Other Experiences & Identities - atypical for the general population, much more typical for multiples & plurals
Introduction: "Would you like a list?"
When you're talking to a professional and they ask whether you have any health issues… sometimes it can really feel overwhelming. "Do you want them all, or just the top 3?"
We are not saying here that "all of people with <this> issue are also plural" — we are saying that these issues appear to be more prevalent amongst plurals than amongst the general population. And for some (anxiety issues) it makes total sense — where there is C-PTSD (for DID & OSDD it is extremely common), there is anxiety. For other issues in this section, EDS for example, it may be that an issue or disorder causes traumatic levels of pain or discomfort in itself, and that may contribute to developing a dissociative disorder to cope with that issue much less anything else going on for that body and all within it.
Also, as for acquired immune issues, it is well known that chronic PTSD affects the body and long-term health. People with C-PTSD can expect to develop auto-immune diseases, some of which can be quite debilitating.
So as more plurals & multiples come together to share information, we're finding many experience these issues frequently enough to mention them in the manual and give people some resources and comfort in knowing that they're not alone in this.
Finding "Co-Morbidities": Professional Gatekeeping & Lack of Holism
There are some professionals who acknowledge the overlaps between several co-occurring issues: autism, being trans, EDS (Ehler-Danlos Syndrome) or HSD (Hypermobile Spectrum Disorder), auto-immune issues (possibly from C-PTSD level trauma history and the effects on the immune system), eating disorders, and DID or OSDD…and others.
Yet, sometimes it can be hard with invisible differences to get professionals to help with diagnosis across many different things going on and interacting with each other.
At least in the US, medicine is very broken up into disparate specialties. Where one disorder may cross over and affect another is not well understood in Western Medicine, because of a lack of a holistic perspective of the human mind & body. This can lead to years of frustrated attempts to get proper treatment, inability to work, inability to get on disability due to no one putting all the pieces together into a bigger picture — and thus these issues can also lead to medical trauma for folk who already have enough going on. So many plurals who have these co-occurring issues are experiencing frustration with the medical establishment and are unable to get their needs investigated and cared for in a timely and helpful manner. Sometimes this neglect can go on for years, can threaten people's health or stability, or they're being shuffled back-and-forth between various professionals seeking elusive diagnoses for very real troubles.
The result is that sometimes we are also being labeled as a difficult patient, potentially even being black-listed at medical offices, for trying to speak up and defend or advocate for oneself.
These issues are very real, many are very diagnosable, if only professionals would actually believe our experiences and look into what is causing us difficulties.
A good number of these issues are not solvable with surgery or medicine, and we need accommodations and for society to make space for autistic or disabled people. We're not just going to go away.
Helping Yourselves: Choosing a Team & Self-Advocating with Co-Morbidities
Please feel free to send this article to professionals on your team if you need to explain to them that these comorbidities or co-occurring neurodivergent issues etc. are common enough to investigate even if you are already diagnosed with DID or OSDD.
If this article describes you and your system, you can try to find an osteopath (a holistic branch of licensed medical practitioner) or find a primary care physician who is good at using a more holistic approach and can act as something like a case manager, putting all the different issues and reports together and helping with the bigger picture in how to help you manage everything going on, and helping to manage which specialist(s) you need to see next to get the information and care you need.
If you have too much medical trauma to seek out help from the medical establishment, it's possible that a chiropractor (if not too "medical-ish" for you) may be able to help you, as they are a branch of holistic medicine with a big-picture view of the body. Some chiropractors have non-adjusting methods to work with your body and help your body learn how to align itself better, which may provide some physical symptom relief.
There may be other holistic arts that are helpful for you, or you can choose non-medical means such as alternative medicine, self-healing & self-help techniques to attempt to manage your issues.
Sometimes you just have to self-diagnose. Sometimes doctors won't even look hard enough until you mention a disorder name or point them in the right direction (a test they can run, a specialist they can send you to). There's no shame in looking things up and trying to figure out what your symptoms or issues may fit.
Especially for 'invisible' issues such as autism, or EDS, you might not realize that's what's going on until you talk to others with it and suddenly everyone understands you after years of difficulty discussing or describing something you've been struggling with. Once you find such synergy, it's usually easy to look more into it and verify what you suspect with yourselves.
If you cannot seek medical assistance, self-diagnosis may be all you have — and may be all you need — to get assistance and help with whatever is bothering you.
And in some cases, like autism, if you find community, often that's exactly what you needed all along — not to be "fixed" but to be "found" and be in a space where you are typical and usual and people understand your needs.
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