Could you explain the difference between a did system and a natural system?
This is actually a bit of a loaded question.
DID/OSDD-1 systems are collections of alters or parts that experience a complex array of dissociative symptoms such as depersonalization, derealization, amnesia, identity confusion, and identity alteration. DID/OSDD-1 systems are usually traumagenic, or the result of long term or repeated relatively severe childhood trauma (DID especially is associated with severe childhood trauma such as neglect or abuse). Sometimes, presentations similar to DID/OSDD-1 can be the result of iatrogensis, or professional influences, or of sociocognitive influences such as the media, friends, or support groups. Finally, pseudogenic DID can also result from someone with a disorder such as BPD mistaking their condition for DID and so assuming the social role of a DID trauma survivor. DID especially is almost always comorbid with PTSD or C-PTSD, and both disorders are frequently comorbid with depressive, bipolar, anxiety, obsessive compulsive, or feeding and eating disorders or with addiction or substance abuse problems.
Natural systems are systems that claim to have neither DID nor OSDD-1. In some cases, this label may simply be mistakenly applied to DID/OSDD-1 systems due to a variety of possible misunderstandings. For example, a system may decide that they must be natural because they experience no time loss or amnesia, not realizing that OSDD-1 requires neither. Other systems may not remember any childhood trauma or not realize that what childhood trauma they have experienced is significant or “bad enough.” Again, they may not be aware that even if their trauma wasn’t long term, repeated, or the type of trauma that most often causes DID, it might still have caused OSDD-1, especially if it was combined with other factors.
Often, “natural multiples” are on the autism spectrum, and it’s possible that developmental abnormalities present in ASD may make it more likely for an individual to fail to integrate a single perception of self. ASD and other childhood disorders naturally make life more difficult and, in the case of ASD, make victimization more likely, increasing the chances of DID or OSDD-1 being developed.
Finally, some individuals call themselves “natural multiples” because even though they know that they’ve survived significant trauma as a child, they don’t attribute their multiplicity to that trauma. In this case, they may be unaware of the theory of structural dissociation and its premise that DID/OSDD-1 form from a lack of integration of parts, potentially contributing to the illusion that multiple fully developed individuals were present from the beginning of the individual’s life (the “illusion” being that alters or even non-dissociative individuals are ever fully developed from the beginning). In reality, it’s likely that these systems simply picked up on the fact that there was never one original personality but don’t realize that had they not experienced trauma, all of their parts naturally would have integrated into one stable identity as they got older and developed.
However, some systems insist that they never survived any trauma at all and simply are multiple. Others go further and insist that their multiplicity formed during adulthood or during their teenage years, neither of which are possibilities for DID or DID-like OSDD-1. Views on how this is possible are mixed. Some believe that in some cases, multiplicity can be simply a natural state of being. Others think that individuals who hold these beliefs are mistaken and that their experiences are actually attributable to other disorders or conditions. Finally, some believe that these “natural systems” are flat out faking or taking imaginary games too far. This blog is not the place for discussing which of these options is most likely or might apply to individual Tumblr users.
It should be noted that some individuals are neither neatly DID/OSDD-1 nor natural systems. These individuals may or may not believe that their experiences are trauma/dissociation based, but they reject the idea that their experiences are inherently disordered and so fit the labels of DID or OSDD-1. These individuals may also object to the implications of their others being labeled alters, parts, or self states. Again, these individuals may fit into any of the above categories.
I hope that this answers your question, and I hope that you and others find nothing within this post to be distressing, offensive, or otherwise upsetting. Again, this is a very loaded and controversial topic within both communities.
-Katherine of Those Interrupted