my integration (as I havent yet, but only just begun) I will say I have Multiplicity, but not Dissociative Identity Disorder. There is a difference. And the difference is awareness, being present, and having control.
I’m just asking, why would you want to avoid being present in your body at all times unless you were avoiding experiencing trauma? Why would you want to only live a portion of your life if you can have a happy regular life all the time, with just normal life stressors everyone experiences? If it means you can still be all of you, what have you really to “lose?”
I also think we need to raise awareness about maladaptive daydreaming. Because that I think gets confused with DID. Which causes confusion with the idea of integration. Maladaptive daydreaming doesn’t need integration. If you are misdiagnosed, then you won’t do well in the wrong treatment for you. I don’t know this for sure, but I believe this can be a co-morbid diagnosis. As I believe I may very well have both. The experiences are different.
I’m struggling to find the right words to explain my experiences. So here I write these thoughts and allowing anyone to offer suggestions or differing opinions. Talking it through is what can help us all grow.
In previous blog posts, I know a fractal part of me had said some offensive things. I hope people can understand that those kind of blogs were written in a dissociative state, triggered, and often just be being abusive to myself. I want to give a fair and true representation of myself and my selves so all can understand the process I am going through. Reading though some old posts can cause a feeling of embarrassment in me but I own what I said as part of the struggle I have been suffering. The self hate and my own internal conflicts. And feeling triggered by not only being in a world unaccepting of my DID but also being in a world unaccepting of my integration. It feels like which ever way I turn, I was hit with misunderstanding. I hope to present myself in a calmer and more agreeable way. I hope to present myself as someone who wasn’t really trying to tell others how to heal, but was just trying to figure out what healing really means.