Beyond the Movies Script

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Beyond the Movies: Debunking myths about DID and plural systems — Jan 13, 2019, 12pm

This script is being provided as a courtesy. The machine transcript isn't done yet, and when we get it this will probably still be the better document even though it's inaccurate since we went off-script during the actual presentation (as planned, we never stick with the original script faithfully — it would sound too fake!). So we apologize that this is not 100% faithful to the recording, we wanted to make this information accessible ASAP rather than delay any longer.

  1. HIT RECORD!!!!
  2. Welcome, all — welcome back. It’s January 13th 2019, 12pm Eastern standard time, and you’re visiting a lecture called ___. Plurals listening in, you may want to put this on broadcast in your system in whatever way works for you so that people don’t have to struggle to listen in.
  3. We are The Crisses — also known as Rev. Criss Ittermann — and we’re best known in the plural community as the admin and major contributor of — an encyclopedic website for plurals and those who love them. The overriding theme and mission is helping plurals build internal community. When we’re not writing for we are a life coach and author, working with plural systems on the same theme. We write self-help books, have a podcast, and blog posts all centered around internal community building. Our 1:1 and group coaching work for plurals is all documented and promoted at — and that’s our time and energy sponsor for today. Because we obviously don’t have enough projects, we’ve also helped to launch and made major writing and time investments in — a new plural news media watchdog website. Some of the material in this lecture is inspired by how many news stories we’ve been reading, vetting and reviewing at CerberusPlural.
  4. Now some house-keeping and then we’ll give a little background so we can begin in earnest.
    1. Content warning: My peers, my tribe — we are not going to be graphic or disgusting but also we’re not pulling punches in this presentation. We apologize in case we say anything triggering or upsetting. Please keep tissues handy and exercise selves-care. We’re fighting stigma in the media with a mixed audience, we have a chance to make amazing allies today, and we’re going to take that chance and rip the band-aid off — we need many more signatures and legally represented voices for petitions, for letter-writing, for boycotting, for protesting. 
Everyone else: this presentation is going to contain some spoilers for things you may not have seen yet.
    2. So one thing to note is how we’re going to try to refer to a group entity with DID or a related disorder and those who live within their shared body. We want to stay far away from clinical terminology, so we’re going to use “Residents” of a “plural system” and plural or plurals to talk about one or more group entities with a dissociative disorder. We are talking mainly in this lecture about those with dissociative identity disorder and using the largest and most inclusive umbrella terminology to cover all related disorders such as OSDD (that’s other specified dissociative disorder) and P-DID (partial dissociative identity disorder).
      1. And by the way — to us residents are people. We might lapse into talking about people in a plural system out of habit, because that is how we usually say it based on our perception from the inside. If it walks like a separate person, and talks like a separate person — maybe it’s a separate person. We think different, have different religions and belief systems, different problem-solving skills, different hobbies, different preferences — at what point are we all just people lacking a sufficient number of bodies?
    3. A little about us — we figured out we were plural in early 1986, the year we turned 17. We were hospitalized for 9 months following a suicide attempt, during which time we debated whether to tell our psychiatrist about the people living in our head. After a few months of trust-building and a 3-day unauthorized off-grounds excursion *cough* we decided to really get to work and laid out everything we knew with him. Suffice to say this adolescent psychiatrist was not equipped. He asked whether we wanted to integrate. We said no. We spent another 3-4 years in outpatient therapy with the same doctor, but didn’t go to a new therapist when we ended our engagement with him. Instead we took holistic classes, we read a lot of self-help, self-improvement, and recovery books — and we figured things out for ourselves. Almost 10 years later, we went back to our doctor for a tune-up and some assistance with PTSD trauma work we were doing. He was entirely out-classed and out-gunned. The industry had become all about medications and his appointments were revolving door prescription renewals. We went back to working on ourselves without assistance until about a year and a half ago, when we employed a trauma specialist to help with the body-based triggers we still struggle with. We may finish that up by the end of this year, and we’re already freeing up energy that is tied down in those stuck points. We have 2 external children, we disowned our parents on the grounds that they have not bettered themselves and live in denial while still tormenting people and have no contact with them, some of our abusers and intentional parental figures are in the afterlife, and one is now out of jail on the sex offender list for life.
