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personal experiences with (partial) fusion, suicide and past abuse mention
Last updated: 7/15/23
For many years, our system was much larger, much more fragmentary, and much more fluid. While we had a number of headmates who were more individual of self, the majority of our system was comprised of ever-shifting fragments layered upon each other.
Around two years ago, though, that changed. Following some major life events, our system gradually went through a partial fusion over the course of a year. By the end of it, we'd shrunk just the smaller group of individual members.
We were in therapy at the time, but fusion wasn't the focus and we actually weren't talking about our plurality that much there. What I think caused it was resolving some big lingering traumas and pains. For us specifically (it will likely look different for others!), that meant achieving financial stability and independence (as one of the big trauma/pain points was scarcity and lack of independence) and getting gender-affirming surgery (as another was horrendous dysphoria).
After that, our head just... got quieter over time, and there was no longer a "disconnect" between our thoughts, feelings, and actions. For me, it used to feel like the fragments were speaking through me, and I was only channeling them. Afterwards, they were just... me. I readily recognized them as me; their actions were my conscious actions; there was no detachment or dissociation.
Therapy helped, but I don't think it would have done it on its own. What we did in therapy was built atop a bunch of skills we'd learned on our own in years prior. Therapy's main contributions were making sure we didn't spiral into job anxiety workaholism hell and guiding us through the process of getting surgery. Stuff like learning how to stave off suicide a day at a time, having healthy boundaries, breaking out of the tiny box our shitty family had put us in, believing we were capable of being someone other than what they wanted us to be... these were fundamentals we would have loved to have a good therapist for. But we didn't, because we couldn't afford one, and so we had to learn them on our own, or with the help of community resources and friends.
I'd say that overall, partial fusion was helpful for us. (Once again, this is our experience, and not necessarily one that generalizes to every system.) Before, there was a lot of identity confusion and discontinuity of... consciousness and memory? We were not prone to blackouts, but it was still disorienting and a bunch of things fell through the cracks. Post-fusion, there was a lot more clarity. It was easier for us to know who we were, mostly because we didn't feel jarred out of our own selves when we felt conflicting feelings or discovered a paradox in our identities. It was just easy to embrace all of it as who we were. I can be wrathful and forgiving, critical and patient. Bast is selfish, but also compassionate: harsh, but also gentle. And so on, and so forth.
There was an article someone who'd undergone final fusion wrote, which no longer seems to be online. There were bits of it that we didn't agree with (mostly because it seemed to be making assumptions about all plurals) but one line that felt really relevant to our own experience was something like "fusion is when the self learns to live in the consciousness instead of in the personality."
(Our memory is still shit, though. But just in like... an ADHD way instead.)
As already mentioned, fusion was not intentional on our part, but everyone who had fused was okay with the idea. They were either tired of being an identity mush or tired of being even that degree of separated. It's a pretty common attitude in our system that existing is hard, actually! Both existing as a fragment (and thus not having access to a wider gamut of emotions/abilities/etc) and trying to expand into an individual are hard. When we realized what was going on, we/they were content to let it happen, with the understanding that if they were ever needed, they/we would find a way back to separateness.
We still don't want final fusion, though - those of us who are left enjoy being our own selves. There is hardship in trying to learn yourself amidst the clamour of a dozen other minds, and in trying to fulfill a dozen's worth of needs with one body's worth of time. But there's also an incredible joy in watching - and helping - each other grow. There are connections we've forged and experiences we've shared that can't be found in any outer relationship. It's work, but the work is part of the richness of the experience.