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Looking after ourselves



Does anyone mind if I ask this question?  When you have dissociated can you hear people if they are talking to you? I’m asking because my psychologist said he was talking to me while I was dissociated and when I came back he asked me if I heard him and I said no. So I've suggested to him that when he's notices I've dissociated that he keeps talking to me as it might bring me back quicker even though I can't hear him.


Does anyone have any other ideas I can ask him to do?


Re: Dissociation

hi @16sundayz
i have and still do experience dissociation. When i do dissociate i dont normally hear people if they are talking to me and im often unaware of my actions. i have once driven from one place to other without any recollection.
I am not sure what might help however your psychologist should have some ideas on what to do though as that is what they are trained in- no offense to them of course and they are only human however they did study these sorts of techniques to help when we dissociate, shut down etc.

Re: Dissociation

@16sundayz   My experience with dissociation is a little different.  I started to dissociate when I was sexually assaulted at 10yo.  I didn’t know what it was, I used to call it “stepping out”.  It’s only through counciling that I now know I had dissociated.


As the attack started to happen I found myself in a boat surrounded by calm water.  I would lay down inside the boat and stare at the sky and cloud watch.  I only became aware of myself when I was outside walking home.  I can’t actually remember the assault, but once I was aware of myself I would be hit with all the feelings I would have experienced had I been there at the time.  (Even though I was actually there if that makes sense)


I had previously been sexually assaulted by a group of 4 when I was 8 so I knew what those feelings were.


When I was 11 I was sexually abused by an old man, friend of the family for almost 2 years.  I used to “step out” a lot during that time, not always but toward the end it was frequent.  I only ever became aware of myself after I had left the house and was on my way home.  I have no idea what I was like during the time I was dissociating, I don’t know if I interacted with the abuser, I really don’t know.  I would get those terrible feelings of what I should have experienced but can’t remeber the actual attack when I was aware.


As an adult I don’t “step out” anymore, but I do feel like I slide out of my body into the body of the presence beside me that has no emotion.  I am fully aware of being spoken to and I do interact, but I feel nothing.  My emotions don’t match the situation I’m in.  


My councillor said both forms of dissociation are very similar in that I close down, only, as an adult I can cope enough that I don’t need to remove myself completely and go to the boat, but sliding into the emotionless presence means I still don’t want to be there.  


I havent got any ideas, I don’t know how to bring myself back either.  I can’t stop myself from going, and I can’t force myself to come back, it just happens when it’s ready - which I hate because I have no control of myself.


Im very interested to hear what other people have experienced and if they have some helpful ideas too.

Re: Dissociation

I figure it is a bit like the noise inside one's head is louder than the noise outside.


Maybe you can have a visual cue ... like shaking a tissue box up and down ... to get your attention ...


Good queistion and subject. I have to work this stuff a bit.

Smiley Happy

Re: Dissociation

Hi @16sundayz 


Most of the time when I disassociate I can hear things as if they are more enhanced and even continue to interact in the conversation but feel like I'm looking in on myself not experiencing it first hand. However, I then often can't remember what was said once out of the disassociated state which has led to some embarrassing moments where I look stupid (at least that's how I perceive it anyway). 


The times I completely shut down and hear nothing I have been told I have still appeared to be paying attention until asked a direct question to which I obviously do not respond. When this happens I'm imagining I'm somewhere safe and feel at peace with myself which is something I rarely if ever feel in my every day life. 


When I disassociate I feel completely numb and void of any emotion and the instant the disassociation ends I am hit with a tidal wave of deep emotions. It is beyond overwhelming but when in a public place or surrounded by people it is difficult to show these so it's once I'm alone that I break down. I have even excused myself from groups to go somewhere alone to be able to cry uncontrollably to allow the emotions to flow through me.


In my experience it's much better to come out of a disassociated state on your own but obviously in a therapy session that may not be practical. For me the worst way back to reality is being physically touched. I have a friend who responds to a couple of specific sounds to bring her back. 


It really is a matter of trial and error til you find something that works for you. Unfortunately for some this may take a while. 



Re: Dissociation

Yeah I couldn't hear my psychologist calling my name twice because he told me after I came back. I agree with you completely about being touched even on the hand to be brought back, it would be more of a shock, not be at all helpful. I've always come out of a disassociated state on my own and have suggested even more things to him to get me back quicker or however long it takes as he's said it's always under a few minutes.


I've asked him to tell me the next it happens, what's he doing and what I'm doing and he's always said that I'm just staring like at a screen or something and not blinking. It's always okay to go off and cry by yourself because I'm the type of person that an't cry in front of other people let alone a psychologist. Thanks so much for your reply, it's really helped.

Re: Dissociation



Sometimes just simply knowing others experience similar thoughts, feelings and physical responses to these has helped me cope with going through them. 


I am currently working through my schemas to try and work out why I disassociate. Have you tried this with your psychologist?

Re: Dissociation

I don't know that he does it. But I dissociated because of trauma triggers.

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