Littles are child alters and many (but not all) systems have at least one, though it’s not uncommon for systems to have several. We have just Percy; he’s somewhere around 7-8 years old and has been since the system first formed. It’s difficult for us to retroactively trace his origin — that’s going back almost 18 years — but we do know he and Mal were the first alters to develop.

When Maddie was young (6-10 or so) she used to tell complain to our parents every so often about what she called “the sad feeling.” She didn’t have the words to describe it in any more detail than that, and it would come on out of the blue and seemingly unrelated to anything going on around her. As we got older and were diagnosed with depression, Maddie looked back on that feeling as just highly concentrated pockets of depression; she used to joke that it was “like doing a shot of depression.” By then she was able to better describe the feeling; a sudden and overwhelming sense of hopelessness that could last anywhere from a few seconds to two minutes, usually leaving her on the verge of tears.

In the last few years, following our diagnoses of PTSD and DID, and learning more about our system and the alters within it, we’ve collectively come to recognize that the feeling comes from Percy. Since first learning about him and Mal we’ve long suspected them both to be trauma holders; alters who hide traumatic memories from the others, particularly the host, in order to shield the rest of us. Knowing what we do now about trauma, I suspect those bouts of intense, overwhelming sadness to be Percy’s flashbacks. They don’t come particularly often these days, and when they do they still pass fairly quickly; he likes to sit quietly with Sawyer, Fox, or Steve while they do, and once it’s over he’s quickly back to his bubbly self.

Generally, he’s a happy kid! He’s obsessed with Pokémon — we’re talking a binder of 900+ cards (I wish I was exaggerating) that he’s been collecting for as long as we can remember, every video game, coloring books, non-coloring books, you name it. We don’t know the date he first showed up in the system, so naturally he picked his own birthday: September 16, the original release date of Pokémon Emerald. (It’s his favorite game.)

Aging varies from alter to alter and system to system, and for us it seems to be tied to the amount of time spent fronting; Maddie aged normally while she was the host and hasn’t aged since, and I age normally with the body now. Percy doesn’t front terribly often, and when he does it’s rarely for more than an hour or so at a time. It takes a lot of energy for him to be out — once he switches back in it feels like the body’s been doing heavy exercise. It’s likely he’ll always be a kid, regardless of the body’s age.

It’s very important to him that I end this with a coloring page we did together not too long ago, and that everyone knows he did the fun Raichu part and I just did the boring decorative part. Typical.

– Ros

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