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discussion of dormancy
By Phosphor, with input from other Ghosts
Last updated: 7/15/23
You've woken up, and everything is quiet. Too quiet. Yesterday, your head was full of chatter, but now, as much as you call out internally, no one answers you. You might get the sense that someone is still there, but they're unable to reach you - or you might just feel absolutely, terribly alone. And either way, you're beginning to question if you were plural all along, or if it was all just a flight of fancy.
It's easier heard than believed, but this is actually a very common experience in the plural community. Even diagnosed DID systems have talked about having days where, inexplicably, whoever's at front is all alone. We've heard a few explanations for this, with the most common one being that a lot of stuff happened recently and the brain is making everyone take a rest. In any case, though, it's rarely permanent.
Still! It can be an unsettling experience, and it's not fun to kind of wait around hoping folks will be back sooner than later. So, if you're anxious to connect with your headmates again, here are some things that you can do in the meantime.
Can you still feel their presence, even if you can't talk to them? Try kind of leaning into that presence and... nonverbally communicating through it, for lack of a better word. If you're able to transmit emotions through it, you can sort of send each other love and reassurance. If it's more like a quasi-physical sensation, imagine that you're leaning against each other, like if you and a physical friend were huddled together, back to back.
Unable to feel their presence at all? Try to remember, and do things that help you remember. Things associated with them - listening to music that they love, for example, or snacking on their favorite foods. You can make a "dropbox" where you can leave stuff that you want to share with them while they were away. It can be like, a folder on your computer full of memes for them to browse when they get back, or even an internal, symbolic one in headspace where you kind of leave thoughts and memories that you want them to look at. The idea is kind of similar to leaving memes in the DMs of a friend who's super busy with life atm, where you might not be able to talk with them back and forth right now, but you're still making room for them in your life and showing them that.
Above all, be patient with them. It's unlikely that they're giving you the cold shoulder. They might be really tired, or feeling down, wherever they are. They might hear you and want to reach back out, but lack the strength. Reassure them that no matter how long it takes, you'll welcome them back with open arms.
And here's something for your headmates when they get back!
Hi! Welcome back to outer awareness! It's possible that you're feeling weaker than usual. You might have trouble fronting, or keeping awareness of yourself, or forming words. If that's the case, read on! If that's not the case, don't sweat it.
As you've experienced, this kind of stuff is rarely irreversible. That being said, it can still be bothersome! It can be unsettling to fall asleep while your body and outer life are still going on, and even if you know you'll wake up at some point, it's frustrating to miss out on things. So, if you don't want that, valid!
The good news is, there are things you can do to kind of stabilize your presence. Don't focus on having body control right now. Instead, try to find things to comment on throughout the day. Have opinions, even if those opinions aren't heard by anyone outside. Have conversations, even silly ones. Make it a habit to say good morning and good night to each other. Wear something on your shared body that's associated with you.
It is going to feel weird. You might wonder if it's "really" you or if it's all being made up. Ignore the urge to fixate on how it feels. Try not to engage with anxieties about "faking." Focus on building the habit of being conscious. You might not always have the energy to be aware. You might space out for hours at a time, like you were "forgotten" about by the brain. That's normal. Just pick up where you left off.
If this sounds like stuff from the tulpamancy community... that's because it is! The secret is that this kind of being-conscious habit-building isn't just good for making headmates - it's also good for improving awareness and communication for existing folks. A lot of the online plural community spreads this misconception that systems of different kinds cannot possibly have anything in common, but in actuality, there have been pre-existing systems, even disordered and diagnosed ones, who've been part of the community for years for exactly this reason. A lot of stuff that some folks assume is immutable in plurality can actually be gradually trained one way or another - and presence is one of them, if you can avoid fretting and focus on the habit.
Best of luck fending off the internal, infernal eepy, and welcome back again!