phorei: (Default)
phorei ([personal profile] phorei) wrote2017-01-02 02:44 pm

How Integration Works for Us

Hello, world.

We have polyfragmented dissociative identity disorder, and one thing that came fairly naturally to us after a little less than a year of treatment is the integration process. We don't see a lot of writings on how to do it, so we thought we'd write about it here. We don't intend to fully integrate, like ever, but when you have over 3,000 alters (most of which are fragments, but still,) it gets a little...impossible to manage? We have good internal relationships inside, but not being able to be present long and strongly enough to be oneself, and navigating time sharing between so many parts is very hard on us.

A few notes -
I don't know what it's like to be less fragmented, but I hear integration is much slower and harder for people with smaller systems. Since for us, many of us are very small fragments with only a small piece of a bad experience or behavior, so it's very piecemeal and in some ways that makes it a lot easier to integrate since everything is in such small packets.

Onto our integration process!

So there are a few components this boils down to for us -

1. Holding the association- the feeling- of two alters together, imagining what the two look like together. For us, since we experience our alters as colors, we hold their colors together. This is probably the hardest part to explain, there's definitely a feeling of integrating together.

2. Reviewing the two alter's traits, trauma, and current life. For instance, if alter A holds CSA trauma from the age of 8, and alter B is a daily life alter that is passionate about their scientific job, then the two take responsibility for each other. Like alter A admits that their life moved on and that they now have a job and friends that they love, whereas alter B admits that they went through CSA when they were 8. At this point, feeling as mutually appreciative, accepting, and loving of each other is critical.

In fact, I would say that is literally what it boils down to. Loving the other alter (and vice versa) and accepting them as yourself.

It's actually very simple when you get right down to it. For us, we can still feel the individual alters inside, but after doing this they always present as a mixture of each other, and work in synchronicity. It's really interesting how the traits combine into someone slightly new, but clearly still based on the alters involved.

It can take a few hours to a few months for the integration to really settle. Neither alter dies; rather they become both at once.

Be warned that the trauma of each alter involved will start posting, if that makes sense. Both alters will gradually become aware of each other's trauma memories. In our case, since many of our alters are integrating between subsystems, this also opens up the subsystems of each alter involved (if only to the integrated alter) and more memory bleed through and contact with deeper alters happens. This is a beautiful thing, but if you like to take things slowly or are easily destabilized by system work, it is good to plan this out very carefully and account for potential short-term destabilization (though of course we find that we re-stabilize very quickly, and usually have some sense of being better than we were before.)

Note - in our experience, this is completely reversible if need be. A few of our integrations like this eventually broke apart because the alters involved were more needed elsewhere, and that's okay too. Not all of one's integrations will stick, and may not stick in the long term, but that doesn't mean anything bad. Just having been able to work together- even if temporarily- like that can reveal so much about your system and can promote self-love among parts, which is never a bad thing.