    4. In additional to holistic healing arts, we are a trained life coach, minister, and shamanic practitioner. These paradigms and practices help us view plural issues from several different complementary lenses that we incorporate into our writing and our work. When we work with plurals or write for plurals, it’s always with the intent of being an adjunct to therapy — and for those who cannot hire a therapist due to trauma, it gives them a place to start working on communication and internal resources so maybe one day they can seek additional assistance if they should need it.
    5. Whew! Of course there’s MUCH more than that, but that’s the Cliff Notes. Now, with that out of the way, we’re going to try to get through a lot of ideas and material quickly, with some humor thrown in — this isn’t always fun or funny for people. We like the irony of some things. We are personally married to the idea of living like this for the rest of our life, and we’re 50 this year — we really need to find the humor in things. So expect a little of a roller coaster as we take you on a journey into the media mythology and then tear down the wallpaper and show you what’s behind the scenes.
  5. Let's clarify the 3 known criteria required to cause DID, because this comes in handy later:
    1. A person must inherit the dissociation trait. This appears to be hereditary — but to what extent has not been determined yet.
    2. They have inconsistent or poorly-attached caregivers. This is the "no safe refuge" requirement. It could be that a parent is in the hospital with a chronic illness. Anything that means the child has no one to turn to for reassurance or comfort and feedback.
    3. They experience recurring trauma before the age of 9. And 9 is really pushing it — usually it starts by the age of 5 and continues for years. It does not matter whether the trauma is deliberate or accidental, whether it's abuse or neglect. It could be undergoing repeated life-saving surgeries. It does not have to make sense to adults — it could be traumatic to the child regardless of what adults think. It doesn't have to be extreme or violent trauma. It doesn't need to be physical or sexual. We don't take out yardsticks and measure trauma because "trauma" an entirely subjective experience. It’s your trauma — it’s about how you experienced it.
    4. Note: these are not diagnostic criteria. They’re causes — and when we’re talking about fiction, to be realistic those causes better be present if they want to say a character has DID.
  6. Myths in Movies & TV — here’s a run-down of some past well-known plurals in fictional media and all the recent and up-coming ones we know of, who may or may not have DID but certainly have more than one occupant in their body: Nikki/Jessica in Heroes, Narrator/Tyler in Fight Club, United States of Tara, Harry Potter Number One (Professor Quirrel and Voldemort), The Hobbit (with Gollum/Smeagol), Eastrail 177 Trilogy (Unbreakable, Split, Glass), Legion, Venom, and Typhoid Mary in Iron Fist. We also have upcoming releases: X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Doom Patrol (with plural superhero “Crazy Jane”), Cowboy Ninja Viking (an upcoming comic-based film where people with DID are hand-picked for special operative work)…and Days of our Lives & General Hospital just because the soaps can’t be left out of the DID fray. The list goes on, and we’re certain to miss many. Fictional media is ramping up, not down, on depictions of plurals. But how they’re played so far seems mostly relegated to antiheroes and villains — but it looks like that will change very soon. Let’s hope they don’t all revert to the Jekyll/Hyde trope at some point in their scripts. Also, note that there’s more interviews, documentaries, and fact-based coverage of plurals in the media lately.
  7. (Myths)
    1. So on that note, let’s start with the biggie myth everyone came for and move on from there: the “People with DID are a danger to others” myth:
      1. We call this the “jekyll/hyde” trope. To explain: the character of Dr. Jekyll is NOT based on DID — Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde published in 1886 is about the repression and unleashing of toxic masculinity. In a time when men were expected to be genteel, poised, educated, & sophisticated, there also lurked an undercurrent of needing to vent their repressed animalistic urges. Stevenson’s book was a huge success, around the world, where people read it hungrily, turning page after page wishing they could also unleash their inner madness. We saw a similar popular current of unleashing repressed desires in the popularity of written works of the Marquis de Sade about a century earlier. And of course in the 1980s and onward people are playing it out under the more scientific guise of blaming DID — another century later. It’s rationalizing that the average person’s repressed urges being unleashed must fall under the umbrella of mental illness. And in the playing out of this unscientific fiction-based idea people are hurting and further stigmatizing people who were traumatized again, and again, and again as children. So to summarize: every century or so art and culture needs to vent Average Joe’s repressed desires if not in physical acts, at least in their fiction-based media outlets. This century, the outlet seems to be picking on people with dissociative disorders, driving us into hiding, driving some to misunderstanding themselves to the brink of death, leading scientists and doctors to deny the disorder’s existence, a lack of research and funding given that it is 1-3% of the population who will be disabled by this syndrome, bullying, targeting, shaming, stigmatizing, and frankly driving people who survived extreme adversity in their life both angry and mad. But not violent. We take our violence out on ourselves.
