Have you ever driven home and suddenly realized you are further in your drive than you last recalled? Disconnection from a person’s surroundings is just one of the many possible symptoms that can accompany dissociation.
Dissociation is a separation of a person’s thoughts, feelings, memories and surroundings which can also affect a person’s sense of identity and/or their perception of time.
Not everyone experiences dissociation frequently, but when they do it can become more of an issue with daily life or functioning within society. First and foremost, what is dissociation?
According to the dictionary, dissociation is a break or a disconnect.
This can happen in a person’s thoughts, feeling, surroundings, and emotions that can disrupt your perception of time or identity. It can go away on its own in hours, days, or weeks. Some individuals notice it happens to them more than others, and in extreme cases trained therapists can explore a type of dissociative identity disorder.
Dissociative symptoms can happen on a continuum. Some dissociation from part of a car drive (i.e. when you suddenly feel like you are further in drive than you thought you were) can be normal, but it’s when it starts to impact a person’s ability to get through the day that it becomes more of a problem.
Starting from brief moments of “zoning out” (i.e where a person is disconnected from what people are saying, things they’re doing, and sense of time can be lost) to having other individuals telling them things they did or said something that they don’t remember doing while they were not under influence of substances.
With therapy this person can discover how their body’s physiological response is more of a protective mechanism to keeping them safe and mentally stable, and how they can adapt to more healthy ways of coping. First taking examples of past disclosures and discrepancies, and targeting deep-routed patterns of the brain’s maladaptive processing that can be replaced with positive ones together in and outside of sessions.