You frequently space out or check out.
Your mind goes blank.
You lose access to certain memories, thoughts, or feelings.
You see yourself doing things and engaging with others but don’t feel you’re actually the one making that happen.
Do any of these sound familiar? You might be experiencing dissociation.
When someone is dissociating, they are disconnected or detached from their environment and/or a part of themselves. You can dissociate (or detach) from certain emotions (e.g. anger, jealousy), needs (e.g. the need to be cared for by others), memories, thoughts, or your physical body. We all dissociate to a certain extent. Detaching from things can help us momentarily cope, but when dissociation happens more frequently or lasts for a period of time, it’s important to get treatment.
Dissociation is a coping mechanism that our brains develop to deal with things that are too overwhelming to face. Sometimes, people can dissociate when they subconsciously perceive a conflict with others. Other times, people can dissociate when something triggers a trauma. The gaps in memory, glazed eyes, feeling of disconnectedness, and so on can leave you feeling alone and not fully present in life.
In therapy, here are some ways we might begin to address your dissociation:
𖥸 Understand how you dissociate and when it begins to happen
𖥸 Identify and address what your dissociation is avoiding in a supportive space
𖥸 Explore when this protective mechanism began in your life and how it protected you at the time recognize what triggers your dissociation in the present
𖥸 Learn coping skills and grounding techniques that you can use when you begin to feel distant and disconnected
In a safe and supportive space, you can be empowered to live more fully in the present as an integrated, rather than disconnected, being.