We’ve realized gradually over the course of the past 1.5 years or so that we have another alter forming — this makes 9 of us in total, at least that we’re aware of — so I thought we’d talk a bit about what it’s like when a new alter forms!
For most of us (me, Steve, Sawyer, Fox, Bucky) we were here as parts or fragments before becoming fully-fledged alters. I was part of Maddie until the situation with her abusive girlfriend at the time was too much for her to handle alone, and at that point I broke off into an alter. Likewise, Fox was a part of me until a trigger of his pushed him to splinter off. Mal, Maddie, and Percy are the exceptions — as far as we can tell, they skipped the fragment stage and showed up as alters right away. I can’t speak for other systems’ experiences with alter formation, but this has consistently been ours.
When an alter begins to form in our system they don’t have a name or voice yet, and we can’t see them the way we can clearly see each other. (Side note: this is also what it was like when we were first diagnosed and hadn’t yet nailed down intrasystem communication.) As time goes on and the new kid starts settling in, we generally get a name and gender, and it’s not too long after that until we can see and hear them.
At this early stage, when I’ve been fronting and then the developing alter (I’ll call her Nine for now) pops in, I can feel what she’s feeling. I can tell those feelings aren’t coming from me, but that’s as much as I can gather. Nine has come out just a handful of times over the past year, and almost always for just a minute or two.
She made an appearance yesterday while Steve and I were in class, and she was immediately on the verge of a panic attack. I was aware of the physiological symptoms — heart racing, shortness of breath, tears — but didn’t feel any anxiety myself. This is how it’s felt every time she’s shown up. Yesterday was the first time I was able to get a sense of anything about her, and even at that all I could glean was a sense of pronoun. We don’t have an age, name, face, voice–anything. It was the longest she’s ever been around, too; she was co-con with us for about 10 minutes. I can’t feel her presence right now, but I generally can’t feel Maddie’s either. I know they’re here, they’re just much, much quieter than everyone else.
We’ll include more updates about Nine as we learn more about her; stay tuned, and feel free to reach out with any questions!