Last night, I watched a movie recommended to me by a close friend. The movie is called Sybil, and it’s about a woman who developed a seriously advanced case of multiple personality/dissociative identity disorder due to serious abuse, both mental and physical, she suffered as a child at the hands of her paranoid schizophrenic mother.
Nothing has ever made me realize how lucky I am to be part of a “healthy” system. I don’t have blackouts, I don’t lose time. Everyone works together, and we can even switch in the middle of doing something like driving or walking and not even stumble (though there have been times where one or another of us have stumbled upon coming into control).
I’ve contemplated why my bonds are so different from classic MPD – and yet there’s no doubt at all that that’s what this is, essentially. Near the end of the movie when Sybil’s selves become aware of each other and able to work together, I saw a very clear example of the way my system interacts. Whoever will be best at doing what needs done comes out to do it. Lately I’ve (I’m the primary, main, original in my system, BTW) been insisting that I personally do more – even those things I don’t like doing or don’t know how, because I’m determined to learn. The other members of my system are supportive, and honestly we’re like a big extended family. It’s really nice.
I don’t have any bonds that will willingly make me behave absurdly in public – in fact, only those who are capable of “passing” for me are usually allowed out when I’m around people who don’t know about us. The closest one I have an issue with is Winter, a giant white panther with the mind of a perpetually happy human five-year-old. And he’s only allowed out in very specific situations. I’ve never had a black out, or lost time, thanks to the clock in/out system that we all have. Essentially we’ve worked it so the last few minutes of each person’s memories get instantly “downloaded” into the next person to get control. So if control switches, even unexpectedly, while we’re in the middle of something like taking a test, or driving, or any other task that requires more than sitting at a keyboard and typing, the person coming into control will be able to pick up seamlessly where the one before left off.
Now, when we were initially setting up this system, it didn’t work reliably at ALL. But we never lost time – whoever was out always remembered what they’d been doing and could easily communicate to other system members what was going on within a few moments of control switching. And there’s never been an issue with blacking out, since all of us are technically aware at all times, if not in my body’s waking life, in our internal “apartment complex” where we all have our own rooms and our own stuff. Connections to other dimensions, if you will.
Usually, like Sybil, I share my life with three or four primary bonds, and we switch easily. Who’s primary at the time has to do with a lot of different factors – but for the last year or so, the Doctor has been primary, and since I was sixteen years old, Spike has been a primary. He still is. Right now, it’s mostly the three of us, with the system guardian, Will, occasionally slipping in when he’s needed for anything as well. I might go into more detail later as to who these people are (I keep saying I’ll do that… been saying it for years, and I still haven’t done it… but here’s yet another promise to remind me that I mean to do that some day. :P) Though they do have their own livejournal… However I don’t think they’ve used it in years. I guess I’m really the only blogger in the system.
The next movie we want to watch is The Three Faces Of Eve – even older than Sybil, but still relevant. I’m in such a stable headspace these days that I want to finally learn more about what’s going on that’s resulted in us being as we are… No matter what that means. So far, though, it’s only confirmed what I already knew.
Yes, I am the primary personality of a high functioning system. Yes, there are other people in the world who live as we do – and function in perfectly normal lives. Yes, there are advanced and horrifying cases of the same sort of thing.
And what I’ve come out of it with the realization of is that I… am pretty well adjusted, all things considered.