Dissociation: going to a place that’s sometimes scary, always safe

Two days ago I experienced a distancing between brain and body.

I knew I was dissociating.

What was happening? Why was it happening? How did it feel?

I’ve certainly experienced similar situations before. But why this time?

What had caused it?

  • social / sensory overload; being out and about in different situations
  • I describe this more fully in my blog on Social Overload, but basically I’d had a couple of days where things like noise / unwanted physical contact were overwhelming me

Why was I experiencing it?

  • my brain just needed to let me know that I’d pushed it too far
  • dissociation can play a big part in Borderline Personality Disorder
  • the trauma I experienced in my past have set up my fight or flight response to ‘flight’ by default; this ‘flight’ usually takes the form of complete shutting down of my brain functioning to the extent that it doesn’t relate to my body

How did it feel?

  • extreme tiredness coupled with inability to rest
  • when I touched my body I couldn’t always tell where it was being touched
  • I also couldn’t tell that I was touching myself – I had to concentrate so hard on making physical contact in order to relate that the touching and the feeling of being touched were both coming from me
  • the bottom line is that it can be extremely scary and it takes a lot of reasoning with yourself that it will be alright – eventually
  • feeling vulnerable and weepy; that tends to signal the end

The first few times were pretty scary. I had no idea what was happening, what had caused it, when it would end, if it would end. Now I accept that my brain is just telling me ‘enough is enough’. I breathe into it, trying not to over-analyse, and relaxing my body until it can be at rest.

Important notes

  • there are other terms for this particular experience
  • it doesn’t signal a Borderline Personality Disorder although it can be a significant feature for some individuals
  • I only experience it as part of my BPD and not as part of any other diagnoses so I cannot comment on these
  • I am not an expert – and I’m not posting this as an expert; these are my own, individual experiences