There is a wonderful woman who I know who is also a multiple. She has been doing some great work with her therapist and making some big changes in her life. I don't know a lot about how her system works but she has told me a bit about who is there and some of their roles.
The other day she told me that one of her Alters had integrated. I find it so exciting as she is the first person I have known who has been through this experience and it was such a positive one the I felt really encouraged by it.
For those of you who don't know how it all works, I will do my best to explain it now.
When someone goes through trauma and gets DID their mind fractures into different parts , that we call Alters. These alters are separated by Dissociative barriers. These barriers prevent them from functioning together, sharing thoughts and skills, and in most cases will prevent them from knowing there are even other alters there. A bit like a house with different rooms and no one communicates with anyone not in their room.
Integration is when one or more of those walls or barriers comes down and the two alters can now become one and function together. They now share experiences, thoughts, actions, memories and emotions.
Integration is some times thought of as getting rid of alters, but I do not like what that can mean. It means that a part of you must disappear, and some alters will do just that for a time because they think it is what is wanted or needed. This does not lead to healing, merely confusion and feelings of insignificance. All our alters are a part of us and are here for a reason. They were formed to help deal with something we didn't know how to deal with. They are all a part of the whole and all equally important. Each alter has their own set of skills, memories and abilities, if we lose the alter we lose what they bring to the system.
Integration is about bringing all these skills, memories and knowledge together into one functioning human being, who can access these skills whenever they need or want.
One of the parts that fascinates me the most with my friends partial integration, is that she says she can now feel her alter with her all the time. She has access to the alters feelings and strengths, they are now hers. The two have become one and it is expanding her abilities and how she functions. I am so very proud of her and I am excited about the road ahead for all of us with DID. To have the chance to be one with all those inside me and to be able to share all their skills and knowledge with ease is a very exciting thing. I suspect a long way off, but who knows.