Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Disassociation

Ever since I was a kid, probably between 6-8, I would get overwhelmed with the feeling of not actually feeling anything.

One second, I would be fine. I would be living life as normal. (Or as normal as it gets for somebody living in an abusive household- thanks Dad.)

Then the next second, I would feel almost like I was dreaming. All of my senses were muted. It was like I was watching myself from far away and unable to do anything, even though I was in full control of my body. 

I didn't have it for years, until about three months ago. I had even forgotten about it.

Then it came out of nowhere during a high stress situation at work. I was fine and then I blinked and realized my coworker had been talking to me, for who knows how long, and I hadn't heard any of it. I couldn't remember when she started talking or if I had responded or what I had been doing before that.

I immediately texted my best friend, the girl known here as Sissi, because she's been my sister for the last ten years. I did what I could to explain it to her and she said that it sounded like disassociation, that I needed to be around things that provided extra feelings so I could feel anything at all. Like being outside in the cold or eating something spicy. 

A customer came in with a dog and I found that I was okay, as long as my hand was on the dog. I have almost no recollection of what happened when I wasn't petting the dog.

I tried my best to explain it to my coworkers, because I knew I needed help. I wasn't functioning properly, which is terrifying, but I was too numb to really feel scared.

Today, I came across this:

 

 
 


There it is. That's the feeling.

That's what I tried to explain for years when I was a child and the feeling Sissi finally gave me a name for just three months ago.

And I wasn't the only person who struggled with this, who thought they were crazy or maybe even dying.

 

 

 
 

There are probably hundreds of replies now and thousands of retweets.



Positive thought of the day: There will always be people who understand and people who can help you put into words, or art, or music, whatever it is that it seems nobody else understands. I am not alone. You are not alone.

7 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness reading this made me think of my daughter Natasha at times I get the impression she is disassociated she is just going through the motions and not really there, hard to explain

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    1. That's how my body reacts. My mind is so far gone, it's not even in this universe anymore. But my body functions and keeps going.

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  2. Replies
    1. It used to absolutely terrify me and it's still scary, but knowing what it is and why it happens does offer some comfort.

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  3. What a poignant and striking cartoon. I get that feeling sometimes too, though not nearly as much as I used to. I always just jokingly called it 'the poor man's out of body experience'*, since my wife didn't understand what I was talking about, but it's comforting to see it has a name. And it's more common than I thought.

    *I use humor to cope with things, so I promise I'm not being heartless, anyone who reads this!

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    1. Nobody will treat you poorly on my blog- I promise you that. I know how you cope and I understand it because I do the same thing. Don't worry about it. :)

      But I was so happy just to have a name for it. Everyone thought my blood sugar dropped or I was just too tired when I tried to explain it, but no, it was my brain basically shutting down to protect me from an emotional break.

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  4. I do that, but it has a different trigger for me. It is not stress-induced. It has to do with focus. If I am having trouble concentrating on something (reading a book in a noisy room, for example), I have to really really focus until suddenly I am there. But the rest of the world has disappeared if I had to work too hard to achieve the focus. However, I have no idea this has happened until I get jerked back into the world somehow. (Maybe someone tapped me on the shoulder or yelled in my face to get my attention).

    Then, I'm pulled back in, but I feel like I am waking up from a dream. I can't function in this sudden new world I have just been thrust into totally unprepared. It takes me a couple of minutes to get my bearings and even be able to find words because my mind is fighting through sludge. It just won't work. I don't usually even know where I am for those few minutes.

    And then I'm fine. It's really strange.

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