This is also called "splitting", depersonalization, "greying" or "purpling". This is a confusing state where residents are not distinguishable from one another. Resident's thoughtstreams are not easily identified as their own. "Purpled" was a term coined in the otherkin host community by Dandelion (body-name for someone in the community) and seems to be sticking. A comic by Frank/Crisses seems to have visually captured the feeling for many community members:
The state might seem at first to be a precursor to integration, however it is usually accompanied, or caused, by panic, anxiety, and a sense of loss of identity. It is possible that under pressure to integrate in therapy, an anxious multiple may achieve a state of depersonalization and seem to have integrated, however the state will not sit well with the multiple.
This state is by no means desirable. It is haunting, and frightening. It seems very much the opposite of integration. In my (The Crisses) opinion, if you are in therapy and your doctor is forcing you into an anxious state in which you lose your sense of identity, you are not integrating and they should not encourage this. Integration takes work and should be a matter of intrapersonal choice not external force, and it should be comforting and exciting, and a state of distress and grappling for a sense of identity seems counter to this idea.
This state unfortunately happens spontaneously to some multiples from time-to-time. It is one type of dissociation which is thankfully temporary, although it can happen often and last a long time. It is probably caused by a sense of a threat, or anxiety, and unfortunately since the state itself can be so unsettling, it often increases the sense of panic or anxiety, making it very difficult to relax and come out of it.
There are some things you might try when you're depersonalized that might help you become differentiated (become "yourselves") again:
- Grounding techniques. It's highly recommended for multiples to learn in-body meditation and grounding techniques, and practice them often. The effect of grounding, mindfulness meditations, etc. is enormous and helps get you 'back into your body', lower stress and anxiety, increase one's sense of well-being, etc. One could also try prayer, however part of the idea is to get fully back "into your body".
- Figure out what caused the initial anxiety, and take care of it. Maybe there's something clear for you to take care of that will solve the problem of the initial anxiety. Once the initial anxiety is out of the way, you'll be left with the anxiety caused by your state of being. Try some of the other suggestions.
- Try doing something relaxing...read a book, see a funny movie, etc. If you're able to get the anxiety to abate, you might find yourself getting more differentiated.
- With caution, try calling someone specific to front, preferably someone who is able to manage things inside and outside the system, who is used to being front, and who can perform a headcount. If you know of anything safe that normally triggers that person front, you might want to try it, but be careful you don't tick the person off by doing so. For us, it might be reading something they wrote, or something describing them as an indivdiual, or a special word, name, book, video, etc.