I think I’m back to ground after almost a week of pretty debilitating dissociation. I’ve started feeling more present again since yesterday – today especially.
In therapy yesterday I talked with J about the dissociation and her desire to do EMDR with me. She said that before we start I need to improve my grounding skills and work on something called Dual Awareness.
I hadn’t heard of this before so have been doing some research into it. From what I can gather, it sounds like a form of mindfulness, in which you are aware of two co-existing states of being at the same time. It could be a dual awareness of the past and the present, or the awareness of what’s going on internally (e.g. breathing, heart rate, temperature) versus externally (e.g. in the environment). For example, you might be remembering a past experience or feeling a distressing emotion, whilst simultaneously noting to yourself where you are at in the present moment and what can be observed in objective reality.
The best definition I have found describes this Dual Awareness as a reconciliation between the Experiencing Self and the Observing Self. This is the explanation which makes the most sense to me based on what it is I experience – and my regular inability to hold these two selves in mind simultaneously.
It is supposed to help people who have experienced trauma ground themselves in the present moment without totally losing themselves in or to their pasts. It is an especially helpful tool for individuals recovering from PTSD, and especially for flashbacks. However it can also help people who struggle with dissociation, anxiety, nightmares and other difficulties as well.
I have adapted the protocol I found online originally developed by Rothschild in order to fit my own experiences and needs:
- Right now I am feeling _________
- And sensing _________ in my body
- And remembering _________ (if applicable)
- And at the same time…
- The date and time now are _______
- And my location is ________
- And I can see __________
- And hear/ touch/ smell _________
- So I know that there is no threat to me now
- Because I am here, not there