Sunday, 15 February 2009

Dealing with dissociation

The human body fascinates me in the way it can heal itself mentally and physically. I’m also still amazed how the human body recognizes it is experiencing something traumatic and therefore produces a defence mechanism to assist in blocking out the pain,

Research suggests that some children repeatedly exposed to trauma E.g. Sexual, physical or emotional abuse develop what I believe is a gift from God called ‘dissociation.’ Dissociation is like a survival strategy which enables children to ‘switch off’ psychologically from the traumatic experience.

Ever found yourself having ‘one of those days’ where you just can’t snap out of it? Is it good to continue using this technique when danger no longer exists in your life?

Today I found myself dissociating in a normal every day situation and I just couldn't snap out of my ‘spaced out’ self. I was asked an ordinary question by someone and just couldn’t reply. I somehow managed to get him to repeat what he had said. While he was asking me if I knew where some books were, I realized I was staring straight through him, unable to answer the simple question. I must have looked like a zombie, it was quite embarrassing!

When I left the building I found myself dissociating while crossing the road, not very safe! So at that point I had to intervene and began flicking my wrist to try and snap out of it. This is just one technique I use, others include:

  • Distracting myself in some way: playing mahjong and going for a run seem to do the trick!
  • Using the “thought stopping” technique and mentally shouting “No.”
  • Making a positive affirmation and saying it in my head E.g. “I’m in control of my mind, I’m not in danger.”

As they say, time is a healer. After having recognized dissociation and when you are experiencing it, only then can you start dealing with it. Although sometimes it is something unwanted in life I also believe it can be seen in a positive light as your body tries to protect you. Who knows- if I am ever fortunate enough to experience childbirth, perhaps I could try and voluntarily dissociate from the physical pain!!