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isn't it funny tho that DID is defined as "having this and this and this symptom, _except_ if this is part of a cultural practice, then the exact same symptoms are not a disease"

like nobody will say that of a body disease? "these itches mean you have chickenpox, unless having chickenpox is part of your culture"

we found some articles that compare DID with shamanism/mediunity, including the Brazilian kind. the common results seem to be that the, let's say, neutral symptoms (multiple identities, amnesia etc.) are the same in both, but the "negative" ones (trauma association, distress, negative impact on life etc.) happen only in DID.

I feel like there's a kind of condescending subtext to the medical field, like, "oh these primitive people treat DID in a superstitious way and then I guess that's a backwards way of making a social space for ppl with the condition, but we don't want to be ~intolerant~, so let's say that when they do it it's not a disease"

but if the "negative" effects of multiple identity (using this term on purpose) come not from the condition itself but from the way society treats ppl who are this way,
then I don't think it's a mental disease, I think it's the scientific enlightened industrial capitalist society that has an unacknowledged disease.

I'm not saying all you rational skeptics should believe in spirits and whatnot. But maybe if there was _some_ kind of allowance for DID people to be safely out about it and acknowledged and respected, then maybe the "distressing" parts of the condition might just resolve as if by magic and presto, it's not a mental disease anymore? Just my R$0,02 here. (B.)

@quengaral So the other day in a meeting with disabled people I outed myself as trans (because it was relevant) and I ended up explaining transness by relating it to something I expected a group of disabled people would know about, which is the social model of disability: the disabling thing being not our impairments (or our transness) but how we're treated by society.

And it sounds like that could apply to DID/plurality/whatever it's best to call that, too.

@bright_helpings yup, we agree it's in the same general kind of thing, I just though the DSM-V caveat criterion ("The disturbance is not part of normal cultural or religious practices") made the patholosiging particularly blatant.

lots of other stuff from The Trans Experience have structural equivalents this side of the rainbow too, like a particularly strong form of medicalism and intra-community gatekeeping. This time around we have a lot less patience left for it. (B.)

@quengaral I think it’s fairly reasonable to say that distress from being different compared to societal norms is a huge contributor to disabilities in that society, and not inherently a “disease” of those people. - Lily&

@quengaral actually, a lot of the negative parts of DID come from the intense and prolonged trauma that causes it. As well as internal conflict among alters, losing time, and persecutor alters. The social aspect is scary, but DID can be disabling even without it.

The reason that criteria exists is so that something that is a cultural phenomenon doesn't get labeled as a mental disorder. This is because treating it as a mental disorder would be harmful. However, DID systems need therapy specifically targeted at trauma and dissociation. A diagnosis would help me, but it wouldn't help someone whose plurality isn't actually DID.

DID is a disability, and it isn't insulting or stigmatizing to say so. A system can learn to function, but once they don't experience distress from their DID symptoms they no longer meet the criteria for DID. They'd be a plural system formed by DID.

therapy, colonisation, medicalisation, religion 

@systemupdate the question is that the coloniser culture doesn't have a social structure for multiple identities besides DID, which as you said, is defined by trauma and distress. The only social structure available is then medicalisation, which is the plural equivalent of "you need dysphoria to be trans".

Meanwhile traumatic experiences ("dark night of the soul", "the call", "the pain of the medium" etc.), internal conflicts ("doing the work", "it chose me I didn't want this"), dissociation ("possession", "externalising the spiritual body" etc.) and amnesia ("unconscious incorporation", "riding the horse") are all well-known parts of shamanic traditions worldwide, to various degrees and with local specificities. They're just seen as a meaningful path with social inclusion, recognition and prestige, rather than a disorder or anomaly to be hidden or normalised. Consequently the way it's dealt with (the way e.g. to resolve internal conflict or what's the meaning of distress, how to go about the distress) is very different than the therapy approach.

This is why, despite having both formative trauma and amnesia, we refuse medicalisation or the DID label and assert ourselves to be a mediunic body undergoing the call via spirit possession, in our native tradition. Because we put our trust to resolve distresses via spiritual guidance rather than coloniser therapy. We rely on therapy for other issues, but as for dealing with multiplicity and identity, we rely instead on the People of the Crossroads, of the Street and the Lyre, and the accompanying community structure.

