It took me until 1986, when I was 16 years old, to realize that the voices in my head were not just separate trains of thought, that each voice in my head was its own thinking entity unto itself.
Shortly following this realization I spent 9 months as a resident in an adolescent program at South Oaks mental hospital in Amityville, NY. While I was admitted for suicidal depression, my doctor and I discussed my alters and discussed integration therapy, which we decided we were not interested in at the time. To this day I am still not interested in integration therapy, although there are occasions when internal subsets do integrate because they feel it is the right thing for them to do.
While in the hospital and in follow-up outpatient therapy, I learned some additional coping mechanisms to get me through some of my difficulties with my home environment, to remain functional and to continue to work on increasing my functionality, but not really to necessarily be healthy. I no longer needed continued inpatient treatment, but I knew that my life's work in self-help was not over.
The stay in the hospital was followed by a period of self-discovery, including getting to know the other people in my head. Each fascinating alter had their own history, their own distinct personality, and their own way of handling daily life. Most had different priorities.
It took time to effectively handle the multiple situation, which had been greatly aided by the coping skills learned in the hospital. I devised an internal system of checks and balances, rules for handling both internal and external difficulties, and successfully smoothed over how I handle the collective life, and maintained a facade of being a singular entity in a world that is basically prejudiced against multiples. A lot of my "house rules" are extensions of how I had behaved before I realized that I was a multiple, such as how I dealt with parents and the general public, while others had to be developed through the process of learning from our mistakes.
I graduated high school in 1987 and applied to earn our Associates in Liberal Arts at Kingsboro Community College. Meanwhile, I worked part- and full-time while earning my degree.
While taking college psychology, I deduced that part of my problems was due to the probability that several of my alters are Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and followed up with a conversation with my psychiatrist about it. BPD is basically a harmful way of handling normal projection. Imagine a stock market analyst who projects that a particular stock will go up, and preemptively sells shares before it actually does, and you might begin to get the idea of the problems that BPD caused us. I began work to put that particular issue into remission in 1990. I did some independent research on therapy for BPD, on how it affects the thought process, and conditioning myself to monitor my own thought processes to prevent acting on self-destructive projection. I successfully control my BPD tendencies now.
Due to difficulty agreeing on pursuit of a career or family, I earned my A.A. in 1990 with honors, and retired schooling for the time being to earn money and live life for a while. I needed time to figure out what direction I would be most comfortable going in.
In 1997, I met the first person I ever knew to be actively diagnosed as a multiple (MPD/DID). She was in integration therapy. It may have been the right choice for her -- she was certainly convinced of that, but it left me feeling uncomfortable, having gotten closer to some of the very alters who were being absorbed or eliminated from her system. One of the things I'd like to eventually pursue in my studies in psychiatry is how necessary it really is for persons diagnosed as DID/MPD to pursue integration, and alternative options to integration therapy for multiples.
I have since met and discussed multiplicity, its quirks, strengths and shortfalls, with many more multiples. Many of the most functional multiples choose not to enter therapy at all, and never seriously consider integration as a desirable form of treatment for what they do not perceive as a disorder or a serious problem, while fully admitting that it is out of the norm for our society. Many more choose to remain closeted, not discussing that they experience life through a system of multiple perspectives. Instead, they keep themselves hidden from friends and family for the sake of avoiding misunderstanding and fear on the part of people who have no frame of reference to understand the life of a multiple.
Sometimes it's hard to say which came first, the chicken or the chicken's egg. That's the way our sexuality relates to our being multiple-minded. Around the same time we first remember distinctly separate people being in our head, we also remember thinking of sex and love as being very fluid, very open and non-discriminatory.
We thought bisexually and polygamously -- we did not automatically assume that a man had to have a singular female partner, nor a woman a singular male partner. We thought love didn't limit itself based on genetics nor was quantifiable and must be hoarded or parceled out to only one individual for the remainder of your life -- those were values we learned in preteen years and in adolescence, and had to un-learn again in our adulthood when we re-discovered our bisexuality and that we were basically not predisposed towards monogamy.
We had a hard time fitting in as a bisexual polyamorous multiple child, as one may imagine. We hid all of these well, a good survival instinct being one of our better traits. We even tried to convince ourselves at many points that we were singular, heterosexual and monogamous.
