Sunday, May 15, 2011

We Answer Some Follower Questions

It's a questions day; and it's Mental Health Awareness Month - you may have seen us mention it a time, or a hundred, in the last couple of weeks.

We get a lot of questions on Twitter...usually though it's "Who is 'we'/'us'"...and we mostly ignore that because in our bio it says "Who we are" and it provides a damn link to this blog.

People are lazy.

Anyway, sometimes we get e-mailed a question or two, sometimes DM'd. We thought since it's Mental Health Month that we would address some questions in a blog entry, though you should know we are always open to answering questions to help people understand a little better.

So, here you go. Thanks to three courageous woman, and one brave man, who were willing to ask us questions, each time hoping that we wouldn't brutalize them with our harsh words, we give you....questions and answers about what's it's like for us to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder. 


How many of us are there? @MischievousMsand @VickiLikesFrogs
To date there are 9, plus Frank. There are possibly more. We have only been working on our mapping* for a little over a month, and as mentioned in previous entries, it's exhausting work. It causes the head to be foggy and ache, and it makes some of us anxious.

We've researched it a bit about mapping, apparently frequent updates are normal because it takes a long time to figure out who everyone is and how they work, and why they are there/what trauma they came out of. We have an online mapping blog, we've shared the link with those who ask, though it is accesbile through this blog for people who read more than the posts we shove through Twitter each day. We don't always mention new entries because sometimes they are running feeds of emotion. And highly embarrassing to some of us.
So, yeah, 9. as of today. We have taken a bit of time off from working on it due to current events in our life, we will soon get back to it, and the number may increase. It's confusing, even to us. 

