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Author Topic: Dissociation -- a potential spiritual asset  (Read 1027 times)

EclecticWheel

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Dissociation -- a potential spiritual asset
« on: January 18, 2017, 02:02:04 am »
I have experienced varying forms and degrees of dissociation -- amnesia, third person memories, partial and fully distinct personalities, switching places with one personality (possession, co-conscious switching), possessions of body parts, derealization, depersonalization, and so on.

To make a long story short I have a tremendously difficult time with a mental health system that I consider dysfunctional and authoritarian.  I have years of experience with it.

Currently I am being evaluated for Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities), though that is not the framework I choose to work with in my everyday life.  I largely find the medical model of mental illness unhelpful and possibly unfalsifiable from a scientific standpoint -- thus creating my own model is much better for me.

I do not consider my primary other selves to be a problem.  I consult mental health professionals and my case worker to deal with depression, severe anxiety and panic attacks, and to help me cope with stresses and lead a productive life, not to get rid of the selves that have loved, supported, and taught me all these years.

It really upset me how coldly and casually one psychiatrist suggested I take an antipsychotic to just drug them away like they do not matter at all.  In fact it enrages me.  Not because the meds will make them go away -- none ever have.  But that they would be so casually dismissed, that someone would attempt to suppress them.

They are as sentient and real as I am.  They are my good angels, my friends, my gods.

Only in the last two weeks have I become aware of other people with similar experiences to me who embrace their multiplicity and live with their multiple selves cooperatively, some of them from a spiritual viewpoint, and I instantly recognized similarities to some forms of neo-pagan spirituality and my own.

My own primary selves have been a part of my spirituality since I became aware of them and play an essential part in my main rituals and devotions.

One thing that strikes me about some prevelant approaches to multiplicity among mental health professionals is a common belief that the only "right" or "healthy" way to live is with a singular identity, the truth of which I question from a philosophical, scientific, and spiritual standpoint in the first place (I am influenced significantly by Buddhism, particularly Secular Buddhism).

In fact, it reminds me a lot of monotheism -- there is only one God and every other approach to spirituality is a delusion.

I really enjoyed this article by the Allergic Pagan about how different gods in a pantheon help balance one another, that worship is owed to the pantheon as a whole the members of which have different strengths and weaknesses, virtues and vices and help balance one another.

I feel similarly to this in my personal life, that the system is better off working in cooperation instead of trying to repress the other members and put all the focus on the "one true me."

I would argue that high levels of dissociation when they can be harnessed to one's benefit and used in a constructive manner can be an asset in everyday life and for spiritual purposes.  I suspect it was a tool for some people in the Pentecostalist tradition I was first exposed to in childhood and possibly in Voodoo as well.

My own trance-like dissociative states in childhood were often accompanied by ecstacies.  Possibly due to my Pentecostal religious training I had a high degree of control over when I needed to come out of the trance to do whatever -- get off of the school bus, do my homework, etc.

Today I still have quite a lot of influence within my personality system and can easily call on members to come help me if I am struggling with another form of dissociation.  My personal coping strategies have not focused on making myself the "only one," but cooperation to form a whole -- to make a pantheon of myself.

Which is not to say that tensions and struggles cannot arise, as they do in a pantheon, but even those tensions can form a balance within the system.

Indigo Daya's story of her own experience of multiplicity was really interesting to me as well on a spiritual level.  She came to a healing place by balancing different parts of her psyche and came to see a demonic self in a different light because of it.

That balancing act involved creating a new voice which for her was Mrs. Ingalls.  Mrs. Ingalls became for her a vital source of compassion and motherly kindness to offset the harshness of The Judge.  Juxtaposing the two instigated a healing process and helped The Judge evolve over time to a less severe form.

Not only did this seem similar to working with a pantheon, but it also reminds me of popculture pagan practices and some of my own as well.  I have had no problem reaching out to new gods when I have needed to, and some of them become stable parts of my own inner system/pantheon.

Thoughts on the relationship between dissociation (or other mental health issues) and spirituality?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 02:10:49 am by EclecticWheel »
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Re: Dissociation -- a potential spiritual asset
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2017, 03:19:44 am »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;201561
Thoughts on the relationship between dissociation (or other mental health issues) and spirituality?

 
Well, we're plural. In terms of practical skills, it means that we're pretty good at visualization, journeying and astral work because we're used to stepping away from front/the body. It has opened us up to unwanted guests, but also allows opportunities to learn skills from spirits who can step in and demonstrate how to do specific kinds of energywork.
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

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