Okay Things to Ask Loony-Brain
Table of Contents:
Section I: Basic Terminology
Section II: Introductions to Us
Section III: Communication and Memory
Section IV: Headspace
Section V: Being Us
Section VI: Therapy
Section VII: Fronting
Section VIII: Fictives, Imaginary Friends, and Other Passerby
Section IX: Individual Differences
Section X: Uncloseting
Section XI: Gender and Sexuality
SECTION I: Basic Terminology
What is a multiple?
Definitions vary. We personally define it as having more than one person living in one body.
What is MPD?
Multiple Personality Disorder. It's an old diagnosis, no longer in use in the USA, and has been replaced with DID. The criteria for having MPD was having two or more system members who switched places periodically and ran the body.
What is DID?
Dissociative Identity Disorder. The diagnosis currently in use in the USA, it replaced MPD but has slightly different criteria, mainly the addition of memory problems and amnesia. There's also a fair amount of change in the theory behind it, but going into it is beyond the scope of this 101. You can learn more about it in MPD For You and Me. Note that someone can be multiple without meeting the criteria of DID! For instance, a multiple with no memory problems would be diagnosed with DDNOS (and now, with the advent of the DSM-V, OSDD, just to be even MORE confusing).
What is DDNOS/OSDD?
Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified/Otherwise Specificied Dissociative Disorder. Kinda a loose catch-all diagnosis for folks who don't quite fit the criteria for any other dissociative disorder. Both multiples and singlets can have DDNOS. (There are a lot more dissociative disorders than DID; it's just the most well-known one.)
What is a soulbonder?
A soulbonder is someone who feels a deep emotional connection to a character from fiction, be it an originally-made work or something already around, like Shakespeare. This can vary from simply feeling a character is "alive" to actually having Othello come shack up on your mental real estate. This term seems to be phasing out of use.
What is a median?
A median or median system is a system that's somewhere between multiple and singlet. It can be folks with a hive mind, or folks who are only multiple some of the time, etc. You can learn a bit more about it here.
What is a tulpa?
We really don't know much about this, guys. Sorry. The tulpa reddit defines it as "an imaginary friend that has its own thoughts and emotions, and that you can interact with. You could think of them as hallucinations that can think and act on their own." It seems to be a pagan thing? Or something? Sorry, you'll have to do your own research on that one.
What is a system?
A word to mean all the people within one body, whether they interact with the body or not. It's fairly inoffensive and general purpose.
What is a trauma-based system?
A "trauma-based system" is a system that identifies its origins as dating back to some traumatic event in life. The "classic" form of multiplicity in medical literature is an individual whose mind shatters into multiplicity after overwhelming child abuse; some people assume it's the only form there is.
What is a natural system?
A "natural system" is a system that identifies its origins as from something BESIDES trauma. This origin can vary from "been this way forever," to "got bored," to "channeled spirits" to whatever.
Are all of these things mutually exclusive?
NO! You can be all of the above, or combos of them.
That seems really overcomplicated. What's with all the jargon?
It is really way more convoluted than it needs to be, but that's what you get when a controversial diagnosis explodes. You get four different medical diagnoses, and then the folks who come up with their own terms for their experiences, and it's really confusing to everyone else. This is why we tend to just use the term 'multiple' which doesn't rely on a diagnosis or strict criteria. (Some people argue otherwise. These people are wrong.)
What is an alter?
A system member. Be careful: some people find this term derogatory, including us, due to therapeutic connotations of being less than human.
What is a host?
A therapeutic term for the "original" person, or sometimes the person who fronts most; we've seen it used both ways, and people seem to confuse the two. Obviously that has problems. We tend not to use it.
What does co-conscious mean?
It means that one system member can do something and another will remember it. For instance, if Sneak bakes cookies, and I remember zer doing it, then we're co-conscious. If Sneak bakes cookies and Gigi has no clue what those cookies are doing there, then they're NOT co-conscious. There are different levels of co-consciousness.
What is integration?
The old therapeutic way to fix multiplicity: solve everyone's issues, and then glue them back together into one happy functioning person. Some folks (including us) don't care for it. Therapists also sometimes use this to mean cooperation and co-consciousness, so be sure to double-check which meaning is in play!
What is fronting?
Face time. Controlling the body. Running the show. Not necessarily whose thoughts are running the internal monologue, if that makes sense.
SECTION II: Introductions to Us
What are you people?
We're a multiple system. We have been diagnosed with DID.