Just read your last blog post (the mapping one) and i DO have a question. When you speak of the alters**, and everyone's distinct personalities, I'm wondering why it seems that each personality is a negative voice (whiny, angry, needy etc). this is NOT a judgement at all, i'm just really curious to find out if any of them are positive influences, that push the others to be/do better etc? @Cheekie
We responded to Cheekie in an e-mail, we'll take what we said and elaborate a bit, this is what we had to say to her that day (it was possibly over a week ago now) 
"Bethany is generally pretty positive, as am I (Frank). Ivy is really positive too...Catherine and Sam are a mess (angry, paranoid), Cassandra is fun, she just cries a lot. Esmeralda is fun, she's positive, she's [a bit] slut[y]. The other ones, who still haven't given over names...well...they have some self loathing for themselves and for each [of the] other[s]...there are others too, we're pretty sure, these [the ones mentioned in this message] are the ones that have been willing to let us write, or talk to/about them."
Here is what we have to say today. 
The blog entry in question, where Frank shared dialog from inside the head is only a small portion of what goes on "up there". That day was very stressful for her, as many days have been. It's hard for her to manage all of this, she's never been the executive/host** before this year, now that someone had to take over for The Other Girl (The Core**, who is now gone). We tend to have a lot more switching** than we used to, which is fine for now. 
Many of us are positive, we just have bad days, and when we all have bad days at once, like the day of that blog entry, then it turns into a stressful mess - especially if we can't get those who are causing problems to "go to their room" 
The day that Frank shared the dialougue was a day where many of them were present, and many of them we're being needy and whinny that day. They've been very distraught over the last little while.
And how can I tell who's who? @VickiLikesFrogs
Usually you can tell by the nature of the Tweets, sometimes there are more than one that are allowed to Tweet. You can definitely tell when Bethany is the only one around because she gets silly and excited, and starts posting strange things with strange messages. For example, we've mentioned the unicorn fiasco (she likes to pretend we are a unicorn, some of them like to humor her)...and the bubble night, in previous posts.
As for the others...if it seems highly sexual in nature that is liekly Esmeralda (Emmie) - though many of us are known to flirt a bit. Anger, extreme, is Sam...and he usually stays away from Twitter because he doesn't like Twitter, and we prefer he says away because he'll just be mean to people. 
As for the others, We can tell...we don't know if you guys can. When we look through our Favstar sometimes Frank will be "That's so [fill in one of our names] ; usually though it's clearer in our interactions with people on Twitter, or in real life. Fabulous People can tell who we are, we think.
I don't know if that answers your question really.Most people in real life wouldn't be able to tell unless they dealt with us on a daily basis and knew we had the illness, generally switching** just comes off as being strange, quirky, moody, flaky or funny. That's why it is so easy to hide MPD/DID in everyday life, people write you off as being eccentric.
Ok, whose idea was it to wear those pink sparkly shoes the other night? And was everyone else pissed when they woke up with bloody feet? @VickiLikesFrogs
The night, and shoes, in question was last Saturday night, when we had a rare chance to go out with Fuck Face. They were naughty that night, those involved in the event, which is to say Cassandra and Esmeralda It was one of the few nights out where we/they did not lTweet. Generally when we/they have spent time with Fuck Face we/they do not tweet, if only because time spent with him was so precious to them that other than a random Tweet from the washroom, or when he went to the washroom, our twitter account was generally TwitterDeadAir.
When we woke up the next day the heels were not as bad as most would assume, thankfully. We tend to heal quickly when it comes to those kinds of wounds. Black and blue spots, and other internal injuries, on the other hand, take much longer to heal. Luckily that nights adventure did not contain any of that. We were mostly aware of what was going on, so we were not surprised; we just had no way to control the situation. Like being a passenger in a car, who won't follow your directions.
The reason that this particular injury happened, according to the drunken Tweets that were transmitted on the walk home, was the silly girls were being stubborn because they didn't want to take a cab, and Esmeralda decided early on that night that they deserved to suffer, a) because she doesn't mind pain so much and b) because she knows how stupid they are all being, being in love with Fuck Face. It's not like they're clueless to the fact. So she decided that we would suffer a little. She's a bit twisted. (you have no idea)
The heels were actually bleeding by the time they met up with Fuck Face, and then they continued to walk around with him, scoping out alleys to make out in, for hours. Then they attended a metal show, and then the girls walked home.
Do all of your alters know about each other? Is there any way to control who's in charge at any given time? Do they ever argue or fight? How does that work? Is it like having several room-mates? How does it work? @VickiLikesFrogs \ @NickSilly had a very similar question to this, regarding how we resolve conflict, we hope this explains it a bit for him.
Do we know about each other? Thanks to mapping we do now; mapping and of course, Marisa (@IAmTheCrew), our friend on Twitter who has been through this before. 
Frank didn't know about any of them at first, only Bethany, who she used to call Bitch because of all the anger, sexuality, depression, etc. - the strife that she was causing that she thought was only Bethany. As Frank took over and started listening better she stared hearing the others more clearly, which scared her at first. She talked to Fabulous People about it and dealt with it for awhile. That was in February or March. As time progressed she became aware of everyone, particularly through the mapping we were all doing. Without this blog, without the mapping, we would honestly be dead. Frank would not have been able to handle anything that has happened to us without knoweldge of the others. Some days we read old entries and some of us don't recognize those things that are written, don't associate with the feelings and emotions and thoughts that are in the entries. Through this blog we have come to learn about each other, in the same was you are learning about us in general.
Is there any way to control who's in charge at any given time? Sometimes there is control in who gets to be Executive/Host**[in charge], sometimes there is not. If we encounter a trigger** then control becomes almost impossible. For instance, one of the rooms we have to work in has a paint colour that is a trigger [we don't know why yet]. When we have to be in that room (Some Tuesdays, all Wednesdays) Sam forces a switch and he becomes host; which is hard for those who share co-consciousness**  because he tends to scare some of them. Those days usually end with us in tears.
Sometimes we just let whoever is interested in being, be. Last weekend Frank took some time to herself and gave over control to others. They all need to learn to be themselves a bit; The Other Girl had prevented it for so long because she was afraid of what the people close to her would say. 
Do they ever argue or fight? How does that work? They fight, they bicker, they argue, they name call. But they also have a lot of fun together. It's like having a head full of children, and adults. All who have different desires, and likes and dislikes; when there are many of them around that is. Bethany doesn't tend to fight or argue, and she usually share co-consciousness with each of the alters; unless we are doing things of adult nature, such as sex, drinking, etc. - we try to keep her away then. She tried to play last night before we were going out, before we started drinking and she got very upset at us. For a bit it was not a fun time, having to tell her "no".
