SERIOUSLY people. I thought we established this. But since, I guess, a bunch of new people have just discovered these terms (or something), lemme go back and reiterate the main points.
OTHERKIN IS COMMUNITY BASED, AND THEREFORE NOT A MENTAL DISORDER.
If one person believes something irrational and dumb, with everyone around them telling them “that’s completely unrealistic, impossible, and it just doesn’t make sense” and they continue believing it anyways, that person is delusional. Like, really, undeniably so. But what about if this person, with their weird beliefs, had a friend by their side telling them they’d always believed the same thing? That they weren’t alone? That they’d even seen evidence with their own eyes?
Now what if this was a group of people?
When diagnosing a mental illness, you have to take into account the context of the symptoms. Believing you’re a dragon if you’re alone is fucking crazy. But if you have a group, it’s still “weird” but more in line with normal human nature. You have to understand that otherkin really desperately want to believe in what they’re saying. That doesn’t mean they necessarily do (I estimate that the majority of them know, deep down, they’re just thinking wishfully), but they want to. So all it takes is one voice whispering they’re right amidst the thousands telling them they’re full of shit, and they’ll cling to that other voice with all their might. Because that voice is telling them they’re special.
So, no, otherkin isn’t necessarily a mental illness. Some otherkin are delusional to this point, and some otherkin have other mental illnesses, but being otherkin doesn’t automatically mean someone’s mentally ill. Although, I will stress the fact that constantly living with a belief that completely disregards physics/one’s knowledge of the real world creates a strong feeling of cognitive dissonance within a person, which can be VERY influential in the development of mental illness. So, they’re not automatically mentally ill, but they’re definitely dancing around a danger area.
MULTIPLE SYSTEMS ARE A GOOD WAYS AWAY FROM DID (AKA MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER).
Now. The thing about mental illness that really separates it from illness of the body is the fact that we all experience symptoms of mental illness, every day. For example, many people get mild auditory hallucinations right as they fall asleep or wake up, often of their name being called. Also of other sounds they might be listening for throughout the day, like their cell phone tone or a police siren. Sounds we’re on alert for, sometimes the brain just gets so sick of waiting it generates them by itself. This happens to a lot of people (including me) fairly often. But, hey, guess what: IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A SCHIZOPHRENIC. IT’S ACTUALLY REALLY NORMAL.
That’s the difference between mentally ill and mentally typical. Mental illness is when something is taken to such an extreme where it’s really, really disruptive. THIS IS WHY SELF-DIAGNOSIS IS STUPID, BTW. Because most people have no idea what they’re looking for when they look for extremes. They think they’re mood swings qualify them as having bipolar disorder, when really their moods are relatively normal. They have no basis of comparison.
The difference between multiple systems and DID is pretty much the difference between a moody teenager and someone who’s bipolar. Similar in description, perhaps, but one is wayyy more extreme than the other. And here’s another secret: A LOT of people are multiple systems. I mean, the idea of a “multiple system” is pretty stupid, considering how many people “are” these and just don’t consider it to make them special or even really acknowledge it.
All that “being multiple” is is a specific way of organizing one’s thoughts in order to create a dialogue. That’s it. People do this allllllll the time, they just don’t give the thoughts in their heads specific names and personalities, they just sorta let them all melt in and out of each other. Of course, you’ll find that (if you have any talent in pretending, that is) it really isn’t difficult to imagine a character vividly. I do it all the time when I’m desperate for inspiration. Week after watching Dollhouse, Topher Brink was with me almost everywhere I went, encouraging me to buy junk food and groaning throughout my psychology class. He was a very distinct and vivid “headmate” in every way, except I could acknowledge the face that I’d made him up for my personal benefit and that it really was just another part of my brain speaking through him. I was just playing pretend.
And it helped me, it did. I think internal dialogue (or external, if you’re someone who needs to hear your own voice) is a great way of organizing one’s thoughts. It forces you to look for alternative points of view you wouldn’t bother with before, simply to keep the dialogue going. It’s probably one of the most beneficial tricks I know. But that’s all it is, a trick of my brain that I am in control of. Once I stop acknowledging my control, then it’s a multiple system. I’m still technically running the show—my headmates might do something a little crazy or mean, but it’s always secretly something that I wanted them to do—I’m just pretending I’m not. See? What’s being “pretended” is all that changes. And then, if it reaches the point where I really have no control over it at all, THAT’S Dissociative Identity Disorder. But you have to understand, 98% of Multiples are just playing pretend and don’t want to admit it. Or really don’t think they are, because they don’t understand how it’s a normal way for the brain to work and they have a whole community shouting to them about how “special” and “different” they are, and they can’t hear any reason.
So, to recap: Neither of these are automatically mental disorders. They both largely have to do wish fulfillment, except multiple systems are even waayy more common than most multiples realize.