As Jadzia Dax performs the Trill Zhian’tara ritual, which allows her to meet previous Dax hosts we meet with Praxis who shares with us their Journey with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). This very candid conversation allows us through this episode to glimpse what life with DID is like.
Before we begin looking into this episode I want to flag that this episode is no way an exact replication or 1:1 example of Dissociative identity disorder it is simply being used as a vessel and subject for analysis through the lens of this condition.
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From Xaviers Notes including time references for the epiosde
- 9:50 “the commission decided to force the issue” good Segway to talk about how DID goes from being a Covert condition to a slightly more public one within safer circles
- 11:30 “a few questions” whilst it is not quite this extreme we do often use a series of questions in order to ground and reacquaint ourselves from the internal world to the external.
- 11:51 “memories temporarily removed” one of the individual tools within our condition is selective amnesia I say tools as it is used by hank our protector as a way to future proof safety of flashbacks or extremely severe episodes of reexperiencing as well as a phenomena that we refer to as “switching amnesia” which is essentially the loss of information as one person goes from fronting or actively being conscious and aware externally to another, many systems implement certain safety nets in order to assist with this
- 13:00: “I hold my hands the same way you do” lots of systems typically appoint a host that is to say one individual alter that is around the majority of the time so that they can live “normally” however we as the praxis system determined well specifically one of the members determined that it would be “unfair” to have them take the title of “Zac” as it was really a team effort even if we were not always fully aware. This point actually leads into one of Aiko’s favourite Quotes from this episode which is “what is a person but a sum of their memories”
- 14:22 this scene with Tobin is a fantastic display of how individuals all have very separate traits and habits the example here is chewing fingernails when anxious or excessive apologies as well as confusion and even surprise at the continuation of an individuals work, there is one of us that enjoys art very much and uses it as a way to process the emotions of not only themselves but also those of the entire system. A similar equivalent to our Chaplin if you will.
- The next two scenes both portray very interesting take on the characteristics of this condition when looked under that specific lens, first the scene with leeta provides an example of the changes in physical attributes dependant on who is currently active. An example from our experience is that I Xavier require glasses in order to see whilst the rest of the system does not. There are others who are intolerant to substances such lactose and others still that experience significant hay fever symptoms. These changes can also be surfaced as reflexes, co-ordination and sometimes muscle memory. However this does not mean that these things are exclusive to the individual alter they can be shared to public knowledge and then used by those who have access. This scene with quark can be very easily written off as comic relief and filler for the episode striking a comical beat that quark was hesitant to go through with this procedure however if that were to be the final understanding of this scene we would miss something exponentially more significant. Audrey in quarks body reacts as if she can verbally hear quark when he states that he would like to speak. This is an every day occurrence for us as a system. Going shopping, deciding on lunch, even picking clothes. Everybody as an individual has their preferences and occasionally they will voice them. It is also significant to address that quark briefly “switches” in and there is no overdramatised or full body change or behaviour instead it is done in the space of an ordinary breath. This is entirely accurate whilst we may make obvious switches this is typically only done for the benefit of those around so that they may be informed of a change it is not required.
- This section whilst naturally dramatized still provides pertinent information and examples that can be used. While I was writing this initially I planned on deciding this was just a dramatized scene that is designed for the purpose of providing tension and drama however a closer assessment of this can be seen as an example or display of persecutors, these are alters that are designed to keep particular abusers sated by holding the belief that if they internalise and subject the body to the same behaviour as when the abuser is around to when they aren’t then it will be better causing the person to self harm and engage in other threatening and dangerous behaviours this belief of course is factually inaccurate and can infact be reasoned with and can be assisted to grow as healthy and productive positive members of a system. We as a system have three of these such alters all of whom have now become positive members taking on roles as protectors, caregivers and emotional processors.
- It is also important to mention the examples of a self deprecating and imposter syndrome narrative that can be seen in this confrontation between Joran and judzia. Many alters and systems do experience quite significant imposter syndrome as well as a fear that they may be making it up or faking it as when looked at imperatively it can be seen as almost fantastical however it is important that these individual members or entire systems can reground themselves centering their emotional and mental responses and can make sure they have evidence to contradict this unfortunately ever present voice