Pavilion: Voices of Plurality in Action



















Public Relations

Call for Volunteers

You've all seen people trying to come out as multiple -- on their webpages, on their livejournals, on lists, through email.

A lot of people don't know what to say. They've got good operating systems, or are on their way to it -- they're functional or getting there, they're obviously behaving responsibly, or learning to. But when they come out, they describe their experience in terms of MPD, or DID, or MPD/DID. They either say they've got MPD or DID -- even if they've never been within fifty feet of a doctor for the official diagnosis -- or they reference MPD or DID in their self-description.

They do it because the only words they know are the ones that have been served up to them their whole lives by the media and the medical establishment. "Well, that's what it says in all the books, so that's what I'm going to use to describe my personal experience."

They do it because of fear. Fear of what their friends are going to say, fear of rejection by other multiples, fear that they really are crazy. Fear of not being like other multiples they've seen on line -- fear of being alone.

Because they fear insanity, they play up to the stereotype without meaning to. They have journals where they dialogue with their others and the journals have names like "not sane", "schizoid," "snakepit" and even "schizophrenia". There used to be an ezine for multiples called "Asylum." They're reinforcing a negative message to themselves and to the world, and it's not necessary. They don't have to be afraid of anything, other than idiot state legislatures that pass involuntary commitment laws.

They should separate themselves from that kind of language, not endorse it. They should have friends who can witness for their strength and who know them well enough to know that this is not insanity.. it's just more than one person. They should be able to go someplace besides psychiatry-oriented webforums to find other multiples.

But they're frightened. They're seriously terrified of what people are going to think, so they call themselves crazy ... because of the old, false belief that "a person who worries about becoming crazy is in no danger of being crazy." (Actually, most genuinely psychotic people are aware there is something wrong, even when they're not sure what.) They do it so that they won't have people writing to them with "You don't think these people are real, do you?" "Do you realize how crazy this sounds?" "You need serious help.. have you thought about checking into Charter?"

It's even worse when they suggest that multiplicity may not be a crippling disorder but a way of life that can be just as normal as being singlet. "Are you kidding? Take it from me, my cousin's girl friend's sister-in-law worked for six weeks as a janitor in an MHU and told me all about it, and Those People are seriously disturbed. [Never mind how many of "Those People" are sick because their idiot psychs or nightmarish institutional conditions made them that way...] It's a tragic illness and if you think you really have it you should see a doctor right away, and if you're just playing around with fictional characters that you've adopted into your mental space, shame on you!"

That's where you come in.

We're asking newcomers to Pavilion -- many of whom have been through this -- to volunteer for a Public Relations Staff. Every time you come across someone trying to come out publicly as a multiple online -- on their webpage, livejournal, or elist, whatever it may be -- you send them a public response. You make them feel welcome as a multiple group. Say it. "Welcome to all of you." Tell them you're multiple too. Tell them about Astraea and the Layman's Guide and Amorpha and Pavilion if they don't know. Let them know they're not alone. Hold out your hands to them. By doing this publicly, you're also letting other people know that there are others out here, willing to support and encourage a fledgling.

You can also send them a private email. You can send them more information, and just chat them up. Get them to relax, make them feel that they're real. Assuage their doubts about personal variations that might cause them to feel they're not "really multiple".

See if they'd like to sign up for Pavilion and help get public recognition for multiples so that people newly recognising themselves and announcing their existence to the world need never feel alone or crazy again.

You know what to say, because you've been there.

If you want to volunteer to work in PR, please write to pavilion at karitas dot net, or post to Pavilion Hall. PR workers should post to Pavilion Hall with public messages directing people to appropriate resources. Also, summarize what you've done in outreach so that the rest of us can adapt your strategies for our own use.