      2. That brings us DIRECTLY to the brink of the sobering statistic that 70% of people diagnosed with DID have attempted suicide at least once. The clear results of this stigma causing the disorder to go unrecognized and untreated is a very serious life-hampering issue. We will never know how many plurals we lost in the average 6 years it takes to get diagnosed.
      3. This begs the question: why do screenwriters keeps making us into killers or violent villains?
        1. because selling people an outlet and an excuse not to unleash their repressed violent urges on the big screen is worth money. That’s it. And it’s our strong opinion that every single movie that appropriates and misuses our disorder owes research funding a big whopping check to pay for its sins. We’re not a freak show. We aren’t society’s scapegoats for perpetrating violence.
        2. We're more likely to be victims, not violent. Unfortunately many of our peers are still being stalked, abused, & controlled while we're adults. Then we're also trolled on social media as well. Bullied, and then we’re harassed on the big screen by depictions that are monstrous and increase the stigma against us and perpetuate the myths we’re addressing today. A lack of acceptance and empathy in society that sometimes mirrors our lack of good caregivers when we were children. Many people with DID are afraid to go outside. Afraid to have and lose friends every time a new movie comes out. Afraid to come out as plural to family or friends. Often their family is not safe, so they lack support and caregivers who are vested in their recovery. Due to the disabling effects of PTSD and Complex-PTSD from repeated trauma, many cannot hold down a job, and so we also have many peers who experience extreme poverty, homelessness, and all the crimes and further trauma that can come from living a desperate life with no resources.
    2. Myth: “every DID system has their own take on The Horde looking to overthrow the nice people, and the potential for having The Beast in their system”
      1. Believe it or not, people watched the 2nd installment in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy and really thought this. People who went to see it because they had — or even with— friends who were plural were so unsettled at the film that they immediately ceased their friendship over the movie out of fear of their personal safety.
      2. No this is not true. It’s heartbreaking that a plural will confide in a friend and go through a whole trust-building process with them only to have it extinguished because of someone’s nightmarish exaggeration of what plurals are like.
      3. So to debunk this in detail: The Beast is a complete not just exaggeration — but a faulty overblown caricature of an excuse to make a horror story. It pushed the idea way too far. The premise in the first film was plausible exaggeration of human possibility. Bench pressing 350 lbs is not completely unrealistic. But The Beast is completely unrealistic, and unfair. To stick that in a movie that spends a lot of time and energy trying to seem realistic is a grave disservice to people who are horribly stigmatized to begin with.
      4. Now the parts that are somewhat true that were exaggerated for the screen: with no healthy role models and desperate attempts to “play normal” and mask, or discipline residents of a plural system who make mistakes or disagree about the direction of their shared life, folk can build up resentments towards each other. There can be “teams” and “sides” in internal struggles for who runs their shared life. How often does that really work in the world — say at work? Or in a school? It doesn’t. It pushes people apart. When you share a body, it just makes everyone miserable. It increases panic in the system, which then dials up all the anxiety and dissociative symptoms and creates chaos. The right thing to do is encourage the media to provide positive role-models of internal community, characters who are “just DID” and not the central plot device, and get more funding into programs and services that help plurals do the mediation work needed on internal relationships so that the more expensive and elusive therapy sessions can concentrate on their collective trauma issues.
    3. Myth: DID is rare.
      1. Actually, it’s not at all. It’s 1-3% of the population. 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia. 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder. (NAMI — National Alliance on Mental Illness) So somewhere around there. It does not discriminate by country, race, religion…you find DID anywhere you find children who are neglected, traumatized, abandoned, abused, molested, or otherwise constantly put in harm’s way. Not all children who are hurt repeatedly develop DID — there are 2 other criteria as mentioned earlier: detached caregivers, and the dissociative trait which may be inherited.
      2. It may look like DID is rare. It takes 6 years to diagnose, so there’s the misdiagnosed, the under-diagnosed, those who never show up to be diagnosed. There’s those unreported numbers who suffered too much to make it to a diagnosis. It may look like it’s a white phenomenon — because white people have better health coverage, a better culture of accepting that people can take advantage of therapy. It’s a matter of access. It may look like it’s more prevalent in the US, but studies and surveys have shown that’s not true. There’s a bunch of movies with DID characters coming out of the movie studios in India, for example. More therapists are trained to spot it here, there’s better knowledge of it here, and so on. It’s not perfect, people still fall through the cracks all around the world. It’s shameful, actually. Anyone who claims that it’s a white American phenomenon isn’t paying attention, and that’s part of the problem.