As far as how does that work? We compromise, like with any good relationship. Sometimes though they do not get their way. Frank will take Catherine to the grocery store and let her look at food, and pick out one thing - otherwise we would have far to much junk food in the house. (Catherine has food issues) Sometimes Catherine will stand in line at the grocery store and tear up, because even when Frank is not host, as long as she is sharing consciousness, she will force Catherine to behave herself, and Catherine will tell her "I just want to eat". I've heard it, it's not a pretty situation. Sundays are the days in which Catherine is allowed to eat whatever she wants.
Sometimes when nobody agrees we don't get to do anything, which is our fear about our upcoming vacation. Nobody can agree on anything, some don't want to go at all, and they could very well stay in their room, but if we encounter a trigger and they have to switch** unwillingly, then it could be a bad time.
I could really go on and on about the battles we face with each other each day, but you get the picture. Frank tends to have a strong influence over their actions when she is around, when she's not, or when she is exhausted, she has less control and they tend to trample all over.
How does that work? Is it like having several room-mates?  We've written about this so we pulled it out of an old blog post and put it here 
"We were trying to come up with a way to describe what it’s like, the We that is us, how that works. Imagine living in a two story house, and you are usually on the main floor hanging out. There are other people who are on the second floor. Sometimes you can hear them like they are yelling down to you from upstairs, or the top of the stairs and you can see them; sometimes you cannot hear them at all. On occasion they come down to the first floor to hang out with you (in DID called co-consciousness), to see the things you are seeing, to talk to you more, to “hang out” with you (which is what Bethany likes to do, a lot). Sometimes more than one comes downstairs to hang out and it gets noisy, and then other times you go upstairs and somebody takes your place on the main floor, and you have to yell down to them, or watch from the top of the stairs. When you are not on the main floor someone has to tell you what went on when you were not there, and sometimes they won’t tell you right away, sometimes they tell you later, sometimes they won't tell you at all. Sometimes you are all by yourself on the main floor, and you can't hear anyone on the second floor, and if you are us, or me, you get lonely."
To simplify this let's just say that when they are on the second level, they are sometimes in their room, sleeping, doing whatever - if they are not standing at the top of those stairs. Some of them that we are trying to talk to more refuse to come out of their room. For instance, I stay in my room as much as possible - I am not needed often, nor do I enjoy the company of others. While I am hosting, however, I have duties that are required of me - like being social on Twitter. Sometimes I take a break, but not for long, and let the others have more control, so they can do what we are all supposed to be doing. 
It is sometimes like having several roommates, and when they are all in their rooms it is like being very lonely for the host, because our system does not have many fleshie friends in our real life anymore. (I am told we used to have a LOT)
Just wondered how the inner chatter dynamic works, as most of us have some negative 'self' talk, and when you're dealing with so many personalities, I can only imagine that one negative thought with one alter could set off a chain reaction and be a total nightmare! @VickiLikesFrogs
We don't know how other peoples negative selfs work. Usually a negative voice sets off a paranoid one, or a depressed one and then someone get's angry and then there is yelling, or crying, or we just want to lay on the floor and stare at a wall because it's so overwhelming. Frank told The Father one day that if it were not for the distraction of Twitter, we would spend a lot of time laying in bed starring at a wall. Twitter helps with head focus and keeps us from talking to each other about horrible things that make some cry, make some angry, and confuse all the rest.
Most of them also think Twitter is fun and like the socail aspect of it without having someone give us starnage looks for some of the stuff that comes out of our mouth. Sometimes, when we have many on the "main floor", we say a lot of different things and switch topics very quickly and often...sometimes they directly conflict with something we have just said. Sometimes we trail off and mumble in mid sentence because we can't control the mouth with the thoughts ...
How common is it in women to have a male alter? And how common is it for most of your alters to be that much younger than you are? @Cheekie
It's common. We don't know how common, but we looked up a bit of info after Cheekie asked, and found that there is one man who has a huge amount of alters, at least one of which is a woman. We imagine that it's not uncommon. We know we have one of us, Sam, who is a boy (he's 16); we are unsure if we have another. We have one unnamed, who is not around often, that has a masculine aura; but we think they just might be a very masculine female. We need to work on our mapping again soon and try to get them to come out and talk to us.
The age variance in alters is extremely normal. Acquired personalities tend to develop during the time of the trauma, the reasons they are formed. Some of them grow up with their core**, some of them stay the same age. They do not digress in age. For instance, Bethany has been part of the system since The Other Girl (The Core, who no longer exists) was 6. even though Bethany has no memories until they were 8. Bethany does not want to grow up, and she has the luxury of not having to. Some of the others grew up along with The Other Girl. Ivy decided that 18 was good for her. They all have their reasons for being here, they all have their reasons for not growing up. They have to be in the same body that ages, but that does not mean they have to grow in other ways.
How often do we go out and how hard is it to be in public? @NickSilly
We go to work each day. We go the grocery store every other day. Sometimes we go for walks. Generally that is all - we've been working on leaving the house more. When we had what was labeled a schizophrenic episode eight years ago we went through a period where we didn't leave the house for a long time. We're working on getting out of the house; it's difficult.
Being in public is hard if Catherine is in co-consciousness because she gets paranoid easily; it's why we try to always wear sunglasses - she get's freaked out when she thinks people are looking at our eyes. I really don't know why, she has not been able to explain it to anybody yet.
We feel comfortable with very few people when we go out, Fuck Face and Fabulous People are the only ones we have went out with this year. When we are by ourselves we can manage as long as we have our iPod. Sadly, drinking helps.
Who takes the lead when you have to deal with people in Real Life (#RL) @NickSilly
Unless there is a trigger**, or unless someone is specifically needed; for example, I am here to help with "The Fuck Face Situation" to get us through this as smoothly as possible and make sure there is no backing out of doing what we have to do; it's just naturally who we are that day. If we need a specific piece of information then the person with that information is either in charge, or shares co-consciousness**; sometimes there is a lot of shuffles when dealing with one person, sometimes there is none. That's actually a hard one for me to answer right now - I am overly familiar with how they deal with that. 
We hope we have answered your questions sufficiently, @MischievousMs, @VickiLikesFrogs@Cheekie, @NickSilly.

