Dissociation is a trauma response where you are physically “there”, but mentally and emotionally “spaced out”, and may not have full memory of an episode. It many times begins in childhood as a response to an environment that is abusive, chaotic, stressful or overwhelming. You are generally “detached” from your feelings, and may even experience an “out of body, or parallel body sensation.
Where unresolved and unhealed trauma exist, dissociation may become a regular, or “normal” way of life as a coping strategy, and as a reflex action, involuntary. It is a strategy to find a “safe place” for your body and mind to exist without risk.
Healing dissociation includes healing of past traumas, (forgiveness, releasing of judgements), practicing consciousness, and finding safe relationships where my mind and body can feel safe enough to actually practice being conscious. Archeological and forward journaling, accountability to a qualified therapist or counselor are also key elements in recovery.
If you are experiencing dissociation, or if others are noticing that you are “zoning out” in certain situations, you may want to look into speaking with a trusted counselor to see if this might be a sign for you to look into the possibility of unhealed, repressed trauma in your life.
BH/ Contribution: Dr. Nicole LePera