    4. Another myth is that people with DID are completely debilitated.
      1. This is really ironic when considered alongside the killer myth. Yes many people with DID are debilitated and on disability and unable to work. Some residents may be very capable of adulting while others are in constant pain, or fear, have heart-rending anxiety issues, are unable to go out into the public, and are not able to do the things they want or need to do. However, there are other plurals fully capable of working, passing as singular in public, holding down jobs, or working at jobs where being plural is not only an asset, but a mental health diagnosis (and being out and open about it) is a requirement.
      2. If you think about it, this is backed up by a very simple fact: DID forms in childhood, and is cemented by the time a child hits puberty. DID usually (but not always) has a period of hiding itself even from itself for a while once the trauma stops — if the trauma stops — and the plural system can mask and hide from itself and others with occasional glitching that is easy to laugh off or ponder then forget. In some cases, this apparent remission or “stealth mode” if you will continues until end of life, with whatever quirks or problems there are never creating enough waves to make the plural come to the realization that they’re plural. These undiagnosed plurals are going about their lives, doing things. They may miss some appointments, make excuses for a bad memory, and never suffer under a debilitating flare-up of PTSD symptoms. They don’t wonder why they don’t remember their childhood — maybe they know they had a “bad” childhood, and let it rest. Sometimes in one’s 20s, 30s, 40s, — really any time until end-of-life — something happens and the PTSD flares up and won’t go away. It could be a new traumatic event. Or a trigger that’s just too big like coming face-to-face with an abuser, or the pain of childbirth. By the time some people find out they’re DID they have a career, children, spouse, and what would look like a pretty typical life. Their complex-PTSD coming out of remission (if you will) can be life-crushing, exhausting, and debilitating. And some take it more in stride and are able to continue to compartmentalize their therapy and work alongside it.
      3. Another big factor in whether plurals have the ability to act on their needs or desires is how much control over switching they have. If you have a carousel of characters appearing at what seems like random times, you can’t always do the things you want to or need to do.
    5. This is a good time to debunk Myth: All plurals are alike.
      1. No. No 2 plural systems are alike. There's a buffet of trauma situations up against all the myriad ways of coping with trauma. This is like saying that all people returning from war have the same PTSD experiences. Not possible. We're all unique unto ourselves.
      2. Because we’re not all alike, and we’re building up plural culture and language to describe ourselves — it’s interesting when we’re in physical plural-safe spaces. You might think it devolves into a bunch of triggered hurt people getting upset but instead we usually compare experiences and enjoy talking about fairly normal issues but in the context of being able to say “we” with a side helping of not having to struggle to mask switches, and sharing our passions and hobbies without fear of being “found out” as being more than one person. It’s quite liberating.
    6. Myth: let’s make a bundle here: DID is "powerful" and “special" — it’s a superpower — plural people are smarter — basically anything that makes it look like somehow we made off better in the trade-off between a pleasant and secure childhood versus always having company in our brainpan. To quote Eastrail 177 Trilogy part 2: “We look at people who have been broken and shattered like they're less than us. What if they're more than us?”
      1. Reminder: 1-3% of the general population around the world has DID. We’re not the smarter ones. We’re the hurt ones. People marvel at “what it takes” to develop this “fascinating” defense mechanism. What it takes is extreme adversity. It requires that 3-part cocktail of circumstances, no wand-waving, no favoritism from the brain fairy, no blessing from beyond or miracles. Very real hurtful and harmful circumstances, over a long period, with no safe refuge — and a trait that’s probably genetic. To think this is “special” in an envious way is kinda gross. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Marveling at us is like saying, “Wow, I wish I had gone through hell as a child so I’d have a chance to be plural!” 6 years just to get a diagnosis, and 10 years of therapy after what was already probably 10 or more years of childhood torment starting by at least age 5. You want to spend about 30 years of your life in rocky torment so you can share your headspace with roommates who keep moving your shit and don’t clean up after themselves? That’s not worth envying or admiring or fascination.
