I sat down yesterday and wrote about how my world is opening up, changes in my system and approach, how I’m managing the ‘adult’ world of tax and business and admin completely differently and with far more skill. Then I found myself going back to old posts about my experience of psychosis, reading my sharing of the darkest nights of grief and loss. There’s a disconnection at first, that familiar awareness that I’m reading someone else’s writing, reading about someone else’s life. And then the growing recognition of us, that tiny glimpse of how far we stretch – from the darkest poet to the lightest administrator. And I find myself marvelling how freedom has changed everything for us. Where the literature wanted each of us to compress, to move closer together, become more similar, compact ourselves into a box marked Sarah and never step out of it again, we have found life in the opposite process. I am more ‘mentally ill’ and yet more functional. I have parts, and psychotic episodes, and days I shut myself in the house and do not speak, and sometimes I wear wrist poems as dark, painful souvenirs of a scream that sounded in my skin at 3am. And yet, I’m getting up and doing my tax with a clearer mind than I can ever remember. We’re getting out of each other’s way. We’re sprawling, stars filling the sky from horizon to horizon. I don’t have to choose one colour, one perspective, one way of living, one identity, one name, one life. We are moving around each other and enriching each other’s lives instead of stealing time and fighting for control. There is trust and sorrow and joy and anguish and pain and nostalgia and hope. This is not what it is to be a multiple – it is what it is to be a human. This is what life is, beautiful and tragic. I’m not turning into a ‘recovered patient’. I’m no one else’s success story. I’m not always comfortable to be around. I’m not leaving anyone behind, or killing anyone, or carving anyone out of my system. I’m finally keeping regular sleep hours but without excluding the poets and night people all the time. (that’s still a big work in progress) We’re building a business and a life as a structure that protects what is vulnerable and precious and unique about us, instead of excludes it, relies on pretending it doesn’t happen, or exploits it. In a weird way, it feels like integration, without fusing us back to one. It feels like I’m finally figuring how to grow up without dying inside.