Missed a bunch of these because life got in the way (as it often does). Here to answer your greatest (our greatest) inquiries on DID, days 8-10 of our ask meme challenge, Deathborn the hella rad alter (That’s me!)
Day Eight: How did you first discover you were plural? Was it before, after, or during diagnosis?
For at least a good part of our childhood, the inner/older parts say that we were aware of our plurality. Our system cycles hosts; we’ve had 4 or 5 as far as we can tell, since our hosts tend to be “manufactured” by the system to fulfill the host role at any given time in our life. We suspect the first and second (or second and third, if there were five) hosts were aware at least in some part of their plurality, but it was forgotten over the transition from second/third to third/fourth host, that is, the host which preceded our current one. He was unaware for 3-4 years, and then was reintroduced to the concept in 2012. When he retired from host duties, the next host was promptly informed of his plurality upon forming, seeing as we were out and socializing as plural with our partners and friends.
For a good year and a half before our diagnosis with DID, we interacted openly in plural circles, not claiming to have DID, but only to experience plurality. After our psychologist labeling us DID in 2013, we began interacting more specifically with DID circles and explored our plurality within a DID context.
For most alters, the plurality concept is a little jarring, but easily picked up once they’ve been tossed into play. For some of us, it’s harder to get used to or come to terms with than others. For the most part, though, we’ve largely been aware for more time than most DID patients, and we’ve always had a bit of a leg up in being aware of each other and the system.
Day Nine: What level of co-consciousness do you have? How do you feel your communication skills are within the system? How do you want to grow in those skills?
We tend to utilize our inner world a lot, and have a good amount of communication when we can wrangle people into cooperating and actually communicating, but often it falters out of dissociation or simple lack of cooperation and coordination on alters’ parts.
We try to communicate between fronters on the inside rather extensively before or after a switch, but it’s a concept lost on a lot of the insiders. Growing the skill probably isn’t realistic for us, but if people in here can get their acts together and coordinate a little better, I think it might facilitate growth in the communication department.
As it stands we’re mostly left in the dark where it comes to communication with those outside of the other alters we most closely associate with on the inside.
Day Ten: Have you ever done a system map? How extensively have you mapped your system?
We’re almost constantly system mapping in some way shape or form. We’ve done it a myriad of different ways, from organizing things like where physically in the inner world alters tend to settle (and making a literal “map”) out of that, to simple lists of who’s present and willing to talk (not unlike our ‘system members’ page here, which is a system map of alters likely to speak or be spoken about on the blog.).
We’ve mapped it pretty extensively, but all our maps are limited mostly by the fact that any one map is made by one alter, and thus are from that alters perspective and can’t be considered completely inclusive. Alters less prone to being noticed or contacted by other alters tend to either be left off the map or misrepresented.
We do and create a lot of system mapping activities though, and one of our biggest pushes toward co-consciousness is system mapping.