If anyone has other questions feel free to send us a message.

~Melody (mostly)

P.S. NickySilly has been a friend since our very start as We/Us on Twitter, he's been supportive and patient with us since mid-January. If you buy from Amazon, please, please, please buy through his affiliate link:  - it's also to the right under #TeamAwesome support. He's a great guy who is always there with a video for us to post on days when we cannot write.

*DID/MPD Mapping

Mapping is a technique used to learn about an individual's internal personality system. The client is asked to draw a map or diagram of his or her personality states. As therapy progresses, the client is asked to update the map. Also known as personality mapping or system mapping.[source:]
Information on mapping in Dissicoiative Identity Disorder: (Written November 4th, 2010 / by Holly Gray)


Personality Specifics
Alter: alter states, selves, parts (a subjective term); distinct personalities; fragments alternate personality, personality state, ego state or identity with its own unique perspectives, abilities, memories or other traits that differ from the Host or Executive personality.
The Core: The original birth personality.
Host: is the alter personality who dominates the control of the body most of the time and is often unaware of the other personalities. The host is usually the alter personality who will initiate after experiencing symptoms of mental distress, such as, anxiety, triggers or recovered memories.
Executive: When a personality (alter ego) has control of the body.
Switch: To switch from one personality to another. The process of an alter coming out from the subconscious mind into the consciousness mind while the other alter (who was already in the consciousness mind) slips back into the subconscious mind.
Who's out? A common question used to determine which personality is executive or host.
Co-conscious(ness): (The Core) A state of being aware of what the other personalities are doing and saying.

