dissociation and what is behind it

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wingnut

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dissociation and what is behind it
« on: January 25, 2015, 03:04:12 PM »
So I have decided 2015 is my year to blow up, destroy and dismantle my dissociation.
I have been going to therapy and getting nowhere because a big OFF switch gets thrown and I'm sick of it.
I'm trying to get out of my head and check in on the body several times a day.
I have a little piece of paper with a list of gauges (per Babette Rotschild) such as Body sensations, Thoughts, Feelings, etc. and check that list to see what is going on at random moments but sometimes simply feeling the paper in my hand helps to ground me. Especially at stop lights where I catch myself 100000 miles away.

My point is as I peel back this defense, there seems to be a lot of fear behind it. It is a big surprise to me since I can be pretty fearless and I am sure it's been there for decades. What a big reveal though to learn the off button was protection against being overwhelmed by it. I am curious about what is next and looking forward to therapy this week.

I welcome your feedback.

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C.

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 10:36:55 PM »
All problem behaviors serve a purpose, sounds like you've discovered the purpose for your disassociation, to avoid fear and be safe.  That's a huge step and only a few weeks in to the new year.  Congratulations.

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marycontrary

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2015, 01:37:34 AM »
Wingnut, still dissociate some, but made a lot of headway these last few years.

This is what I have found.

Reality is far more bizarre than fiction. I was so overwhelmed by "reality", I was dumbstruck, and would dissociate. So I stick with the measurable reality,and stay present, I find that people are risky when they should be careful, over cautious when there is no risk. People collect mounts of garbage bought from Macy's and Walmart...and pay interest on that garbage via credit card. Most cannot do basic reasoning and calculation, and wonder why their lives are a disaster. Of course, I am mildly autistic, I see things like Spock.

I also find people very irritating, and I stuffed this down all my life to try to be "pleasant", and would become so exhausted I would dissociate.

I dissociate because the over stimulation overwhelms me, and because interpersonal reasoning is bizarre so much of the time.

What do you think...?

Also...good job, I know it is VERY tough to break the dissociation habit,
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 01:39:17 AM by marycontrary »

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wingnut

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 06:00:00 PM »

MC, yes, one way or another (fear or people or reveling suppressed emotions), we get overwhelmed and shut off.
I am curious as to how you stay present?
I am finding it takes a lot of effort to be attuned to where and when I disconnect and to make a conscious effort to pull out of it or stop it.
You are so right - it is tough to break, and HABIT is the key word. A tool that was handy at the time but now needs to go away.

Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 06:27:33 PM »
What you all said made me wonder...

People do act in weird ways. And one thing I was always afraid of wasn't just them - it was my own reaction to it. Because even mild bafflement would have been punished - let alone open criticism. To be accepted, I needed to be accepting and silent. So I began to push back every part of me that would have asked unwanted questions or made unwanted remarks. Maybe that plays a part in dissociation? Our fear of our own critical faculties, IF and as long as giving expression to them would only get us abused?

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marycontrary

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 03:21:14 AM »
I think this is such an important discussion. Like I said, I still have issues with this, but they are much less.

I basically isolated, worked consciously to stay present with the Tsunamis that would surface over and over. I did drink some and smoke pot some of these times, cause it became so agonizing. The existential reality of having a family incapable of love took a lot of Tsunami "iterations"....over and over the flashback would come up, and I would try to form a cohesive narrative, and try to make sense. Two years, amigos, two years I did this.

It took so much work to reconstruct my ego, that I will NEVER put myself in this situation again. I would rather be dead. Seriously, you have to have a minimum quality of life level to make the damn thing called "life" worth it.

The healing process from dissociation was so painful that my boundaries got very strong with whom I associate. I just cannot literally afford to be around certain behaviors or situations. I spent my 8th cat life recovering from dissociation (and it is still not gone), and I just don't have it to go through trauma like that again.

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wingnut

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 04:01:51 PM »
It is an important discussion.

Yes, Cat, what you said makes sense, if you cannot express yourself, you shut down.

Most of us survivors are using it as a defense, I did for decades and didn't even know what it was until my T pointed it out to me. I read an article about how dissociation stimulates an opioid in our brains which is one reason why it is addictive. Cheap, free drugs? I'm there! But seriously, it is an interesting study of self...I was angry last week and checked in with my body to recognize the increased heart rate, the tension in my chest. Being in my head all of the time has caused a serious disconnect between mind and body. Somehow, we still get along really well as I'm a very physical person, but what all am I missing out on? I'm a thinker, but at the same time, I feel things quite deeply. Trying to put all of the pieces together at one time.