      2. So how about superpowers? What about realistic exaggerated superpowers for DID?
        1. DID doesn't grant the power to climb walls. That's radioactive spider bites. <sarcasm>Unless it’s because the anxiety that can come with PTSD makes your hands clammy — so it’s super-sticky-clammy-hands-and-feet from anxiety. Sure.…</sarcasm> Our superpower would not be climbing on walls or super-powered strength.
        2. It would be losing things — like we can disappear things and instantly forget where they’re hidden. Great trick when a telepath villain is trying to find the thumb drive that has their evil plan on it. We can say we forgot where we put it with 100% conviction, because we did.
        3. Or doing something different with each hand at the same time. We could whistle dixie while one hand picks a lock and our toes are breaking code on their computer.
        4. Our kryptonite would be missing appointments. Every damn time the villain says you have 1 hour to comply we either show up way too early — or more likely we miss the deadline. Oops. Sorry, Dr. Deed — lost track of time.
    7. Myth: DID folk need to be rescued from their misery. People with DID are “broken” — there is something inherently "wrong" with being plural or multiple or having DID. ###Someone has to fix them! — we call this the Humpty Dumpty trope. This poor suffering person, shattered beyond repair. Quick, get an expert to save the day!
      1. While it usually takes an adjustment period — figuring out you’re plural can be a significant paradigm shift — this doesn’t have to be a miserable fate, and no one can “rescue” us from ourselves but us. Yeah, maybe some help is warranted — but don’t make us out to be miserable and helpless or feel sorry for us. Ask if there’s anything we need. And if everyone comes up blank, offer a hug. Free, cheap, easy, and everyone benefits!
      2. While many plurals are certainly in need of assistance, there's nothing inherently wrong with our survival strategy. There's a lot wrong with why it was necessary for us to employ this survival strategy. Whether accidental, deliberate, or completely in the hand of fate — children shouldn't suffer the way we've suffered. Those of us who have trauma histories — no matter whether we think it was the cause of our plurality or not — have already been through enough. Don’t assume that what got us through it is a problem that's no longer working and needs to be changed — when we often have known absolutely nothing else…
        1. example: some interviewer asked someone what it's like to have an "episode" of DID. If they asked us — we'd say:
          1. "Well hrm. Let's see. Every episode starts when we wake up."
          2. “…please, continue…"
          3. "That's it. It's still happening.”
      3. We can have fun or make the best of our shared situation. Or even enjoy it. After all — we’ve never known what it’s like to be alone in a body. So there’s fun things like telling ourselves jokes and being genuinely surprised by them, playing games against each other with everyone honestly playing to win, and think about the thrills when we pay one price and we all get to go to the movies or the amusement park or a buffet — it almost feels like cheating!
      4. On the amazing side of thing that we can do that are really particularly useful and fits in with the “rescuing” and “misery” theme — we can reparent ourselves from the inside. Think about it: our most hurt children may need 10 or more years of really positive constant loving support. They can’t withstand separation anxiety or someone who doesn’t have time for them, or someone who may move, or die, or retire. We usually can’t turn to family for that support, or even a spouse or partner — who probably needs to work and is not in a relationship with us to raise a child. So, where can we get this? From ourselves. We can provide a stable internal relationship by partnering nurturing residents with our younger residents who need constant love, care and attention. No one else on the planet can deliver that the way we can for ourselves. That’s definitely a superpower.
      5. And by extension, regardless of the age of the residents in question, we can provide ourselves comfort and support when we’re in troubling or difficult situations. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. We can provide each other comfort and support in troubling or difficult situations. It doesn’t mean we don’t need friends or support outside. But it’s a big comfort when we finally get along and start working together. That’s almost a superpower. One they should exploit on the big screen: a bunch of hurt folk get together as a team and kick butt. Like the Avengers, just in one body.
    8. Myth: it must be so EXCITING to be plural!
      1. Folk who are not plural can't tell us what it's like to be singular. We have no experiential frame of reference to tell you what it's like being plural, but we’ll try anyway:
        1. We always have someone to talk to.
        2. Brain storming sessions all day if we want them.
        3. We prefer to eat at buffets because everyone can have a little of what they want.
        4. Even if there's only one body in our bed, we have a cuddle pile every night.
        5. We play together especially while driving and singing — trading off lyrics between folk in our system so every song is fresh and new. We actually grew up playing games together and singing Broadway show tunes in our room. Absolutely terrifying, right?
        6. We are never bored: if we didn't bring a project with us we can always hold an impromptu meeting while waiting at a doctor's office or for someone who's late for an appointment.
