This essay was taken from a post of ours on alt.support.dissociation, in response to someone who asked,
"On the days when you are multiple ;) what is it that makes you believe that you are, and that you're not faking it, or it isn't just mood swings, or that parts are parts and not fragments, etc. how do you tell?"
OK, well first of all, while there are a few days when we are
multiple :), on the days when we aren't, we don't believe we are
faking it or just mood swings or just whatever. Most of the time, we
are "not-quite-multiple", "almost-multiple", "mid-continuum", "highly
dissociative", or "doing a LOT of inner child work".
Other times, we are "adopting a dissociative model because it works for us" or "because it helps explain things" or "because it helps me get stuff "out there" where I can deal with it".
(I honestly think we have a part, maybe just a fragment, who really doesnt' [sic] believe we are anyhwere [sic] near multiple and is just "adopting the model as a useful framework", cause every once in a while, those are the words that come out of my mouth, completely spontaneously and with great conviction.)
OK, so the first important thing to notice here is that _all of these
other possibilities are valid and legitimate_. You don't have just a
two-way choice, multiple/not-multiple, valid/invalid, real/faking.
Dissociation is a continuum (you know, we really ought to set this to
music :giggle: ) and you're somewheres on it.
The original poster went on to wonder, when sie would hear a voice inside yelling at hir for crying, or yelling the things sie wished sie could be yelling,
i don't know if this voice is my own, or another. i don't know how to tell.
Well, one way I tell, kind of, is to give these voices a chance to speak aloud or in writing, to us in dialog or, preferably, to others. When other parts say things that we weren't really aware of thinking or feeling, I figure that's a pretty good clue that it is another part. (And this happens _often_.)
But... you know, "real" doesnt' really matter. What matters is "works". Does it _work_ if you treat those voices as other parts, or alters? Does it work if you listen to what they have to say, treat them respectfully as "valid" points of view? Does it work to let those voices out to tell their own story in their own words, to feel their feelings? Does it work to slowly begin to reparent them, to create an inner sense of safety?
_If it works, you get to do it._
I spent a lot of time saying that to myself, believe me. I would go through phases of feeling like I was making it all up, that I was overdramatizing, that what I was doing was silly, that I was just being influenced by my friends, etc etc etc. And I kept coming back to, "If it works, I get to do it."
The thing that "cinched" my self diagnosis was learning that there's such a thing as "identity amnesia", which we definitely have, which is when you remember doing something but it doesn't feel like you did it. We figured that qualifies us under the amnesia clause. :)
Oh, another thing that helps us, is to remember that not only is there a dissociative continuum, but that _every therapist_ may draw the line that says "Multiple" _in a different place_. Some therps would probably diagnose me multiple. Some certainly wouldn't. #shrug# I figure I'm right on the line, myself.
You know, there are days where I'm like, "A label, a label, my kingdom for a label!" Where I really crave the sense of certainty I'd get from a label.
But it would be illusory anyway. It's a complex, ambiguous condition -- just like life in general -- and the label might make me feel better but OTOH part of me feels it would be essentially "mind candy", or better, "mind pacifier", you know, as in "stick this in the hole and let the baby suck on it to shut her up and make her feel better". [Note this is my attitude towards _me_ not towards anybody else.]
And you know, I gather, from reading here and talking to MPs elsewhere, that the label really doesn't help make things make that much more sense because _every system is different_.
Kay, now someone elsewhere in this thread said something like "I don't want to call myself multiple because I don't want to minimize the sufferings of those who are really multiple". And I can _really_ relate to that. That's why I say I'm not-quite-multiple usually. Because I _don't_ lose time and never have, I can't possibly know what that's like... I don't have barriers that prevent communication between parts... I don't have the struggles that people who are further down the continuum from me have, and I would never want to minimize their issues by claiming that my own are the same. It has overtones to me of that "_MY_ problems are just as bad as _yours_" @#$% that people have pulled on me, and I don't want to even remotely look like I'm doing _anything_ like that at all.
So to sum up, "how did I decide?" -- the answer is, well, I didn't, exactly... I just went with it and saw where it took me.
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