Who are you people?
We're a system of eight. Going by the header bar at the top of the website, we are, from left to right: Sneak, Mori (AKA M.D.), Biff, Rogan, Mac, Miranda, Gigi, and Falcon.
Are you trauma-based or natural?
It's come to light that we're all due to trauma. Bummer.
Which one of you is the host, or the real Loony-Brain?
None. She died.
What do you call your group?
The Loony-Brain or LB Lee. Some folks know us by variations on our old online handle, Baaing Tree.
Where do those names come from?
The Loony-Brain just popped up. Baaing Tree has a long story behind it involving high school chemistry class. Ask Sneak, zie'll tell you the story.
Why on earth would you call yourself Loony-Brain? I can't take you seriously.
We were afraid and thought we were crazy. Giving ourselves such a stupid system name made it less threatening. Aaaaand then it stuck, making us look like a colossal dingus for the rest of forever. If you want the full story, it's here.
What's the proper word for what you guys are? Should I call you alters or what?
"People" or "system members" are easiest to remember and least offensive.
How co-conscious are you?
Pretty good. If you tell us something, likely everyone will remember it later, or tell someone who doesn't.
SECTION III: Communication and Memory
How can I tell who's talking?
Ask. It's not offensive to us. One of Mac's church congregation would greet us with, "and who are we today?"
I want to talk to N___. How can I do that?
Ask for them. Most of the time, we should have no problem getting who you want up front.
I want to talk to N___. And I don't want you hearing. How can I do that?
Too bad, we're mostly co-conscious. Can't do it.
I want to ask a question, but I don't want to offend you. How can I know whether it's a rude question or not?
First, go through Rude Questions to Ask Loony-Brain. If the question is on there, don't ask it. If it's not, apply the following litmus test: would you ask this question to a family you had known for a comparable amount of time? If doing so would anger your hypothetical family, be overly personal, or be impossible to answer, likely you shouldn't ask it.
How does your memory work?
We have no idea.
Do you have any repressed memories?
Yes. It sucks.
What do you do if someone forgets something?
If it's something like taking out the trash, we just tell them. If it's something that's been blocked, there is a good reason why, and as long as there's no pressing need, we let them work it out themselves.
Can you read each other's thoughts/feelings?
Generally, yes, but it depends on who's doing the sending, who's doing the receiving, whether the receiver is distracted, whether the sender is trying to be heard, and so on. For instance, Mac can't read Gigi at all, but he generally knows everything that's going through Rogan's head at any given moment. Everyone has their varying levels of sensitivity.
How do you guys talk to each other privately?
We go in another headspace room, and as long as we aren't actively trying to eavesdrop, that can work. Rogan and Mac also have their own personal communication channel.
Can you guys keep secrets from each other?
Only with much effort and it usually doesn't work for long, unless one of us is keeping the secret from themself as well. Our record for keeping secrets is a few hours for Mac, a week for the rest of us--and that was because everyone was really, really trying not to know. Getting Christmas presents for each other without giving the game away is tough. Mac is pretty much impossible to keep anything from.
Have one of you guys ever come to front and had no clue where you were or what you were doing?
Yes, but only a couple of times. It was decidedly unfun; we try to avoid that.
Do you all have your own pasts/memories etc. that aren't part of the "original host" or is it just Mac?
Mac, Falcon, Biff, and sometimes M.D., though we all have our individual sets of memories for stuff we've done in headspace. (For instance, if Gigi punches Mac and nobody else is there or paying attention, only he and her will have the memories.)
How does integration work, regarding system memory? For example, does Miranda still retain some of Lollyanna's memories that can be distinguished from her own?
Miranda: Lolly and I were always very close, and it's difficult to differentiate one set of memories from another, even before we integrated. There are still some things that I remember that are Lolly's, and things that were my old self's, but I identify both sets of memories as mine, even if they aren't the same.
SECTION IV: Headspace
What is headspace?
Inner worlds, subjective reality, alternate realities, whatever. Basically, it is the space between our ears in which we interact with each other. Everyone's is different. Some folks don't have one and that's fine too.
Do you have a headspace?
Yes, we do, though it's very simple and bare. It is a house in a void.
Can you do anything in headspace?
Everyone's headspace is different, but ours strictly follows most of the basic tenets of conventional reality: you can get injured and sick and heal at a normal rate. It diverges from conventional reality in a few major ways: we don't need to fulfill bodily needs like eating, we can conjure objects from the Void, stuff like that.
