Why we signed the Split Movie Hurts Us All Open Letter to M. Night Shyamalan

We’re Emma Hryniewicz and the DreamWriters and we signed the Split Movie Hurts campaign’s Open Letter to M. Night Shyamalan. I didn’t actually write-in our reasoning in the Split Movie Hurts website because I wanted to articulate a very long response and I wanted it to come from the blog we’re working on. Which is this one, though this is also being crossposted to several of our other blogs as well.

We consider ourselves fairly average on the activist/change agent scene. We tend to be closer to the slacktivist/artist side of the Spectrum of Resistance, rather than showing up at protests, walks and rallies. We don’t talk a lot, but when we do talk, we have a lot to say.

Words are powerful. Stories are powerful.

We identify as plural, but not DID. Mostly because while we do believe we originally split from a traumatic experience with a suicidal ex-friend, our system also believes we have metaphysical and naturalistic origins, depending on who you talk to. Many of us just walk-in and stick around because we want to heal and share OUR stories and we get a lot out of this world even if it isn’t where we’re originally from. And others of us developed for specific situations in our lives as we learned what we needed to get our life on track in our recovery journey.

We decided after a long debate to sign the letter with our legal name and our professional system name. There are a lot of reasons for this.

We have a foot in and believe in so many different organizations and perspectives.

We support and identify with the Icarus Project, which has some feet in the radical antipsychiatry movement BUT not all of us who identify with them are radicals — I like the Icarus Project movement’s focus on creativity as a tool personally and their self-care and community action zines are beautiful resources.

We support and identify with To Write Love On Her Arms which believes in the importance of story and more importantly in music because music comes from NOW — from both the dark places and the hopeful places.

We also have a solid love for the Peer Recovery movement because we see it as our Dumbledore’s Army, the place where we found out how to be comfortable as a person and grow. Without Recovery-Oriented Services and Programs, we wouldn’t be writing this article, working as part of a team at conferences, or seeing our abilities as a writer, storyteller and artist, and as a connector and weaver of resources as superpowers.

We believe that it’s possible to be diagnosed with DID and be in recovery. We have friends with DID who while they still struggle, they are doing good things and helping others.

We believe that non-DID plurals are able to be in recovery as well.

We believe that recovery is possible for everyone struggling through a mental health challenge or other significant loss.

We believe that there will be something to look forward to tomorrow even when today’s hard.

We believe that horror movies and journalists portraying people with any mental illness as horrible dangerous monsters hurts everyone. It reinforces ignorance, leading to prejudice and discrimination.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a love-hate relationship with the horror genre and jump-scares. I grew up with a horror/thriller movie buff, so I enjoy horror even if I spend the whole performance aghast and terrified. But I’m very tired of this old trope. It just perpetuates a myth that is not true for the vast majority of its stereotype. And it tends to make us less likely to speak out because we don’t want the scary monster label. It ends up perpetuating self-stigma for those of us who hear this message too often.

I don’t like it when own voice stories are pushed back to the margins by stories like these, where the facts have been twisted for the sake of ratings and a story. I want to hear your stories and your voices, not the media’s.

All our voices matter and we need everyone right now. No one should have to stand alone.