        7. We can tie our shoelaces and chew gum at the same time.
      2. Does that sound too boring and routine? Sometimes that’s as exciting as it gets. Now, if you mean “interesting” …
        1. We burned out of all our jobs within 3 years. It’s related to how our mind and body handles trauma and no one teaches you how to handle workloads and stress in the long-term. Constant stress, deadlines, etc. with an endocrine system set up to overreact to panic already. Very interesting.
        2. Someone broke up with one of our first boyfriends without our permission because we didn’t know we were plural yet — so someone was just fed up and broke up with him in the most cold and awful manner ever. We were 16 and it was about 1-2 months before we figured out we were plural. Now that’s pretty interesting.
        3. We played a trapeze act going from relationship to relationship for years, even if it meant not being very discerning about our partners. We ended up in some toxic relationships where we were being manipulated and gaslit. Quite interesting.
      3. But those aren’t issues of daily living type of stuff. Being older and wiser, we can generally stay away from people who try to use us or kick them to the curb if we need to. So what PROBLEMS do we have nowadays?
        1. When we need to work on our web server, we have to chase down one of the 3 people in here who know what they're doing. Almost like being at work, right?
        2. Different handwriting — not a great thing! We wrote a thank you card and our handwriting changed mid-sentence. Thank goodness it was going to someone who knew we were plural — we just laughed and put it in the mail anyway. This has been an issue for other plurals too. You can get locked out of your accounts by forgetting passwords, have different signatures on checks or credit cards, etc. So what’s nice in a journal is not such a great party trick in legal situations.
        3. And we have misunderstandings like everyone does. Communication inside for us is pretty easy compared to communication with external folk. But that’s not true for all plurals — communication is a huge topic and struggle — well isn’t it for all relationships? And having more communicators can make all communications a little more tricky.
        4. And if you think it’s hard to share a single bathroom with your family, try sharing a whole body.
    9. Ok — this one is as amusing as it is frustrating on film. Myth: Whenever possible, plurals need to change their clothes when they switch.
      1. WELLLL — this may be partially true. Or based on a half-truth.
        1. The large and varied wardrobe in the second film in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy — not a myth. That’s frequently true, but usually doesn’t come with labels for whose outfits are whose. Plurals tend to acquire a fairly large wardrobe of outfits. Somehow the clothes just multiply on their own. In fact, if a therapist suspects someone has DID, they may ask whether they find anything new in their house that they don’t remember buying. This can be frustrating if you had the money budgeted for something important, though. It’s a struggle for people with DID to manage spending at times.
        2. The part that frustrates us is that we don’t have a superpower of quick clothing changes. Many visual works depicting people with DID require clothing changes to signify that someone else is at the helm. Thinking that is kinda understandable; 1-3% of the population is DID and most people never notice the subtle changes between headmates so you don’t want viewers to miss this fact in a film. But there’s plenty other ways to depict changes: voice, posture, accents, mannerisms, actions, and dialogue. Even though one superpowered resident can move really fast, we see a 9 second switch from Hedwig in a tracksuit to Dennis in a suit in the second Eastrail film — this is unrealistic given that neither Hedwig or Dennis have superpowers. It probably takes plurals longer to change — arguing over clothes, switching then changing your mind about what to wear, how to best accessorize so that everyone is comfortable during the day, and so on.
        3. A full wardrobe change is not required when we switch, by any means. Certainly not to the point of leaving the room in the middle of something important to change. But there may be subtle issues like removal or putting on of jewelry or tying hair up, adding layers or taking layers off, etc. — not because of external appearances but because of physical comfort differences between headmates.
    10. Myth: plurals can “change their body chemistry with their thoughts”
      1. no. Like all physiological processes, physiological changes happen on a level we cannot control with THOUGHTS. *sigh* Yes, different alters can have different physiological processes. But we can choose thoughts. We don't CHOOSE to have diabetes or hypertension or a different eyeglass prescription. Blatant misinformation. Not even an idea that was needed to explain the story arc.
      2. Can we have physiological differences between residents? The answer is yes.
        1. There's been differences in corrective lenses documented, as mentioned in the 2nd film in the Eastrail trilogy. There been some differences in response to medications, but nothing even vaguely resembling sticking to walls and superhuman strength.