What's the Void like?
The Void is the formless ether of our brainstuff, and its only distinguishing characteristic is that it appears to be blackish smog. It looks kinda of creepy and doesn't follow human reasoning, but it's generally benevolent.
What's the House like?
It's a seven-roomed monstrosity that Sneak, Miranda, and Rogan created back in '07 for security and privacy purposes; we've renovated a couple times since. It looks like a mutant igloo made of adobe, because we are not known for our architectural savvy.
Can people from other places enter or leave your headspace?
Have you ever had people arrive in your headspace that you didn't want there?
Sort of. 'Invaders' are often symbols or symptoms of internal problems. It's our brain's way of trying to communicate that something is terribly wrong.
Do you give each other gifts in the material world or within the headspace?
In the material world, all the time. Headspace gifts... meh. When we can conjure/banish almost anything we want, there isn't much point.
Where did your headspace come from?
The House had to be expressly created by the system together. The Void just organically grew up around us over the years. Miranda argues that it's a manifestation of our subconscious. Biff theorized that it's made of dead system members, and unfortunately it looks like they're both right.
SECTION V: Being Us
What does being a multiple feel like?
It's like having a house with flatmates, only the house is in your head, very difficult to leave, and doesn't quite follow the rules of physics.
What're the good and bad sides of being multiple?
The good: division of labor, built-in support network, and you're never alone. The bad: sacrificing your individual identity for the sake of a public face, sharing a life with others, and you're never alone.
How does splitting/integration work?
In our experience, integration and splitting are cousins, phenomena that occur when one system member has either too much or too little to carry alone. If there's too much, they fracture into other system members to hold it all; if there's too little, they collapse in on themselves and integrate. Integration can be bittersweet; splitting is always agonizing and awful for us.
Are you past lives?
Do you have any metaphysical powers?
So what made you realize you were multiple?
Our thoughts were in dialogue form, and tended to use the pronoun 'we' above 'I.' There were different voices, self-images, and personalities behind those thoughts. We would have conversations, manage different tasks, try to kill each other, and make references to each other in journals. And then there was the one time that suddenly our journal-writing started referring to Lollyanna in the third person and espousing a completely different viewpoint. There's only so many years you can do that in denial.
How long have you known you were multiple?
We became multiple in 2000, and were aware of it, but refused to believe it or accept it until 2007.
Do you think you might be faking it?
We flogged ourself for five and a half years over how we must've been faking it, until Miranda trounced Rogan in two or three hours of rational debate. Gigi had a massive identity crisis/psychotic fit that involved her running around headspace screaming, tearing books off shelves, and declaring everyone and everything not real before she finally collapsed in tears and accepted her existence as an independent person. We've earned our faith in our existence.
How do you know you're real?
How do you?
SECTION VI: Therapy
Do you want to integrate?
Are you in therapy?
Yes. We'll probably be having regular sessions for a long time yet.
What kind of shrink did/do you see?
We've seen a few. About all they had in common was experience with trans people, willingness to learn, and the ability to defer to our expertise.
What are your opinions on therapy?
It is like any other tool: handled correctly in good hands, it is a huge force for good that can immensely improve well-being and level of functioning. Handled poorly in bad hands, it can fuck you up something awful. We generally recommend therapy, but can't encourage people enough to be very careful of who they choose.
SECTION VII: Fronting
How do you decide who fronts?
Usually, we automatically slip into whatever person is most competent for the situation, or is most interested in interacting with it. We each have certain situations that automatically bring us out--for instance, feeling in danger will immediately pull either Rogan or Gigi to the front. We can also schedule things ahead of time, or forcibly remove someone from the front, but that's very difficult.
Why is removing someone from the front hard?
First, because they might resist. If Gigi's taken front and doesn't want to leave, it'll take nothing less than a full-system dogpile to cart her off. Second, the front tends to freeze in periods of stress as a defense mechanism: the fewer people who front, the fewer people who can get hurt.
Is there any time where you get stuck out front?
Yes. There's pretty much nothing you can do about it but try to calm down, wait it out, or take a nap. Sleep tends to reset our front.
SECTION VIII: Imaginary Friends, Fictives, and Other Passerby
Do you have soulbonds and imaginary friends as well?
We don't use these terms anymore. Mac, M.D., Biff, and Falcon could possibly qualify, but they don't care for the labels.
How do they differ from the rest of you?