Now suppose coloniser cultures had something like shamans – a social position for people whose body is host to many, with a full path from initial trauma to inner growth to leveraging the trait for what it offers, with guidance from both within and without, with full community support not in the form of a medical authority solving a defect but of fellow companions who see the trait as worthy of respect. I wonder how the success rates of "managing distress" would be then, compared to the current approach in the white world. (R.)

Long Discussion of Mental Illness, Psychiatry, and Mad Pride 

@quengaral We're deep in mad pride theory and a lot of what you're saying here applies more generally to the category of mental illness (indeed, we're pretty sure there are other mental illnesses which have "except when it's a cultural practice" as an exception).

One of the core ideas to mad pride is that we are hurt more by how our madness is treated socially than by the madness in itself. Even in cases where it's clearly harming us, like in most cases of trauma, societal treatment still drives the harm that's being done to us.

This forms a sort of critique of the category of "mental illness" (often in favor of terms like "madness" or "neurodivergence") by arguing that there's no such thing as inherent illness or disease to the mind.

This doesn't mean there aren't harmful mental states, simply that there aren't *inherently* harmful mental states, and the harm should be treated on a case by case basis.

With this view in mind, modern therapy and psychiatry have deep and systemic problems with viewing mental states in terms of categories of inherent harm and, in doing so, they destroy a lot of the autonomy of their subjects.

In place of that we necessitate a system which allows people to pursue "treatment" or chemical intervention if that's what they want to pursue, managing your mental states without seeking to change them if that's what they want to pursue, or getting accommodations for it and living with it, if that's what they want to pursue.

This is meant to ultimately center the subject of psychiatry as the driver of what happens to us, to return the autonomy of what to do about our mental states to ourself.

Quotation from the DSM 5 

@quengaral Ah, yeah. From the DSM 5 talking about Schizophrenia under the heading, "Culture-Related Diagnostic Issues" it says:

"Cultural and socioeconomic factors must be considered, particularly when the individual and the clinician do not share the same cultural and socioeconomic background. Ideas that appear to be delusional in one culture (e.g., witchcraft) may be commonly held in another. In some cultures, visual or auditory hallucinations with a religious content (e.g., hearing God's voice) are a normal part of religious experience."

Which is a long way to say that they don't "count" as hallucinations or delusions if they're widely held cultural beliefs.

This is precisely the same sort of thing that shows up with DID relating to culture.

Quotation from the DSM 5 

@deathpigeon @quengaral Was just thinking the other day about how it's odd that fits of religious ecstasy (as long as it's a recognized, "respectable" religion!) are ignored in analyses which classify altered mental states as pathological. Didn't realize the DSM did this _explicitly_ lmao

re: Quotation from the DSM 5 

@malnormalulo @quengaral It's interesting to us as one who experiences altered mental states both in the context of religious ecstasy and outside of that context, and, often, it's hard to tell the difference purely experientially, and it's only by looking at them afterward in the context of our religious practices that we're able to say which ones are religious ecstasy and which ones aren't.

re: Quotation from the DSM 5 

@deathpigeon @quengaral *smirking* sooo...if I create a religion which exactly explains my delusions as a normal part of the religious experience of my religion, I'm not delusional!

re: Quotation from the DSM 5 

@gemsys @quengaral the particular terminology for this is an "ecstatic religion" where you engage in "religious ecstasy".

and it's a lot of fun. highly recommend building a religion around your hallucinations and delusions.

re: Quotation from the DSM 5, mention of drowning 

@deathpigeon @quengaral it's a lot of fun (I'm doing it) but it's really fucking dangerous; it's like intentionally forgetting how to swim properly so you can flail your arms in mad glee. you can't entirely give yourself over to ecstasy or you'll drown

re: Quotation from the DSM 5, mention of drowning 

@gemsys @quengaral it can help to have guides while you do it so you aren't doing it alone.

re: Quotation from the DSM 5 

@deathpigeon @quengaral yeah, it's like modern art. yes, there's no structure, but like, there's so much *nuance* you have to paint structured paintings to learn the skills to paint unstructured paintings

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Plural Café is a community for plural systems and plural-friendly singlets alike, that hopes to foster a safe place for finding and interacting with other systems in the Mastodon fediverse.