    11. Myth: Residents never know about each other — complete amnesia between residents is a diagnostic criteria.
      1. False. DID requires memory problems, time loss, partial or full amnesias, or loss of sensory memories like all the audio is missing for someone who was able to hear during an incident to be diagnosed. But complete amnesia between residents is not a requirement. Some plural folk rarely lose time and have high communication internally. Whether residents know about each other is not a diagnostic criteria. So let's say someone can remember everything and every switch in the last 24 hours but last week fades away quickly and they can't remember last month and that would still fit the criteria for memory problems possible in DID.
    12. Myth: Merging or full integration is the only way for a plural system to become healthy
      1. This has been a problematic issue since they started handing out this type of therapeutic plan. The assumption that because someone is different they have to change to be more like you — like the average person in society — is a problem.
      2. The outcome after decades of trying to deliver this type of therapy, which can take about 8-10 years, and let’s say that full merge is actually achieved and seems stable for some length of time — a common problem is that a new trauma or distressing situation occurs that's stronger than the glue holding everyone together. Then the merged folk resort to their usual teamwork strategies of handling adversity (whether positive or negative). Much to the frustration of therapists. Then it's back to the drawing board, and additional attempts may go faster but can still result in what they call "regression" into the "undesirable behavior" of dissociation.
      3. Another option, gaining popularity amongst knowledgable and empathic therapists is pursuing what’s called “functional multiplicity” — essentially getting along and remaining a group entity for the remainder of our life. This also is gaining momentum within the plural community by way of self-self-advocacy and communicating our preferences in therapy. The therapy outcome should be our choice. We have two amazing and attractive options: get along together as a team and work towards shared goals for the rest of our life — or get together as a team and decide to give merging a try. As far as we Crisses are concerned, it’s the teamwork and agreement that’s most important.
    13. Myth: The character Kevin& in the second Eastrail 177 Trilogy movie is realistic.
      1. Not that we’ve seen yet. We applaud the acting, we have arguments with the methods that McAvoy used to acquire inspirational and instructional material — but let’s talk about the problems with the character we’ve seen so far.
        1. The youngest child we’ve seen in Kevin& is 9. According to the brief bump into Kevin&’s mother in the first movie, Kevin& are around 6 or so when David Dunn is getting his sense of people’s dark secrets. Of course, the younger children may remain to be seen in the 20 being aired this week — but if everyone else is a zipped up “apparently functional adult”, and frankly Hedwig is a manager personality even if naive, and has the power of allowing anyone to front….. then I guess that leaves Beast to be the baby in the monster suit. They have some quirks so far, some co-morbid conditions like Dennis may have obsessive-compulsive disorder, but no one seems extremely traumatized. So while we’re marveling at an actor who can rapidly change body language and facial expression and voice-act really well — we are not really seeing a depiction of someone with true DID on the screen. People with DID are often hobbled by their fears, not comfortable in their skin, afraid of loud noises, and usually have no control over switching but yes, the power Hedwig has to manage who is fronting is plausible — but just plausible. Those types of manager personalities are not usually fronting and oversee internal workings. So we’re left with a shallow representation of a director’s cut of a person with DID.
        2. Many of the zipped up and more apparently-functional folk within a plural system are based around survival. It’s nice to pull random characters out of a grab bag and throw them into the same body together — but they have to make sense in the context of what happened to them. The residents in a plural system aren’t random. So to build an accurate plural character, you have to start with the back story and have a really good imagination. It’s rarely straightforward, but it’s always with a good reason. It’s harder to start with a random grab bag of characters you want to see in the adult then create their origin stories to justify their existence.
  8. And we’re out of myths and out of energy!

We want to thank you for your time. Time is our ONE finite commodity — all of us.

One announcement: Please keep your eyes peeled on social media on March 5th which is Dissociative Disorder Awareness Day — people on social media will be tagging and signal boosting posts to help raise awareness of DID and related issues. Your participation means more people will start to realize that what’s in the movies is not an accurate representation of what’s going on in our lives.

With luck a good quality recording of this presentation will be available shortly at 605-475-4981 or keep an eye on our Events page at liberated life coaching -dot- com.

Questions and comments to us can be sent through our email form on or to @revcriss r-e-v-c-r-i-s-s on Twitter.

If you suspect you or a loved one may be plural — please see for resources; the home page gives links to some of the most helpful and popular highlights and starting points to explore the site — and please just love and respect each other. People with DID have been through so much and fearing them pushes them away and scares them. Be patient, be kind, and be observant. Make sure your own boundaries are healthy because a person with DID is probably unable to fix and maintain their own boundaries without help or instruction.