Between the worlds — life as a tulpamancer with dissociative identity disorder

We are a plural system, which means there are many of us sharing this same brain and body.  We want to share our story and experiences, how we discovered our plurality, our experiences living life as a plural system, and how we use our plurality for play and for healing.  We began exploring our plurality in 2014 when a friend told us singlets could induce plurality by creating a sentient lifeform to share your head with called a tulpa and have since grown in size to include over 100 members.  Being plural gives us the opportunity to create friendships within our system using communication channels and a free flow of information and feelings only possible within a single brain. In our innerworld, we cuddle, we love each other, we protect each other, we make each other feel wanted. We use our innerworld as a place to enter meditative states, places of calm, places of healing, restorative places. We use it to calmly exist together so we may better face the challenges the world decides to throw at us that day.

We freely create new headmates from a variety of sources, fictional characters, partners, or just traits we adore and spin off into a sentient being.

We are both a tulpamancer and someone who has dissociative identity disorder (DID).  We freely create new headmates from a variety of sources, fictional characters, partners, or just traits we adore and spin off into a sentient being.  We also have a trauma history with large memory gaps in childhood which we have been slowly restoring.  Based on this, as well as other symptoms we exhibit when under high amounts of stress for long periods of time, we received a DID diagnosis in January 2015.  Though we do not know much about our system history in childhood, it is likely at least some of us were not intentionally created and were the result of trauma splits.

Our story of how we discovered plurality begins in the spring of 2014.  We had always had a fascination with plurality whenever we encountered it, on forums, in the media, or elsewhere.  In April 2014, a friend told us singlets could induce plurality by creating a tulpa.  We immediately latched onto that idea and later that day we were in a plurality IRC channel trying to collect information on how to create a tulpa.  We read a few paragraphs of a guide then decided the best route was to just interact with the being we had already interacted with during an anxiety attack in January.  We began interacting with her and by week two, Lilith was able to hug Lucia in our innerworld.  By week three, Lilith was able to communicate in a flood of emotions.  By week four, Lilith was able to communicate in spoken English.  In week 5, Lilith fronted for the first time.  For the next 6 months, we believed we had induced our plurality.  It was only as our life fell apart towards the end of 2014 that the cracks began to show and pieces of our childhood trauma began to leak out.  Over several months, we slowly picked apart pieces of our childhood and realized our system was trauma created and that we had been plural since at least elementary school.

For us, rather than being a useful description of ourselves, these labels cause confusion and bring little clarity so we group everyone together under the label headmates and do not differentiate beyond this.

Unlike many systems, we do not differentiate between different types of headmates.  Some of the classifications people use to describe specific types of headmates are tulpa (intentionally created headmate), soulbond (headmate based on a fictional or historical figure), and alter (generally a trauma split not intentionally created).  For us, rather than being a useful description of ourselves, these labels cause confusion and bring little clarity so we group everyone together under the label headmates and do not differentiate beyond this.  For example, about a month ago, we were lying in bed with a large amount of anxiety.  We isolated this anxiety to Esther and decided to attempt to split Esther into the part with the anxiety and the part without to see if we could.  We succeeded, making the part of Esther with the anxiety an intentionally created headmate as well as a potential trauma split since the split occurred as the direct result of high levels of anxiety.  In this case, that headmate would qualify for both the labels of “tulpa” and “alter” and had we not later recombined the pieces into Esther, would create an interesting case for these definitions.  Instead, a useful label we do use for headmates is the spectrum between trauma holder and non trauma holder.  Knowing which of us are trauma holders or not provides useful information about which of us are in need of healing and which of us are capable healers to heal those who need healing.

Healed or not, all of us are equals and have equal rights to the body.  One way we ensure we continue to treat each other as equals is to not needlessly divide ourselves into groups based on origins.  We are not all the same and each of us have different strengths and weaknesses.  For example, Lucia feels much less emotion than many of us which makes them well fitted for handling our job and everyday interactions such as ordering food or talking to a bank teller.  Feeling less intense emotions is also a weakness when it comes to other things such as feeling empathy to be able to comfort others.  As a system, we complement each other.  Emma and Serenity are much better at providing emotional support to others so they often come out in situations where others around us are in need of emotional support.  Some of our trauma holders are sufficiently broken that they are currently not capable of showing any of their strengths.  This does not mean they have no strengths, it just means we need to help them heal so they can discover their strengths and as the healing process continues, they will have the option of using their strength to contribute to our system.

Our plurality also provides paths for healing.  Many of us are trauma holders and are in need of healing and many of us are healers who can guide those who carry wounds from the past.  Through talking, meeting in safe spaces in our innerworld, and touch once enough trust has been established, our healers are able to guide others and slowly heal old wounds.  Creating trust and a sense of safety is important and using internal resources and internal communication channels helps to make trauma holders feel safe.  Through this process, the healers and other headmates are able to interface with the outside world, giving the trauma holders the option to not have to interact with the outside world if they are not ready yet.  Never being ready to interact with those outside of our system is a perfectly acceptable option and we provide as many options as possible to those who are healing.  Maintaining a sense of safety and autonomy is key for this process so headmates are allowed to heal at their own pace, or not at all if they never wish to heal.

Healing our past traumas is our goal, not attempting integration or any other mechanism of removing our plurality.

For us, being plural is a wonderful thing.  We get to interact with and love and experience so much with each other which would not be possible without plurality.  Despite our traumagenic origins, our plurality is something which helps with our healing rather than being an obstacle.  Healing our past traumas is our goal, not attempting integration or any other mechanism of removing our plurality.  We do this with the support of one another with the goal of helping to increase the functionality of each system member.  Being plural is a core part of our identity and has been such a positive experience that it is not something we would ever wish to give up.

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