Mac, Biff, and Falcon had a life before us; Mac only came here when he died, rather violently, Falcon when he lost his job, and Biff by nasty accident. Therefore, they doesn't have our memories, aren't genetically part of "the family," and have a harder time with the body than we do. They're also right-handed (the rest of us are lefties) and their memories are pretty messed up.
What about M.D.?
Too complicated. Ask us later.
How did the soulbonds/imaginary friends get there?
M.D. was trauma-formed, like the rest of us. Falcon, no idea. Biff... it was deeply unpleasant for everyone involved, and an accident. As for Mac... it's a long story. Just ask him.
SECTION IX: Individual Differences:
Do you guys have different mannerisms?
Are your voices different?
Are you different ages?
Yes. Gigi is ten years younger than the body. M.D. is eleven years younger than the body. Rogan and Miranda are in their late twenties. Mac and Biff are in their mid-thirties. Sneak is five years younger than the body. Falcon is in his mid-fifties. There were many lurches along the way, but as far as we can tell, we all age normally now.
Do you have differing moralities?
Do you have different physical illnesses/symptoms?
Almost all pain, sickness, fatigue, and discomfort gets forwarded to Rogan. Rogan alone deals with depression and an eating disorder, but everyone can feel the physical effects--exhaustion, lack of appetite, etc.
Do you have different skills?
Do you wake up at different times?
Yes, sometimes. Good luck trying to get someone to front while they're asleep. However, the body's limits are absolute; it needs to rest, so we try to synchronize our sleep cycle with it. We have yet to have the body wake with no one to run it.
Who is the most powerful in the system?
Gigi. She's a juggernaut. Falcon is also a complete hauler, and he is the only person unfazed by the idea of taking Gigi on in full rage mode, but we've yet to see him in full action.
Do you have differences of opinion?
All the time.
Have you ever had a hard time choosing someone to vote for?
No, thank goodness. That would suck.
Do you fight?
We used to. Then we realized it didn't help much and Miranda banned all violence in the House.
What happens if you disagree on something?
We talk it out, like any group of people do. If it's a case of irreconcilable differences, we end up deciding who has precedence over the issue. So, for instance, if someone insults Miranda and Rogan gets up in arms about it, she gets to say what we do, because she's the one who got insulted.
Do you all have separate dreams?
Sort of. We will sometimes dream each other's dreams, but we'll feel that they're not ours--for instance, if Rogan dreams he's Gigi fighting evil teddy bears, he's likely going to assume that that's Gigi's dream. We can also share dreams--Mac and Rogan seem to have those the most. Biff was also known for it.
Are any of you not human?
M.D. and Rogan's heritage is... complicated. If you want to know more, ask them.
SECTION X: Uncloseting
It's coming out as multiple to someone.
Who have you uncloseted to?
Pretty much everyone. Even the government knows, these days.
How have people responded to uncloseting?
Their mileage may vary. Some are fine, some are awful.
*gasp* You came out to your parents? OMG, how did that go?
That's not up for discussion.
How out do you plan to be?
As out as we can. It takes a LOT of energy to maintain a singlet face, and we just don't have the stamina for it anymore.
SECTION XI: Gender and Sexuality
What are y'all's sexualities?
Mac is bi. Rogan and Mac are gay. Falcon and Miranda are straight. M.D., Sneak, and Gigi are asexual.
What are y'all's genders?
Mac, Falcon, Biff, and Rogan are men, and Rogan and Biff are also trans. Miranda and Gigi are women. Sneak and M.D. are neither.
What pronouns do I use?
'They' is just fine for general purposes. Call Miranda and Gigi 'she.' Call Falcon, Biff, Rogan, and Mac 'he.' Call Sneak 'zie.' Call M.D. whatever you want. Also, no need to mention that you mean 'you' in the plural sense; we generally assume such, unless you're a Southerner.
How do you handle dating?
Corporeally, we don't. The logistics are awful.
Are you monogamous?
Mostly. Biff and Rogan are the exceptions.
How long have Rogan and Mac been together?
June of '07. Miranda jokes that it was obvious for quite a while before that. They've been married since November 29, 2009.
I'm really curious about how Rogan and Mac got married. How did that work?
Easy, really. They rented chapel space, invited their friends, baked a cake, played music, had a great service, kissed, put on their ring, and went out for Thai! You can learn more in FTMPD.
How long have Rogan and Biff been together?
Since October of 2015. As per Biff's preference, they're casual--Mori's closest to him, though platonic--and Mac is okay with this.