Dissociation

Dissociation

Although it’s widely known as a process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts and feelings I think Dissociation is way bigger than that.
Depending on how your life has been it may reveal itself in the following ways:
  • Call in now and then, for a coffee and a quick chat.
  • Be a frequent and unwelcome visitor.
  • Or realise you are hearing this: “Earth to Gloria, Earth to Gloria, Are you there? Hello…….?” In other words you spaced out and people are trying to get your attention.

I think dissociation is on a continuum, and we all experience it!

Being in a conversation where someone is rambling on about something completely meaningless offers perfect conditions for dissociation to grow. It’s quite natural to switch off, and there wouldn’t be a person alive who hasn’t done that on occasion.  That is a mild form of dissociation.
Then there’s the middle ground, where we ‘lose time’, e.g., we may have driven home and not quite realise how we got there. That is also a form of dissociation.
We all do it.
Yep, we do.

The type of dissociation I want to look at though, is at the extreme end. The one that completely takes you out of your body. One of its key characteristics is its strong link with childhood trauma. It is both a universal and common sign of trauma for those of us that have experienced child sexual abuse or #csa. So commonly is it experienced among us, it is considered ‘taken as read’ and ‘normal’ by us survivors.
When you consider that abuse occuring, there’s no real surprise as to its prevalence.Depending on the nature and severity of abuse suffered, you may have experienced this frequently, and now you are recovering more and more, it’s not required. The problem being, it never got the message, and keeps showing up anyway.
So how can you move on from this if you feel it no longer serves you?
How can you tell it to bugger off, while thanking it at the same time?
What are some ways to reconnect with your body without spending hours talking about it?

Here’s some things I believe work easily and quickly, and they all engage the senses:

  1. Get outside in bare feet and feel the grass, or earth between your toes.
  2. Pick a flower or stop by a lavender hedge and smell deeply. Rub some on your hands so the scent stays with you longer.
  3. Look up at the sky and notice the cloud formation, stay looking till it shifts.
  4. Have a bite of something like an apple. Taste it, notice its texture.
  5. Use the mantra of ‘I am here, I am in my body, I am grounded’. Repeat 3 times.

When you start doing these activities you may just find you start feeling more connected to yourself and more grounded.
This will help. Remember recovery is different for everybody and there is no one set rule or adaptation that can be made. One size does NOT fit all.

In my case dissociation became my best friend. This was because of the trauma that went on for so many years it just wasn’t safe for me to be present much of the time at all. It helped me keep alive because I wasn’t aware of what was happening due to the fact my mind had taken me somewhere else completely; On a beautiful white horse with clouds scudding by.
Consequently, as an adult, learning how to reconnect back into my body, learning how to be and stay grounded, became quite the challenge.

But I did it, and you can too.
Be grateful for what you did to survive and emerge through this.
You made it through.
Congratulations.
Gloria Masters
Gloria Masters
[email protected]
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