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Danika

839d

Has anyone experienced extended periods of dissociation? Like years? I was dissociated for 6ish years and have yet to find anyone who can relate to that.

Top reply
    • SAMHAIN

      839d

      Preface: I'm not denying anyone's experience here; I'm trying to disambiguate a term that has become commonly-used which seems to have some further definitions within its description. This could help us to communicate our experiences more thoroughly, and to reflect on ourselves and hesl our trauma more precisely. I think different people have different experiences they label as "dissociation." Today I learned: what I and my psychs have always called "dissociation," is more specifically defined as "derealization" and "depersonalization," depending which of my-self/surroundings is detached or surreal. "Zoning out" is, as I now understand, is defined as "mild" dissociation, or "ordinary" dissociation; while "traumatic dissociation" is the more extreme form of these things discussed, including the symptoms of "amnesia, absorption, depersonalization, and derealization." If what I experience and have called "dissociation" happened for even a few days I'd be a dead body, because sitting stationary in place completely shut out into my own headspace staring ahead, not eating or *drinking* or speaking or doing anything physical at all would kill a human being. We need water every 4 days, minimum. I don't call being up walking around and functioning—but with my attention in another place in my head— "dissociation." My psychiatrists and I have called that "being extremely anxious and overwhelmed by a thought or mood" combined with some other things. Or—"depressed/mental fog." If I were in that headspace while milling about my day or job duties and then found myself to have stopped what I was doing and had become completely stationary with a blank expression, staring ahead and processing thought, and then were spoken to or disturbed and I reacted to the stimulus, then we would say: "I had just dissociated" for a moment while working. But the mood I was in all day would've been "depressed." Now I know this to be described by the subset terms "dissociative absorption" and "dissociative amnesia," depending whether or not I retain memory of the timespan. But the fact that there are clearly two headspaces here—one distracted, the other non-functional—suggests and supports that there are separate things going on. The general state of inattentiveness, melancholy, and probably emotional sensitivity/instability is usually described to me by a separate term (like "depression") which may include symptoms of memory loss, inattentiveness, emotional reactivity, etc. as part of its overall description/condition. The fact someone can still "go on autopilot" and perform even basic functions shows that the brain is multitasking and still responding to stimuli, albeit in a disrupted manner. I now understand highway autopilot is "ordinary dissociation/ordinary dissociative amnesia," while functioning at work and feeling like "nothing is real" to be "derealization." If one were truly "dissociated" throughout a timeline of experiences—as I've understood it defined and used until now—they would literally not have memory nor learn nor react during that time, so would not be able to perform said functions (like what you've learned to do at work over the course of years in this state of malaise). Kinda what you imagine from media portrayal of a "padded room" patient. Just—there, physically, but not mentally at all. So I must agree with you folks here; and I just learned something about myself: I've basically been dissociating for my entire life. We have things to talk about next session. 😪

    • kittenintheyarn

      838d

      Yes, and they were years I was undergoing horrifying abuse, plus the time immediately following. It may be different for you, but for a lot of people, this happens when you are simply under greater stress than your mind I capable of dealing with.

    • beingnotseeming

      838d

      Yup. There’s about 13 straight years that I just wasn’t present for at all…

    • ostrich01

      839d

      I had a fugue period for a little over a year several years ago.

    • Danika

      839d

      @SAMHAIN thanks for sharing 💚 labels are tough, especially in mental health. As I understand it, dissociation is generally used to describe feeing detached from your environment, emotions, the people around you, or your body (on a spectrum I guess). I’ve never heard it used to describe someone who is totally non-functional. Short periods of detachment, like some of what you’ve described, are definitely normal. I don’t know if dissociation is the right word to describe what I went through, and it may be a combo of some of the other terms you mentioned, but it’s the closest I’ve found and generally helps me communicate about it with others (therapists, friends, whatever). It was different than I felt before it started, and coming out of it was like being dropped in someone else’s life. Anyway, if you’re experiencing that I hope you can get to the bottom of it. Really rough. I still didn’t know what was causing me to dissociate, I think it was a combination of things. Ketamine did the trick for me 🙃

    • SAMHAIN

      839d

      Preface: I'm not denying anyone's experience here; I'm trying to disambiguate a term that has become commonly-used which seems to have some further definitions within its description. This could help us to communicate our experiences more thoroughly, and to reflect on ourselves and hesl our trauma more precisely. I think different people have different experiences they label as "dissociation." Today I learned: what I and my psychs have always called "dissociation," is more specifically defined as "derealization" and "depersonalization," depending which of my-self/surroundings is detached or surreal. "Zoning out" is, as I now understand, is defined as "mild" dissociation, or "ordinary" dissociation; while "traumatic dissociation" is the more extreme form of these things discussed, including the symptoms of "amnesia, absorption, depersonalization, and derealization." If what I experience and have called "dissociation" happened for even a few days I'd be a dead body, because sitting stationary in place completely shut out into my own headspace staring ahead, not eating or *drinking* or speaking or doing anything physical at all would kill a human being. We need water every 4 days, minimum. I don't call being up walking around and functioning—but with my attention in another place in my head— "dissociation." My psychiatrists and I have called that "being extremely anxious and overwhelmed by a thought or mood" combined with some other things. Or—"depressed/mental fog." If I were in that headspace while milling about my day or job duties and then found myself to have stopped what I was doing and had become completely stationary with a blank expression, staring ahead and processing thought, and then were spoken to or disturbed and I reacted to the stimulus, then we would say: "I had just dissociated" for a moment while working. But the mood I was in all day would've been "depressed." Now I know this to be described by the subset terms "dissociative absorption" and "dissociative amnesia," depending whether or not I retain memory of the timespan. But the fact that there are clearly two headspaces here—one distracted, the other non-functional—suggests and supports that there are separate things going on. The general state of inattentiveness, melancholy, and probably emotional sensitivity/instability is usually described to me by a separate term (like "depression") which may include symptoms of memory loss, inattentiveness, emotional reactivity, etc. as part of its overall description/condition. The fact someone can still "go on autopilot" and perform even basic functions shows that the brain is multitasking and still responding to stimuli, albeit in a disrupted manner. I now understand highway autopilot is "ordinary dissociation/ordinary dissociative amnesia," while functioning at work and feeling like "nothing is real" to be "derealization." If one were truly "dissociated" throughout a timeline of experiences—as I've understood it defined and used until now—they would literally not have memory nor learn nor react during that time, so would not be able to perform said functions (like what you've learned to do at work over the course of years in this state of malaise). Kinda what you imagine from media portrayal of a "padded room" patient. Just—there, physically, but not mentally at all. So I must agree with you folks here; and I just learned something about myself: I've basically been dissociating for my entire life. We have things to talk about next session. 😪

    • Danika

      839d

      @dreamemulator sameeee. I’m dealing with what I guess is grief for the years I was in the void. My dad died while I was there. So much happened in my life during that period and it’s like I’m completely disconnected from it. I’m also trying to figure out how to interact with the world with the full range of feelings I’m experiencing… the past few months I’ve felt like a toddler experiencing stuff for the first time.

    • DreamEmulator

      839d

      I was gone for the better part of 10 years. I’ve only recently come back and it’s very daunting, even traumatic for me, to be in a place I don’t fully understand right now. -Fates

    • Pearl09

      839d

      It drives me a little crazy to not remember when it started. Then there's little things like a red coat I loved that I lost. No clue where it went to but I do remember looking for it.

    • Pearl09

      839d

      I have. I'm not sure when the abuse started. I was atleast 8 but possibly 6. I wasn't fully there until maybe 17. It's a blur. I sort of want to try hypnosis to remember more.

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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