Lets discuss disassociation. Disassociation is a symptom of some mental health conditions that involves a break in how your brain processes information. This break can cause you to feel detached from you thoughts, feelings, and emotions, sometimes even creating questions of identity. In extreme cases, the person may not be fully aware of what they are doing or may not accurately remember what occurred during a disassociative episode.
Disassociation is also different from the everyday daydreaming that people do. And I know I am not the only person who has driven somewhere familiar and can’t remember the drive because my brain was doing it from muscle memory. Again, these things are normal, and not the disruptive reality that disassociation creates.
For me, there are times where I feel closed off from what is going on around me during periods of heightened anxiety. During these times it can be hard to focus or keep my mind on what is going on in the present. At its worst this feels like watching what is happening around me instead of experiencing it.
I do recognize that it could be a lot worse. As I said, some extreme cases can cause lapses in memory and judgment. Nevertheless, as I become more mindful of how my anxiety and depression impact me, I am starting to be more aware of the distance created by my anxiety and depression.
And being honest about this is important. It is important because it allows me to be more aware of when I need support, and more honest when discussing my anxiety and depression with loved ones, therapists, or my psychiatrist. And more importantly than that, it lets others who experience disassociation on any level that it is okay to talk about it.
Disassociation might be something that some people want to keep under wraps. They may not want to let others know that they are disassociating for fear that they will be viewed as not being in control. Yet I believe that being honest about the disassociative episodes allows all of us who live with mental illness to take some of the control back from our demons. Because when we are honest about these times, we can reach out and get the additional support we need to make our disassociative selves whole once again.