My Friend, Disassociation

Sometimes I need the disassociation. In those moments, I don’t want to ground myself. I want to stay in that safe space. I don’t always want to fight it.

Today was one of those days.

I woke up feeling uneasy. I know the why, and didn’t want to stay there. I didn’t want to feel the emotion. The emotions that came along with it. I didn’t want to see the image that appeared last night during a session with my OT. A session that brought it to the surface again. And now it won’t go away.

I struggled for a few hours this morning with the feelings and the image- a fragment of a memory. I just felt like crying the entire time, but the pain didn’t allow the tears to come. Sometimes the pain can’t get out, while other times it rushes to the surface. At some point I shut down. And I’m glad I did.

I’m currently working at my dad’s business on a temp basis. I help out with a few things here and there.

Sometime during the morning, my stepmom was talking to me and I didn’t realize it until she called my name. She had to repeat the question she had been asking me. She asked me why I look “spacey”, and like I’m half asleep. I didn’t want to explain disassocation to her, so I just told her that I feel half-asleep. I still did my work, but in autopilot mode. And I wanted to be in that mode. Where emotions don’t affect me. Where nothing can touch me. Safe in my bubble, with the world, and the bad, on the outside.

The fog is lifting now. So I’m taking a pill and going to sleep, with the hope that I don’t get any nightmares. I did last night, so I think I deserve a nightmare free sleep. I’ll deal with things tomorrow.

Sometimes disassociation is a gift. A protective friend.

There is a pain so utter that it swallows substance up
Then covers the abyss with trance—
So memory can step around—across—upon it
As one within a swoon goes safely where an open-eye would drop him—
—Bone by bone

~Emily Dickinson


31 thoughts on “My Friend, Disassociation

  1. Where are you when disassociating? What do you imagine, what u see?
    😉 just want to compare our experiences as I was able to relate to what you wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I experience it in many different ways. I can lose entire chunks of time. But that’s only when it’s really bad. With the “milder” form, it can feel as though I’m not a part of this world. I can hear people around me talking and laughing, but I feel a thousand miles away. Like I can’t connect with anything or anyone. It all just seems like a dream. Unreal.

      It can also feel as though I’m not part of my body. As if a part of me is floating around somewhere. Like I don’t fit together, disconnected from myself. I feel like a shell. We hear these stories of people who have died, and come back to life, and explain how they saw their bodies on the operating table (for example). That they were looking down at their lifeless body. Completely separated from it. That’s how it feels sometimes. I don’t know if I believe in any of that spirit stuff, but it’s interesting nonetheless.


  2. Hope you are feeling better soon. Dissociation is something we all do some of the time: drifting off, spacing out, etc. Dissociation as a clinical concern is indeed one of those symptoms that serves as an escape and usually develops out of situations in which one cannot escape except by “going away” internally. That said, it is like the ancient Chinese saying about alcohol: “first the man takes the drink, then the drink takes the man.” It can be a frequently used way of avoidance, which is why the therapist hopes his patient will gradually learn to face difficult situations, becoming aware that the new problem is not the same as the terrifying old ones that caused the dissociation to develop clinically, and that he (the patient) is now (usually) older and more competent to take on those challenges than he was earlier. So, one marker of your improvement will be when you feel you need to rely on it less and don’t use it as much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This all makes complete sense. Thanks so much for your input, and for explaining it so well. I always appreciate your comments and enjoy reading them.


  3. Sometimes the way to get through the day is by dissociating. We know we don’t “need” to do that anymore because we’re safe, but sometimes we need to do it so we can function until our other coping skills kick in. I hope you get good sleep tonight. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Agreed. Sometimes disassociation is the only way I can get by. And that’s okay. It’s reflexive and it’s what helped us then. It’s ok to let it help us now when we need it. I hope you got the restful sleep you deserve

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks PD. Had the best night’s sleep last night in the longest time. Only woke up after 9am, whereas I usually wake up at about 6am. I’m glad you agree that it’s okay to use it sometimes. We all have our coping mechanisms.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops! Happy enter button.

        We do, and one thing I’ve learned is that honouring them and what they’ve done for us, and embracing them when we need them, works much better than refusing them and pushing them away

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I recognized disassociation as feeling or being half asleep while literally being awake because in that case it’s the story of my entire life. Most times it feels really safe thier too. Sorta comfortable, for me. No outside world. Just a temporary safe place in my mind to be…
    I’m glad your working with your father. Hopefully it takes your mind off what troubles you Rayne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can present itself in many ways. Working with my dad isn’t exactly all that great. I get a little bit of money from it, but more time in my day in which I need to see him. There’s pro’s and con’s to everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Boy can I relate! It’s called self preservation. Sometimes you either feel completely cut off from others or you have to cut yourself off to take the emotions that run so deep inside. You just can’t help how you feel. Do what you need to for yourself sweet Rayne. I hope you feel better soon my friend😘

    Liked by 1 person

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