What Switching Feels Like
Different plural folks experience switching in different ways, some may feel like they are watching in third person as their headmate does things, others experience the headspace immersively when they switch out, and others still feel like they ‘become’ the person switching in.
This can be effected by dissociation levels, levels of separation between headmates, level of memory sharing, and other factors.
What one plural system experiences could be a vastly different experience from what another system experiences.
For us, fronting and switching is of the ‘continuous front’ -type. The front is the only perspective that memory is recorded.
When we are feeling ‘switchy’, this is when a switch is possible. This feels rather like a slight disconnect- a numbness and distance from what is going on a bit. This is the mild film of dissociation we experience chronically kicking up a bit.
This feeling can be purposefully brought on or it can come about randomly, then if we are wanting to switch or being forced to switch for some reason, this progresses to the next state. If we are choosing to switch the person in front currently visualizes ‘stepping back’ and the person who wants to front visualizes ‘stepping forward’. The person who wants to switch out then has to let go of the ‘I’, which can be very difficult.
If the switch is being forced, then there really isn’t anything to do on anyone’s part other than not resist it.
In both cases, there is often a moment of depersonalization- a blurry identity soup. This can last barely a second and be very mild or for hours and sometimes just never get to the actual switch.
Vertigo can also accompany the moment of a switch, but not always.
Suddenly, ‘’’I’’’ am a different person, it feels like. The ‘I’ was passed from one person to another. The memories of before this dim a little like a dream, but are still there. Things that happened while that person was fronting are then sharpened back up. Its kind of like waking up from a dream in terms of the stark cognition-perception changes and the way it can be a smooth slide from one to the other or a jarring snap of confusion. Also the memories fade a bit like well-remembered dream memories do.
The blurriness (if there was any) can fade during or after the switch.
When switching back, that person only has memories of the front, and maybe that person was cocon when they were not fronting, but they only remember their participation from the perspective of the front. Your memories sharpen up a bit and theirs fade a bit. Yes, it does feel very odd to have memories of you not from your perspective. To be able to view your behavior from another’s perspective and feel their feelings for you is a unique and intimate experience.
We occasionally experience third person confronting, but by and large switch in this fashion.