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Kizzie

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 10:48:43 PM »
FWIW, my T gave me something I think might be relevant to this thread.  It's a simple diagram of two intersecting circles in which the left is titled "Thinking", the right  "Feeling" and the overlap in the middle is titled "Wisdom."  I tend to be on one side or the other side as a way of compartmentalizing and dissociating, of not being fully there. Is this somewhat what you're describing WN?

I have found the diagram useful in helping me to picture the "sweet spot", that overlapping zone where the "wisdom" lies which to my mind is really just about thinking and feeling in a more integrated fashion than many of us we do because of our CPTSD. 

As to how we put the pieces together, now that's another thing entirely lol. My strategy nowadays is simply to be more mindful of what I am thinking and feeling at the same time. I say "simply" but it's really hard work and darn those opiods are hard to give up!

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C.

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2015, 10:53:31 PM »
Great diagram idea and analogy.  I will use that to work on being centered in wisdom, the "sweet spot" that you describe.

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wingnut

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 05:03:39 AM »
Yes Quite similar Kizzie. Ive been trying to focus on body reactions and feelings vs thoughts since I'm in my head all of the time. Like you said in a different post, it requires a lot of 'checking in' on what the body is doing. I recently noticed tightness in my chest whenever I get angry or anxious. Probably has been happening forever and I'm now just noticing. I think my Venn diagram should say 'thoughts' and 'feelings' and 'present' where they intersect.

It takes some effort since I run on an even keel most times but maybe I'm just not feeling???

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Kizzie

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 10:00:06 PM »
I like the notion of the intersection being labelled "present." There is greater wisdom available to us when we are fully (in the) present -- works for me  :thumbup:  It's a bit ironic (and really sad) that in childhood being wise meant learning to disappear from the present.

I would say you probably are feeling but don't allow that into awareness by staying in the thinking zone most of the time. That's the dissociation bit I think the diagram is trying to capture. Do you find you're getting better at checking in these days though? 

The physical/feelings part really does require a lot of checking in for me. Says something about having been in a (semi) dissociated state most of the time.  Maybe it would help to make checking in a habit by programing a reminder on our iphones lol (JK - that would drive me nuts in very short order).

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wingnut

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2015, 11:44:17 PM »
Yes, definitely getting better but it sure has to be a conscious effort. Do you think are naturally integrated for normal people?


HA - that app could be a money maker - "PING! What are you feeling NOW?" "PING! What are you feeling NOW?"

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Kizzie

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 12:18:13 AM »
OMG, I see a new career path on the horizon - aps for CPTSD followed by a line of not-so-nice greeting cards perhaps  ;D

I do think nonCPTSDers are more integrated in terms of thinking and feeling, some more some less.  I asked a previous T once whether he thought about his IC and he said he did not really think about it all that much, that his playful, silly self would just engage.  I have felt so cut off from those feelings and have had to work hard to get at them, thinking them away lest I somehow end up feeling shame or looking stupid or silly.

Anyway, his comments about his IC are just one example but a good one I think that stuck with me as a bit of a goal. Sometimes now I catch myself bursting into a silly song for no real reason or cracking a joke and I think "Well now, there she is - finally!"  It feels spontaneous.

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lonewolf

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Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2015, 08:06:10 PM »
Wingnut, dissociation is a big one for me too. My personal feeling is that "fearlessness" actually goes hand in hand with that strategy since "dissociation" keeps me from being aware of  red flags or keeps frightened feelings at bay. If you are actually feeling the fear then I would say you have made a significant breakthrough.  :thumbup:

Re: dissociation and what is behind it
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2015, 01:57:05 PM »
...he said his playful, silly self would just engage.  I have felt so cut off from those feelings and have had to work hard to get at them, thinking them away lest I somehow end up feeling shame or looking stupid or silly. ... Sometimes now I catch myself bursting into a silly song for no real reason or cracking a joke and I think "Well now, there she is - finally!" 

Ah-hah. I get that too. I trained myself to stomp on so many of my impulses. Big ones, like "don't show your fear" or "don't grieve". And little ones, like "don't gesture expansively" or "don't fidget".

Do you think that could be a thing that makes dissociation worse? This way of not engaging in the real present reality with our real present self?