*forgets to talk to friends for 4 weeks*
Hey! I took some time to dig through your blog posts and read some of what you’ve written, and I’m really enjoying it so far! Your characters are pretty severe cases, but I feel like you’ve found an awesome balance between art and reality and I’m absolutely in love with it. I hope I’ll get to buy your novel once it’s released to the public!
Do you have time, and would you be willing, to chat over Skype at some point more specifically about your character? I’m not really interested in telling you how to write your characters, because they’re your characters and you’re the writer, but I’d love to answer any questions you might have, or help you with any little bits you might be stuck on. I can provide you with insight and maybe help offset that disadvantage a bit! ;)
As far as generally what I’d like to see written more around DID… That’s a pretty big question, but I’m going to try to keep it to a few specific points.
- A lot of emphasis is put on the novelty of alters. A person with DID is often portrayed as a fairly normal person with a bunch of kooky “loose-end” extra alter personalities. I’d love to see less novel alter add-ons, and more emphasis on the alters as genuinely equal, semi-functional parts that all work in tandem to create the illusion of a singular functional person. In the context of a character, I’d love to see a character that switches from alter to alter uncontrollably, but with purpose, in order to tackle necessary tasks or challenges. I’d like to see the whole “oh no, what an unfortunately timed switch!” thing happen as a rare occasion kind of thing, instead of as a constant punchline, or convenient plot device. It happens to us all, but not on the scale that the media seems to think it does, because if we were like that all the time, none of us would survive as long as we do, and it wouldn’t be nearly so difficult to get a diagnosis for the disorder. We’re smarter and more practical than that. DID forms as a functional coping mechanism for surviving an abnormally difficult life. We wouldn’t have survived as long as we do if we were just full of all these unfortunately kooky, totally maladaptive, outrageous alters, and we(hosts) wouldn’t have alters at all if we were just totally functional whole people without them. I’d like to see that taken more into account. Let’s see some teams of alters that could actually feasibly survive.
- Alters are the obvious part of DID. But what about all the other dissociative symptoms? Where’s the dysphoria? The time loss? The feelings of reality not being real, or being distant and dream-like? The numbness in limbs, stress-hallucinations, slow reactions, clumsiness, riskiness, self-destructive behaviours and other stuff that can come out of feeling so unreal all the time? The forgetfulness and memory distortion? The absolutely awful and relentless headaches? The exhaustion? The PTSD issues(most people with DID are also diagnosed with PTSD and that’s a whole other basket of eggs to work with.)
There’s just so much more to DID than the alters themselves, and a lot of it can be just as damaging, if not significantly more so. In fact, most people with DID have at least one alter that formed specifically out of a need to cope with these other symptoms. Maybe they don’t present at their worst all the time, and a lot of them aren’t so obvious and are trickier to get across depending on the perspective you’re writing from, but the signs are always there. They might present in how the character compensates for them. Maybe he takes a lot of Advil, or maybe he had a bad drinking or drug habit at some point. Maybe his head is loud, so he avoids a lot of loud spaces, or inversely, he constantly listens to music as a way to drown it out. Maybe he self-harms to convince himself that he’s still real, and always wears long sleeves because of it. Maybe he doesn’t have any mirrors in his apartment, or he struggles with anorexia, or doesn’t like pictures because of the dysphoria. Maybe he’s late for all his appointments because he’s stressed out, it’s making him too detached and his sense of time is distorted. Almost certainly each of his alters deal with these things in different ways, and maybe some are irritated with others for having maladaptive coping strategies. There’s so much character potential in all this, I can’t imagine why more people aren’t considering the “other” DID experiences. There’s a reason for why people with DID tend to be so interesting and unique. Coping with all this leaves a person with a veritable cornucopia of little quirks, and bizarre habits.