Humorously, we once enjoyed role-playing games and reading science fiction and fantasy novels before we discovered we were a multiple, and stopped several years ago because our life is too interesting to advocate spending our time in a fantasy world.
Most of my work experience through my life was at the type of job where I was able to learn as I went along. I learned a great number of illustration, layout and other application programs either on my own at home before applying to work at jobs where I would use them, or on-the-job.
Self-led learning is a hobby of mine. I continue to read and research topics I'm interested in as a regular practice. I taught myself web programming including DHTML, cgi, and XHTML, and am learning unix and perl on my own as well. I learned all of these to facilitate the creation and maintainance of my own website.
I've done my own research and have written articles as a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I edited, submitted articles to, and managed production and layout for a local newsletter for a 2 year period.
I also am a member of the local bisexual community in New York City. I belonged to GLYNY (Gay & Lesbian Youth of New York) from 1987 until I was too old to be a member (the group has since changed its name to include Bisexuals and Transgenders). Just before I graduated Kingsboro Community College in 1990, I represented the Lambda Club, which was their first Gay/Bi/Lesbian club, so they could become chartered. In 1994, I joined BiRequest, which at the time was a weekly bisexual discussion group, and I still occasionally attend meetings which are now twice a month.
Due to difficulty deciding between pursuit of a career or family, I earned my A.A. in 1990 with honors, and retired schooling for the time being to earn money and live life for a while. I needed time to figure out what direction I would be most comfortable going in scholastically, although I fully intended to return to school once I made up my mind.
I was interested in learning ASL (American Sign Language) since early childhood, and followed up some independent learning with 2 years of immersion in the language and culture from 1991-1993. I took classes at the American Sign Language Institute (ASLI) in New York City and accepted an offer of employment there as well, where I used my skills in speaking ASL to talk to deaf staff and volunteers at the school.
Around the same time I was working at ASLI, I volunteered at the New York Open Center, where I had started taking herbalism classes a few years before. I was able to enjoy many eclectic classes while I was there. I took yoga, gypsy dance lessons (which I've since followed up through the SCA with lessons in middle eastern dance), herbalism classes (western/hermetic, chinese traditional medicine, wise-woman herbalism and ayeurvedic medicine), meditation, and countless other classes.
After all this eclectic learning while going to school and working part-time, my learning turned to computers. I began working full time in a service bureau similar to Kinkos, where people either hired the staff to do their Mac and PC computer-related projects for them, or rented computer usage by the minute or hour and occasionally ask the staff for help. I learned a lot about computers, and many of the most popular programs in use at the time, layout and graphic design, resume design, editing, camera-ready artwork, and so on.
In 1994, I had my first child. I then returned to work full-time while my son remained home with his father. Unfortunately my boss had replaced me during maternity leave and I was forced to find another job to be able to support my family. I quickly found a competitive job in pre-press, where my graphic design and layout abilities were augmented by learning more about how to bring computerized files to physical print. I worked with film processors, learned more about Linux systems, digital photography, photo retouching, magazine layout, poster, billboard and subway advertisement production, etc. I deepened my knowledge and experience of graphic design in those years.
In 1996, my husband and I separated, and I am now divorced. We continued to homeschool our son separately until last September when my husband put him into the first grade, and he is the top reader in his class. When I became pregnant again in 1997, I left my pre-press job because I was working with too many toxins in my environment and was getting increasingly ill. I have been a stay-at-home mom since, working on website design where I am a self-published author on the Internet. My younger son, who recently turned 4, is already reading.
I have always been a strong advocate of homeschooling with the belief that learning is an experience not limited to academia and school coursework, that everywhere you go you can be open to the opportunity to learn. Part of my decision to earn a degree through distance learning was based on my dedication to homeschooling my children: I wanted the opportunity to set a good example for them while pursuing my own degree at home. Since then, both of my children have actually entered NYC public schools, although I find that somewhat disappointing and disconcerting.
I have been interested in various aspects of healthcare for many years and I believe a career in mental health professions will bring me a great deal of satisfaction. Psychology is a topic that I find engrossing and has always been a lifelong interest of mine. My desire to study psychology is augmented by my interest in studying DID/MPD, human sexuality, and my experiences with self-help.