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Thread: Dissociative?

  1. #1

    Dissociative?

    I often feel like I "phase in and out" of being connected with what's going on around me. I have noticed (after I'm no longer disconnected) that I respond to some things by disconnecting or mentally freezing. Many times it's coupled with confusion and a lack of ability to make decisions.

    This response is seemingly triggered after a wide range of events -from feeling sad to things affecting my wellbeing.

    I find it difficult to concentrate and "snap back into life" even when I notice that I'm disconnected. Like, I can't come back to reality or something strange like that. I don't mean in a hallucinating kind of way...I don't have that...I mean in a severely "spaced out" way.

    This becomes very problematic because I need to be "present" and thinking clearly and in control. I don't feel like I'm in control. I don't mean that I feel erratic...It's more of a passive thing...like I can't stand up for myself or do what I need to do or stop staring. I don't even know what the heck I'm thinking about when I'm "stuck". I just feel stuck or out of it.

    Does this sound like I'm completely out to lunch? I read the dissociative types and maybe it's like the last one on the list?

    Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Dissociative?

    Hi Healthbound,

    What you're describing sounds familiar. I think I do the same thing occassionally. Sometimes I'll feel like I'm sitting in the back of my head and just watching the world around me, unable to speak-up and not sure if I even want to. I'll feel muffled, like I have a thick blanket wrapped around me but it's transparent and I can see through it.

    And I don't think you're out to lunch and you're right, it's important to be "present" and thinking clearly. Life is short and I want to be present for it, not stuck in my head somewhere.

    However, I just read a book called "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout. The book discussed Dissociative Identity Disorder and her theories on this illness. I didn't agree with everything she said but it was an interesting book, particularily the case studies. Anyway, she said that almost all of us "dissociate" to varying degrees, whether it's getting lost in a movie or developing another personality. She described the milder form as a "mental vacation", which I kind of like. She said that these sorts of mental vacations aren't a bad thing but when they start to affect our lives, we should look into them.

    Take care Healthbound and happy holidays!

  3. #3

    Dissociative?

    Hey Mary1968 - Thanks for replying!

    I think I'll check out that book...it sounds like I could get a pretty good idea of the various disorders and where that line between normal "mental vacationing" and problematic dissociating is.

    I like that you wrote, "when they start to affect our lives, we should look into them". I agree and although I'm not sure if I have a dissociative disorder, I find it is fairly problematic.

    I noticed that I've been very disconnected over the past week. Today I was driving and almost got into a car accident because I was not "present". I keep trying to snap myself out of it, but I still feel very spaced out (so, I'm not driving anywhere!).

    I'm not really aware of any anxious self talk at the time, but for some reason I think it might be linked to my anxiety. Probably because an event seems to trigger it. Then once I'm disconnected I find it difficult to bring myself back. All the sudden I'll realize that I've been "out of it" for a while or I'll get "stuck" doing something and forget about everything else for a while.

    I find it extremely difficult to focus too. Even writing this message - I'm finding it difficult. I'll be looking at the screen, have a hard time keeping my eyes focused and then the next thing I realize is that I'm staring at my keyboard feeling very confused.

    I also notice that I feel nervous writing about this because the thought of people reading that I dissociated scares me. I believe it makes me a freak and I don't want people to think I'm a freak.

    Also, it reminds me of when I thought my mom might have MPD (that's what I knew it as back then). Her symptoms really scared me. She would steal things from me and then claim that they were hers. One time I caught her. She was trying to steal some clothes from me. She had put them in a bag and placed them at the back door so I wouldn't see them. Except I saw her take them out there so I waited for a bit and then went out there and got them carried them back to my room and told her not to take my things.


    Urgh. Sometimes I forget how weird things used to be. I wonder if I'm just trying to find my own normalcy within my own past experiences. Like...where does my mom's illness and my sister's suicide separate from me. Or how can I be normal given the abnormalities I grew up with? Or - if I have similar symptoms as my mom or sister - does that mean I'm going to jump of a balcony or completely lose touch with reality, like they did?

    I think I'm just looking for some sort of parameters to gauge myself within and I think it is normal to look to one's family or family structure to find those parameters. But, when I try to do this I feel alarmed, confused and alone because I a) don't like what I see and b) think that any similarity between me and my mom, sister or dad means I'm loopy, dead or passive.

    I'm rambling now.
    And I just decided that I don't care if I sound loopy or not. I think it's a good thing that I know to write here because it helps me to process through whatever I'm experiencing. That's very different than ANY member of my family. So, who cares how I sound - I'm working through it.

  4. #4

    Dissociative?

    I think Mary is probably correct - It does sound more like just zoning out under stress or when feeling overwhelmed, healthbound.

    That doesn't mean you have to ignore it. It just means that the solution may be to learn other ways for coping with whatever is going on in your life at those moments.

  5. #5

    Dissociative?

    Thanks Dr. Baxter - I appreciate your opinion.

    I think I got anxious and overwhelmed. I started to panic and then went even further to diagnose myself with a wide range of mental illnesses.

    Thank you.

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