Continuum of Dissociation

Continuum of Dissociation

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8 thoughts on “Continuum of Dissociation

  1. I must have a touch of this. I’ve always been one to get calmer in a crisis, as though I welcome the excuse to focus. I learned this back in my days in the newsroom when all hell was breaking loose. Some people couldn’t handle it. One woman who worked the copy desk practically had a nervous breakdown every night, and eventually got out of the business. I found I liked it. But in my fiction writing, one of the joys and oddities is what happens in creating characters. They seem to eventually become more like real people to me, and writing the stories is more of a collaboration with them (although I don’t talk to them in my head otherwise, thankfully. At least, not yet. ) This must be some kind of dissociation, but a necessary kind to the creative process. Maybe it’s more like what actors go through with the characters they inhabit. My problem is usually flipping mentally from one character to the other, remembering who they are and inhabiting them a bit, while still maintaining the author’s distance and objectivity. Totally off topic there, but you got me thinking.

    • There is healthy dissociation in what you describe and in what I described. Healthy dissociation helps filter out the rampant noise in life that manifest by potential distractions. Example: I have used my iron-clad dissociation skills as a performer for as long as I can remember. Nothing shakes my concentration and ability to recover. Same thing in public speaking/presenting. It’s as if those “threats” to delivery do not exist in my world. That’s a good thing. Further, my ability to withstand physical pain is impressive. Based upon my abused childhood, that was a necessity too. The good part is that I had no fear of childbirth without drugs and became an awesome distance runner. 😀 The bad part is not recognizing when to stop running because of knee damage. :/

      Unhealthy dissociation has facilitated my disconnect from daily life. I have found myself descending so far into my own world that I struggle to find the bread crumb path back. Sometimes the dissociation buffers the extreme pain I am trying to face so I have to pull myself out of that place and *feel* it. Then, I have to pull a little harder so I can resurface and interact with others. I have learned a lot about the extreme amount of dissociation I often engage in and now see that absolutely every individual dissociates from time to time. It’s normal, to a point.

      • I hear you. There’s something implacable about emotions we cram down; they don’t give up. I learned a technique (don’t know if it deserves the title of ‘meditation’ or not), but I consciously stop repressing the feeling that I sense down there, and just let myself sink into it, and/or let it surface and wash over me, really *feel* whatever it is. Usually it’s a fear or a sense of loneliness or pain, or something negative like that. But once released, it looses its power, which only comes from the energy I spend to repress it. I very much know what you mean.

      • Some of the Buddhist forms of meditation support sitting with the uncomfortable feelings and fully experiencing them before releasing them. This is an open-ended process with regard to the time it takes. Sometimes one can only hope to simply get comfortable with the feeling part and it may take more than a few tries to actually release [whatever]. Similarly, some forms of verbal [talk] therapy for PTSD involve reliving the worst memories while verbalizing, over and over, until those memories no longer produce anxiety or other dysfunctions (e.g., somatic manifestations).

        You were spot on.

  2. This reminded me of a book I read long ago. It’s out of print now, but available through Amazon. “Our Many Selves,” by Elizabeth O’Connor. It’s about the internal fractures we have, and the struggle to integrate them without denying them. It influences how I see character development now, as a matter of fact. Just realized that. . The reviews give an idea of the content.

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