- I’d like to see a character with DID that isn’t on a noble journey to become rid of their terrible alters. I’d like to see a character who is just trying to get by like anyone else, in the ways that they know how. Integration is very difficult, very painful, and often doesn’t actually leave the person feeling better in the long term. Many people who undergo the process split apart again after around 5 years simply because a person wouldn’t split apart like that for no reason and DID is a functional coping mechanism for having too much in your head to deal with all at once, all the time.
But this idea that it’s more important to be whole than it is to be happy and functional stems from ignorance and this perpetuated ideal that being whole is the only way to be if you want to be healthy, and that being integrated will magically resolve all the issues that a person with DID has to struggle with. This is a major issue, this ideal, and it’s not just being perpetuated by writers but also by undereducated clinical professionals. So it contributes to a lot of stigmas that in turn contribute to the sorts of resources we are offered for treatment options. That’s a pretty big deal.
So, I’d love to see a character with DID that is working to communicate better between their alters and get some better cooperation going for practical reasons, and maybe trying to break down those amnesiac barriers so they can tackle some traumatic memories with trauma therapy. For the sake of having an over-all better quality of life. That’s much more realistic, and while DID doesn’t have to be glorified, and no doubt, you can and should show the ugly sides of having to exist that way, it doesn’t need to be portrayed as the worst thing in the world to exist like that. A lot of characters with DID are so firmly opposed to having alters, you’d think they just woke up like that yesterday! They want them gone(and we all feel that way at some point when we first start to realize what’s going on with us) but they want it from the perspective of someone who knows what it’s like to be “normal”. But the reality of people with DID is that most of us don’t even remember what it’s like not to have alters. This is how we’ve been for almost our entire lives. We aren’t on a noble journey to get our bodies back or anything like that. We just want to be happy, and we’re trying to find practical ways of doing that. For some people, that means they want to integrate completely, and it works for them. And you know, that’s cool! Good for them! But it’s not even a realistic goal for most of us, and the pro-integration folks get plenty of support and representation already. Let’s see some more realistic and attainable ideals. Let’s see a character with DID that is learning how to live with it and understand it, and struggling with the practical aspects of that. Instead of blindly and irrationally racing for the “integration finish line” so that they can live without DID, while they lash out against all their alters, and by-pass all the cooperative and communicative steps in between.
I hope that helps! Thank you for the awesome(and challenging) question! I know it’s always easy to complain about what writers are doing wrong, but it’s definitely also important to make suggestions for what they could be doing differently to improve the situation.
I’m reblogging this again cause it’s that awesome.
Then there’s the Navy
regular BDU, desert and jungle.
SPEAKING OF CONS Since this recent trip to the eye doctor is basically cleaning me out, I will be opening commissions again!
$10 for something like this ($8 for the limited color palattes)
$10 for sketches (+$5 for other characters)
$30+ for full pieces in sketch style, as you can see by my terribly unclean lines.
I am ALWAYS happy to draw for you if you’d like to donate as well, I’ll never take something without giving something back :3
Thanks in advance!
The best deodorant you will ever use
Seriously. 1/4 teaspoon in each pit and you can sweat your ass off, totally stink-free for like 2 full days. It’s a natural anti-bacterial so those little fuckers won’t multiply and make you smell. Plus it’s cheaper and healthier than any deod you can buy anywhere.
Use equal parts of the following:
With a few drops of whatever essential oil you want, for fragrance. Otherwise it basically just smells like nothing. I use tea tree oil & pine needle oil. Cuz they’re MANLY.
Note - It pretty much turns to liquid if it’s warmer than about 75 degrees. If you want to keep it solid, you can refrigerate it or add a little more corn starch.
Reblogging myself again, cuz I still use this and it’s still awesome
This is what I’ve been using for about a year now and it works wonders.
Not convinced it works? My fiance is literally the smelliest human being I’ve ever met when he’s been sweating all day. I made him some with tea tree oil and he now smells nice and mint-ish as the end of the day, even if he’s been outside working.
Not to mention it’s cheaper, smells better, better for you AND better for the environment to make your own :D