The Shivering is a physical, psychological and spiritual disease caused by the sudden and forceful change of someone's identity using Tautomancy. Since this is illegal in most countries, this is a very rare condition, but a feared one. It is not deadly by itself (although some of its symptoms might cause death) but there is no known treatment.
The Shivering appears just after a person has their Identity changed. At first, the symptoms will not be as overwhelming, but after some days have passed, they will start to manifest. If the Tautomancer somehow "restored" their Identity to its previous state, most symptoms will disappear.
Broken is the best word to describe how I feel. I lost my fire, my light, my warmth. I don't see the end of this tunnel.
Common symptomsCommon symptoms are experienced by almost everyone who suffers from the Shivering.
Identity is often described as an internal fire that burns next to the heart. While this might be a metaphorical description, the most common symptom of the Shivering is extreme cold. This cold can hardly be warmed away, as it is not a cold caused by external conditions but by internal ones.
Lack of appetite
Another extremely common symptom of the Shivering is lack of appetite. The person suffering will stop wanting to eat or even drink anything. Unlike with the Firekiss, the body will still need food and water in order to survive. It's important setting a consistent eating routine.
Somebody who suffers the Shivering will have huge difficulty sleeping, in part for the fear of having nightmares. The Shivering nightmares tend to be terrible, often reliving the events that led them to their loss.
Frequent symptomsThese symptoms are less common but most sufferers have at least one of them.
The enormous stress caused by the Shivering often ends up causing anxiety to their sufferers. However, it generally does not cause anxiety attacks, but a constant fear and doubting of everything and everyone, even oneself.
Depression is another frequent symptom, and it can cause a whole array of other symptoms. Some common examples are isolation, guilt (generally unjustified), lack of motivation, and lack of energy. In some cases, Shivering depression can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Frequent loss of consciousness
Sometimes, for no apparent reason, the Shivering sufferer will fall unconscious for a short period of time. These losses appear to be random, as they can happen at any time of the day, no matter what the sufferer is feeling or thinking about.
Rare symptomsThese symptoms almost never appear with the Shivering. It should be noted that, when they manifest, they rarely do so immediately after the change of Identity. The slow but unavoidable manifestation of these symptoms is considered by many the worst part of the Shivering.
In some cases, the Shivering can cause amnesia. The type and degree of amnesia vary from person to person. It can be either retrograde amnesia (forgetting memories before the change) or anterograde amnesia (forgetting memories after the event), or even a mix of both types.
Loss of one or more senses
The rarest and most extreme symptom is the permanent loss of one (or more) senses. For unknown reasons, hearing and sight are the most common senses a person might lose, although losing touch, taste or smell is not uncommon either.
I'm senseless; only sight barely remains. I don't remember who are these people claiming to be my family and my friends. I'm cold. For a long time, I didn't know what to do, how to end this suffering. But now I do.
There is no known treatment for the Shivering. Some of its symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, can be treated individually, but some other symptoms, such as the internal cold or the nightmares are unavoidable. Many people have tried (and still try) to find a cure for this illness, but no one has succeeded. Not even magical Healers seem to be able to cure or, at least, alleviate it. It's worth saying that, sometimes, a sufferer will manage to completely recover and all symptoms will disappear, leaving no sequels. However, this is extremely rare. When there is recovery, it usually isn't complete and most of the time they will suffer the symptoms until the end.
My doctor says the Shivering is not deadly, that I will survive, albeit in a miserable state. Dying is better, I would say.
- Chronic, Acquired