Up until our diagnosis of DDNOS a little over a year ago our host RP was unaware of the rest of us alters, despite us having a high level of co-consciousness for years. And i suppose that makes sense since RP was basically the only one fronting ever. Now, that’s not to say that they (RP is agender, and we use the pronouns “they” when referring to them) did not notice that something was different about us. For instance, I know that at some point they told our therapist at the time that they felt like the body, mind and emotions were disconnected from each other, that thoughts did not reflect emotions and actions did not correspond to thoughts and so on. They wondered why they were unable to identify even the slightest with the body, and why “our” personality was so inconsistent. Not to mention all the times RP felt like the body was moving and talking by itself, that they had no control over what was going on. Sure, us alter did communicated sometimes, and while RP often did find those conversations strange, they just wrote it off as normal internal dialogues.
After being diagnosed with Aspergers and bipolar, and kind of sorting out the problems related to those disorders, RP slowly but surely became aware that we were several people sharing one body. As mentioned in a previous post, at first they dismissed the possibility of us being multiple because it just seemed too crazy. They did nonetheless draw a mind-map of all the “voices” inside and showed it to our therapist, who had no clue what to do with this information. We switched therapist, showed her the mind-map and soon after that she diagnosed us with DDNOS.
The alters that were included in that mindmap had been members of the system for years, which is why RP was able to identify them once things had calmed down with our bipolar and we had figured out our Aspergers more. At this point I’d also like to clarify that when RP is co-conscious with another alter, they are usually able to feel their emotions and communicate with them internally.
The first month after our diagnosis RP’s only way of getting to know the system more was mapping it. Every so often they’d draw a new “map” of the system members and write down every little piece of information they’d gathered. It was also during this time that RP and us alters together chose names for ourselves, which is why some of us have such unusual name. At the time we picked names with meanings that matched our personalities. RP would also try to figure out if there were more alters by writing down thoughts/emotions/opinions and so on that they could not backtrack to any already discovered alter. It didn’t work very well, don’t think they ever found anything conclusive that way.
A lot of the things we know about each other we have learned through co-consciousness. Feeling someone else’s emotions and being able to follow their train of thought makes it fairly easy to draw conclusions as to what kind of a person they are. However, this only let’s us know more about their personality (general attitude, moods, some likes and dislikes), there are still a lot of things we don’t know about each other. You can only learn so much about someone by observing them, some things you can only find out if the person decides to share with you, which brings us to our next “source of information”: alters voluntarily introducing themselves. Many things we’ve learned about each other simply because alters decided to tell us more about themselves. That is how we learned that Mimi was an orphan, that Benji lived alone with his father and so on. Now, naturally, some alters share willingly while others still have not opened up. We know very little about Stranger and Sinner, for instance.
Sometimes alters will give away some information during art therapy. They might decide to front and paint a picture, of a memory or what they look like. That is how we learned that Mimi has purple eyes, for instance.
About 6 months after our diagnosis, we experienced another trauma. I’m not gonna go into what happened, but I can tell you that it was not abuse. After that incident our PTSD-symptoms and dissociation intensified. Our memory became worse than ever, but we still worked hard on trying to communicate with each other, both on our own and in art therapy. At this point we had also already been hospitalized twice that year. From here on, things get very blurry, so bear with me
If I remember correctly, us other alters started fronting more frequently and RP tried really hard to stop interfering with us. And I suppose that fact that we got a chance to experience the world more helped us alters grow as people, and led to new discoveries about ourselves. Thanks to art therapy we also discovered a way in to the inner world.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think that every alter who surfaced after that incident already came with a name, which explains why some of us have more common names. And the last 4-5 alters to reveal themselves did so kind of dramatically by just popping up inside our head out of nowhere, usually when we’re about to go to sleep, or by simply making their way into our dreams, or both. (Most previous alter we’d discovered in flagranti/ when in action. For instance, the fact that I exist first dawned on RP when I was fronting and they were co-conscious with me).
I can personally see some sort of “evolution of communication” in our system, from being unaware of each other, to RP trying to figure us out to alters raising their voices and sharing voluntarily.
This was a long post, sorry about that. Hope it was interesting for you guys! Any questions are welcome, as always.