What is median?

Median is a frequently misunderstood term. It encompasses anything that doesn't fit under singlet (one unified person in one body) or multiple (two or more separate people in one body). The label is all too often taken to mean a single way of being rather than a diverse range of experiences. In reality, median has been an umbrella term from the start and includes many different ways of being.

The concept was coined by the Vickis around 1996 under the word "midcontinuum", along with the idea of a dissociative continuum between non-dissociative singlets and multiples. Eventually the term became "median" thanks to Blackbirds in Pavillon Hall in order to include systems that did not experience pathological dissociation.

Being median means falling in the middle of two extremes. It's being more than one person, but not being entirely separated either. There are all kinds of experiences that fall under medianhood:

The non-assumptions of this guide

There are a few things that the wider plural community assumes are universal experiences for systems, but these assumptions don't always apply to medians. They may apply to you and there's nothing wrong with that (all systems are different!), but one of the main goals of this guide is to provide tools and frameworks for those that haven't had much success fitting themselves into a multiple framework of separate, discreet people. As such, there are a few assumptions from the wider plural community that we need to throw out. Instead, we're going to make some non-assumptions. There are things that may or may not be true about you, but that this guide will not assume one way or another.

Non-assumption #1: You don't have to know who you are at all times, or always know who's in front. This is a major assumption of the plural community, where blurriness and confusion are seen as an unpleasant exception to the norm rather than another functional way to exist. It's completely possible to get along well without having clear-cut selves or worrying about who's around that day, but most of the plural community assumes that you need to know who and where everyone is. That's not an assumption here.

Non-assumption #2: You don't have to use names or keep track of everyone. It's common in the plural community to keep a list of all known system mambers with names and personal information. This works great for systems that can do it, and I encourage you to give it a try if you're able to, but not all systems can do this. I've run into several systems that didn't have individual names, or who had members that changed so often that it was impossible to track them. I've met other systems that could keep lists but preferred not to, or who simply didn't know everyone in their system. Regardless, this guide is not going to assume you use names for individual system members or know who everyone is. You can get along just fine without names and lists if that's how you function.

Non-assumption #3: You don't have to share an identity as the same person. Some medians do have a shared self, and some medians don't. I want this guide to be helpful for as many medians as possible, so it's not going to assume anything about your sense of self and identity. You don't fit into singlet or multiple, and that's all I need to know.

Non-assumption #4: You don't have to have a consistent headcount, or know how many of you there are. Just like with names, some systems can keep track of this, and it can be helpful for them, but not all systems can keep a headcount. This resource is not going to expect you to know how many of you there are. It's also not going to expect your system size to stay the same for any period of time. Some systems grow and shrink, and their structures shift. This resource will allow for change in size and structure and will only expect you to work with yourselves as you are at that exact moment, however that may be.

Non-assumption #5: You don't have to have a particular origin. This guide will be inclusive of both spiritual and psychological origins. Plurality is incredibly diverse, and this guide will remain useful if you come from somewhere else or weren't created by trauma.

Non-assumption #6: You don't have to have a disorder. Some people assume that all medians have OSDD, which is not the case. Other times, it's assumed that all medians experience pathological dissociation, which is also not the case. This guide will make suggestions for dissociative medians when applicable, but it will not assume the reader is dissociative and will remain useful if those sections are skipped by those that don't need them.

Non-assumption #7: You don't have to make yourselves more multiple or separate. A lot of guides assume you're separate enough to act as though you were multiple, or to present as individuals in some way. This works for some systems, but no one should have to make themselves into something they're not to get help. This resource is not going to make you change how you're structured or force you to do things a certain way. In cases where degree of separation does make a difference, it'll provide several options so that there will be at least one approach that stays true to you.