Dissociating is one of the most common responses to abuse and trauma. It involves feeling numb, detached or unreal and (while it happens to everyone once in a while) is experienced more frequently and severely in survivors. Dissociating people vary widely in symptoms and may experience any or all things from the following list.
Types of dissociation:
Common: “I feel strange / weird”, “I felt as if I was floating away”, “I felt disembodied / disconnected / detached / far away from myself”, “apart from everything”, “in a place of my own / alone”, “like I was there but not there”, “I could see and hear everything but couldn’t respond”.
“My surroundings seem unreal / far away”, “i felt spaced out”, “it was like looking at the world through a veil or glass”, “i felt cut off or distant from the immediate surroundings”, “objects appeared diminished in size / flat / dream-like / cartoon like / artificial / unsolid”.
Other dissociative symptoms:
Memory: “I drove the car home / got dressed / had dinner but can’t remember anything about it”, “I don’t who I am or how I got here” (fugue state), “ I remember things but it doesn’t feel like it was me that was there”.
Identity: “I feel like I’m two seperate people/someone else”.
Other: “I felt like Time was passing incredibly slow/quickly”, “I get so absorbed in a fantasy/TV programme that it seems real”, “I felt an emptiness in my head as if I was not having any thoughts at all”.
You may experiencing dissociation if you:
-find yourself staring at one spot, not thinking anything
-feel completely numb
-feel like you’re not really in your body, like you’re watching yourself in a movie
-feel suddenly lightheaded or dizzy
- lost the plot of the show or conversation you were focused on
- feel as if you’re not quite real, like you’re in a dream
- feel like you’re floating
-suddenly feel like you’re not a part of the world around you
-feel detached and far away from other people, who may seem mechanical or unreal to you
-are very startled when someone/something gets your attention completely forget what you were thinking just a moment ago
-suddenly cover your face or react as if you’re about it be hurt for no reason
- can’t remember important information about yourself, like your age or where you live
-find yourself rocking back and forth
-become very focused on a small or trivial object or event
-find that voices, sounds or writing seem far away and you sometimes have trouble understanding them
-feel as if you’ve just experienced a flashback (perhaps rapidally) but you can’t remember anything about it
-perceive your body as foreign or not belonging to you