Struggling with Dissociation

Have any of you actually managed to “beat” or overcome dissociation? I don’t mean within single instances like the intense bursts with somewhat tangible triggers e.g. a trauma response, I mean generally, within life.

I spend probably 60-70% of my average waking time feeling dissociated and it was as high as 90% in recent weeks before skiing, for no tangible reason.

It’s really getting me down. When I’m like this, even when things are going “okay”, it’s like I’m just existing, not really living a worthwhile life at all.

Skiing helped me feel grounded and present to the point that I took it for granted and forgot the extent to which dissociation rules my life. But now that I’m off the slopes, the dissociation has hit with a vengeance and it feels like it’s back even stronger.

It’s hard to describe, and because I can just about”function”, I feel like I’m being dramatic. So I’ll try and be descriptive –

I feel like I’m in a constant fog. The world feels far away and out of my grasp. My senses are often muted. I find it impossible to concentrate or even take in simple stimuli such as light conversation and respond to them “normally”. Time is distorted. I am in slow motion. My brain and body aren’t in sync. Sometimes I feel trippy and my vision goes in and out or is blurry. I’m in a constant daze. My limbs don’t feel part of my body when I look at them, especially my hands. My memory isn’t working. I can’t learn. Nothing feels real. I do not exist.

I am so sad that it is back again. Every time it comes back after a period of “feeling alive” (e.g. whilst skiing), the disparity is such that it hits me extra hard.

My twelve year old sister just tried to teach me a card game and play and chat with me. I had to tell her I felt unwell because I was so spaced out that I couldn’t take in or make sense of anything she was saying. I feel so guilty to her because she needs me to be present, but I can’t be. I even did ice diving but after five minutes it stopped working. I told her I was really tired, which is the excuse I always use for the dissociation. It seems to work.

I’m scared I’ll never be able to have children because my dissociation gets in the way of being able to connect to people in a meaningful way; and there is no way I could bring a child into this world if i am unable to be fully present with them throughout their life.

It influences me to take myself off and isolate until it passes because conversing and pretending is so difficult, if not impossible, to do when I’m not present. I also end up wasting so much time when stuck in this state, which is frustrating as I have a ton of work and other commitments to do, and little time to lose.

Has anyone found any long-term solutions for dissociation? I don’t mean temporary grounding techniques. I need to target this stuff from its core, so I can live my life instead of just floating through it. I would really appreciate it. Any therapies or treatments, lifestyle changes or whatever. Thanks guys.


20 thoughts on “Struggling with Dissociation

  1. Yes. I have. Its taken me about 7 years and sometimes it sucks when I now choose Not to dissociate, but overall its, for me been the right choice.
    I just kept grounding, realizing the pay off when I stayed in/with myself, and eventually I noticed that I was here more than not.
    NOT a quick, painless or easy task. Keep reaching out for support around it. You can do it! πŸ’–

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  2. What you describe is exactly how I feel/ experience it. I often say it feels like I’m floating and my limbs are just so heavy, I almost can’t lift them. Like you, I also have thoughts about the future and whether I would have children in this state; I’m still suffering the consequences of my upbringing so why do that to someone else. It’s hard. I’m sorry that you’re going through this too, it’s unfair, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I recently started going to Art Psychotherapy though and it seems to be doing something, I’m only 5 weeks into a Mentalisation programme (couldn’t get DBT where I live). I’m far from okay but I get more moments of actually feeling present. I guess getting to the root of it all and doing some serious self discovery & treatment will help long term.
    I’m not sure about you but I find that the more stressed I feel, the more disconnected I become, so I’m trying to keep doing the little techniques (breathing, mindfulness, dipping arms in ice etc) to just try and keep me a little calmer or just from preventing it all from escalating. For now I’m just trying & hoping to stay hopeful that eventually it will get better; it’s hard work but eventually we will get there. Take care lovely, sending you positive vibes & bugs

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    • This is really kind of you – thanks so much. I really relate to everything you’ve said. I have been doing a lot of therapy and treatment for years so it’s easy to get hopeless about this stuff, but hopefully in time I will work through it, whatever that means. I do sometimes notice that I dissociate more when stressed or triggered but other times it doesn’t seem to correlate; I can literally wake up that way or go for days with little reprieve for no tangible reason! It’s great to here that you’re on your own recovery journey and that there are some more present moments for you. Good luck and take care, thanks again πŸ™‚

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  3. I’m 6 weeks into DBT and your post really strikes a chord. I wasn’t sure if I was dissociating or just … being spacey and absent-minded and non-mindful. My therapist has never mentioned it at all. I’m really sorry you have to deal with it so much. It sucks. I hope EMDR helps you, I’ve heard really good things about it.

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  4. Hi. This is the first time I have discussed thos feeling to anyone – I feel as though I am in constant fog, and in some instances, I feel like a completely different person. I have been like this for years, people assume it’s just a character trait of mine. I would often get called “dopey”. Only recently I have begun practicing mindfulness, which has fully brought the entent of this ‘state’ into awareness. I have also begun journaling to keep track of my symptoms. It really prohibits my functions and effects my behaviour and my sense of self. I am unsure of the correct way to go abou treating this, and what is the route of this problem.



    • Have you ever consulted with a mental health professional? It could very well be dissociation, I mean it sounds like it is from what you are describing, although of course I don’t know you’re story and am not pro πŸ˜‰ I’m sorry you’re living in this fog, it’s really not something I would wish on anyone. I would recommend reading around the topic more and if you feel it fits (both your present and past) then perhaps looking into options for treatment or support? It isn’t unfortunately the kind of thing that just goes on it’s own – although short term there are a range of grounding techniques that may be helpful….


      • Thank you so much for your response. I have done quite a bit of research and have ruled out any neurological issues, due to the fog lessening when I am able to engage bodily sensations. I am afraid to confront a therapist, as I am unsure whether there is much they can do. Unsure if this is a symtoms, but last year I began to experience extremely bad tension headaches whenever I felt ‘threatened’ by someone, and it was as if I could literally feel myself leave my body. My feet hands would become cold and there would be this dull ache at the top of my head. It was this that lead me to meditation, which without, I would probabily still be trying to function from within this fog. Would you recommend going to see a therapist? Again, thank you for the response. It’s really reassuring know there are people who have experienced or are familiar with what I am talking about.




      • I would probably recommend most people see a therapist πŸ˜‰
        I feel unable to say as I don’t know about your life but usually dissociation is a response to extreme emotions or experiences that we are unable to handle (usually as children/ earlier on in life, developmentally) and so we cut off in this way. If that is fitting for you, perhaps it would be worth working through and processing whatever lead you to have to use dissociation as a coping mechanism in the first place. What’s inspiring is how you’ve done your own research and put in hard work to try and help yourself from within – that’s not easy so hats off to you πŸ˜‰
        I really relate to the feeling you described, with regards to leaving your body when threatened. It sounds like that “comes from somewhere”.
        I think everyone should be in therapy so I’m biased but I definitely think it’s worth a try – the alternative is that you don’t try, but then you will never know if perhaps it could have helped (and the fear will have won) when you deserve a chance…. All the best πŸ™‚


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