I get a lot of requests about our System Journal from people who really want to improve internal communication within their own System, so I thought I would share what I have in my own journal. For privacy reasons, I won’t be sharing personal information about myself, my family or my therapy, but I’m happy to share stuff that you might find useful in setting up your own journals.
You don’t need to spend a lot on a journal. I bought mine from K-Mart for $4 AUD. If you do want to spend a little more and buy a D.I.D. Journal, I believe you can purchase them from amazon or e-bay. However, since I love stationery and am very creative, I like to make my own. It comes down to personal preference.
So let’s dive into mine.
I’ve sectioned my journal into various categories:
· Short-term Goals
· Long-term Goals
· Member’s Bio
· Important Dates
· General Chat
In the Rules tab, I have listed rules and boundaries that I felt were important to help maintain System functionality and cohesion. Sometimes an Alter will break a rule, and that’s where System Responsibility comes in. I’ll list the rules I have, and you’re very welcome to plagiarise!
1. Always be respectful – to each other and to others
2. Always be kind – No hate speech
3. Everyone has a right to the body
4. Take responsibility for your actions
5. Protect the Littles
6. Collective vote before major body changes (ie: piercings, tattoos etc)
7. Always attend therapy, even if it’s hard
8. Potential relationships need vetting by Protectors and the Gatekeeper
9. Seek help if you’re struggling
10. Try not to harm the body
11. Try not to drink too much alcohol
Occasionally we add new rules if something comes up that we didn’t anticipate, and there is plenty of room to do that. The rules aren’t there to take the fun out of life, but to protect us all and keep us safe. We have vulnerable Alters we need to protect, so it’s important we all do what we can to keep us all safe.
This tab is simply a list of our Alters. To meet our Alters, click this link.
Short-term Goals and Long-term Goals
At the moment only I (Sapphire) have written my goals down. I’ve asked the other Alters what they want to do in the short and long term, and they’re still thinking about it. For the most part I think they are happy to go along with what I want to do, but I like to give everyone the opportunity to decide what they’d like to do as well. One of my long term goals is to study psychology so I can help people like me. I also want to spread awareness by doing seminars on Dissociative disorders. And I want to write a book or two. My short term goals include Functional Multiplicity (although that may take longer than I thought), moving into my own accommodation and starting my studies.
This is where each of us tell a little about ourselves; our role, our gender (if appropriate), our age and some of our favourite things. And its fun to see the different handwritings of each of us as well as our signatures. Having this section helps new Alters to meet and learn about their head-mates. We don’t include the Littles in this section. They have their very own section:
Like the Member’s Bio section, this part is just for the Littles. One of the adult Alters helps with the writing for the very small Littles. Here they get to tell everyone their favourite colours and toys.
If you’re anything like me, remembering stuff is a huge problem! So things like important birthdays or anniversaries go here.
This section is for any of us to write down anything important we need to remember; like what we need to speak to the doctor or therapist about or if anything has come up that needs addressing. This section is super important to have so we are all on the same page in our journey. If an Alter deals with an issue but doesn’t write it down, the rest of us might be unaware of it. So it’s good to keep a log of stuff from day to day.
Just what it says! Here is where we can chat to each other if we want to. Occasionally, communication between Alters is hard for various reasons, and if one of us needs to get a message to another, sometimes it’s easier to do that in writing.
This is probably the most important of all the sections. This is where therapy notes go plus anything we need to discuss with our therapist. This is the most private part of our journal and the only person we share it with is our therapist.
So that’s our System Journal. What kinds of things would you put in yours? Would you include other sections that could be useful? I personally feel that having a journal like this is super helpful and important for Systems as it really does help with communication between Alters. I see a lot of people on some of the D.I.D. Facebook groups say they don’t have good communication and really struggle with some of the Alters. Having a journal can help with those problems. Maybe you’re not one for writing, and that’s okay too. I believe you can download apps on your phone for keeping journals. Or perhaps you prefer to do everything on your computer. That’s great too. However you choose to communicate, make sure it’s right for all of you.
Thanks for reading and happy journaling!
Cover photo: Sapphire Graver ©