Other Terms:
Acquired: Anything that is not present at birth but develops some time later. In medicine, the word "acquired" implies "new" or "added." An acquired condition is "new" in the sense that it is not genetic (inherited) and "added" in the sense that was not present at birth.
Triggers: Hysterical conversion symptoms or body memories. Physical phenomenon such as pain, smells, tastes, etc.; re-experienced again.
Dissociation: In psychology and psychiatry, a perceived detachment of the mind from the emotional state or even from the body. Dissociation is characterized by a sense of the world as a dreamlike or unreal place and may be accompanied by poor memory of the specific events, which in severe form is known as dissociative amnesia.
Re-live: A total memory recall (includes visual, emotional, physical and all other senses).
Losing time: Also known as a Dissociative Fugue, is the period of which an alter personality is in the subconscious mind and has no recollection of the time that is being utilized by the alter personality who is occupying the conscious mind. Therefore when the alter switches into the conscious mind they realize that minutes, hours, days, or even months and years have passed since they were last aware of time.
System: is the structure of relationships between the alter personalities who live within the internal world of a survivor with D.I.D. Every system is created and operates in it's own unique way, just like every family living in their own homes run their households different from the next door neighbor.
Inner (Self) Helper: is usually the alter personality who has a good understanding of the system and how it works. The I.S.H. is also among the typical group of helpers or protector personalities.
Grounding: is the process of disrupting a dissociative episode and is accomplished by tugging on an earlobe, rubbing the hands together, or shuffling the feet back and forth. This type of physical stimuli can bring the survivors mind back to awareness of their surroundings, and helps to make them feel less animated.
For the month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, we will be posting this at he bottom of each of our entries, to help provide additional information about us, and about Dissociative Identiry Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder.

10 Things You Should Know About US That MIGHT Surprise YOU:
  1. We used to be a Baptist missionary (yeah, can you fucking believe that shit?!) [we are NOT religious]
  2. We were once married (didn’t last long) [one of our stories talks about him]
  3. We have had nearly 30 physical addresses in 30 years, mostly as an adult (nothing could contain us in the early days) [we actually own a house, but choose not to live in it]
  4. We’ve lived in 2 countries: 1 province and 6-7 different states (running much)
  5. We have lost 120 pounds since the age of 24 (100 of it when we were 24) [and it's close to 140 pounds now)
  6. We have a full time job (well, now it's 32 hours a week - but they actually let us work around the other humans!) [it get's harder everyday, and this is the longest we've ever had a single job since we were 17. We've been there almost a year]
  7. We deal with social anxiety type symptoms every day (and these days we choose not to leave home much, but for going to work) [there are about three people we feel comfortable with being in public with and sometimes we have to be out there alone]
  8. We have multiple “mental illness” diagnoses (doesn't everybody?) [p.s. all misdiagnosed]
  9. We have two beautiful cats, who piss us off every day (but they are special, because they put up with us) [though one of us hates them beyond belief]
  10. We have struggled to survive, over and over, defeating the odds thrown against us (read our stories) [seriously, how are we not dead yet?]

We've copied the stories written here that are specifically about our past (mostly abuse) and moved them to our other blog, called:
Addressing The Issue of Frank: The Origins, History and Life Story of Frank, from "Just Call Me Frank: One Womans Endeavour At Being Frank"  
(this blog also contains our artwork/photography - the following links will take you to that blog)
·                     1. Addressing The Issue of Frank: Part 1
·                     2. The Emergence of Frank: The Beginning
·                     3.The Emergence of Frank: The Second Coming
·                     4. The Emergence of Frank: Three Times A Rescuer
·                     5. The Emergence of Frank: Frank's Failure
·                     6. We Go To University & We Take A Lover (links to our other blog)
·                     7. Collision: The Other Girls Terrible Car Accident - Franks Coma
Some of our writing on this blog we like to promote, these are those entries since mid-January 2011. There are bits of writing in this blog that we do not actually promote due to embarrassment over things that some have written - they are here for our own tracking - they are angry, mean, scary things. If you feel like it you can find them on your own. Here are the highlights of what we have written so far this year:
The Mental Health Entries:
Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder
Humour/Random Fun:
If you have any questions for us we are very open and will answer to our best ability - this is totally the month to ask us questions. You can either ask us on Twitter, in the comment section of a blog entry here, or e-mail us at justcallmefrank2010 (at)

Resources for You - facts, figures and personal stories of other people can be found on t

hese sites:
National Institute of Mental Health:
American Psychological Association:
Canadian Mental Health Association:
Mental Health Europe:
World Psychiatric Association:

1 comment:

  1. i swear i commented on this last night. what happened? *sighs*
    trying again... damn good entry. kudos to those who took the chance to ask honest questions and huge hugs to you for the bravery to answer and to answer so well.
    much of this is familiar to me. i'm glad there is still someone out there willing to educate and enlighten about this. it's still mostly misunderstood. every speck of light shed kills a little more of the darkness.
    Love you.