Dissociation and Tactile Flashbacks at work

I had a really hard year and I have CPTSD but have had it well controlled(-ish) until I had some very re-traumatizing events happen and (very long story short) I have recently been having issues dissociating, sometimes while I am at work, and at it's extreme experience very vivid tactile flashbacks that I don't want to experience at work (which causes me to have a psychogenic blackout...which I didn't know was even a thing until recently) and I have some ideas for restructuring my routine, actually using my optional 10 min break, ect...

I know that the best method is to try to prevent getting to that point of dissociation in the first place but...any advice for grounding once you get there?

A lot of the listed ones I've seen suggested don't seem to work for me and somehow end up putting me even further into my own head/ can make it worse...I find that deep breathes while opening and closing my hands in sync with my breathing seems helpful but was wondering what other people do that work best for them.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
A lot of the listed ones I've seen suggested don't seem to work for me and somehow end up putting me even further into my own head/ can make it worse...I find that deep breathes while opening and closing my hands in sync with my breathing seems helpful but was wondering what other people do that work best for them.

what works for other people --or even what worked/didn't work for me in my last go-round-- only confuses me further when i am in the grips of dissociation. i get further by allowing myself to get creative and trust my instincts makes far better use of what little self-awareness i have inside the current dissociated state. it also helps me to review my methods and results when i am in a more stable condition.

you've found something which works for you. trust it and go from there. practice, practice, practice.
 

ruborcoraxxx

Sponsor
Does that happen more often at work than somewhere else?

What I did when that happened was to have a pause and go the kitchen making a coffee. Then going to the bathroom to place my face against the cool of the tiles because cold does have a way to make you come back. Can be your hands too, but I like to place my face. I think it's an exercise from DBT against fits of rage initially but I find it works superbly for dissociation.

I did have micro blackouts where apparently people called me several times and I just stayed there staring at the window.

But yeah physically touching something with a specific texture or changes of temperature like coffee generally makes me come back. Then, if needed, deep breaths.

Deep breaths are great against stress but less so for dissociation. Dissociation happens pretty differently to everyone, I generally have the time to understand it's that and make my procedure. If nothing else is available or if I can't move faster than the dissociation is getting there, I place my face against the desk. Not the most normal thing for a worker but eh, better than just standing there.

I hope you're well 😌
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I had a really hard year and I have CPTSD but have had it well controlled(-ish) until I had some very re-traumatizing events happen and (very long story short) I have recently been having issues dissociating, sometimes while I am at work, and at it's extreme experience very vivid tactile flashbacks that I don't want to experience at work (which causes me to have a psychogenic blackout...which I didn't know was even a thing until recently) and I have some ideas for restructuring my routine, actually using my optional 10 min break, ect...

I know that the best method is to try to prevent getting to that point of dissociation in the first place but...any advice for grounding once you get there?

A lot of the listed ones I've seen suggested don't seem to work for me and somehow end up putting me even further into my own head/ can make it worse...I find that deep breathes while opening and closing my hands in sync with my breathing seems helpful but was wondering what other people do that work best for them.
I found it helpful to rate my dissociation on a 0-1-2-3-4-5 scale and identify what symptoms I have as I dissociate and the severity.When I did this, I looked at some Likert scales, and then made my own Likert scale up for how dissociation impacted me. I have symptoms that involve: hearing (includes tinitis getting louder), body temperature -feeling warm or hot, visual (includes sight/color), smell-lack of, vestibular issues-balance, coordination-I am so much more clumsy and go much slower so I don't fall if I'm dissociative....but I'd rather just sit and veg....my ability to speak goes to shit....as my ability to think.....from multi-syllable high level words to "No" , if I can say No.....I'm a 4 s

It can be an insightful experience and if you take care to do it, and the next few times you find yourself dissociating, you "refine it by looking for anything you forgot" those symptoms will be helpful in stopping dissociating......Try figuring out what behaviors would be a 1 dissociation, 2-3( can get grounded more easily here), a 4 (almost gone but still can help myself) and a 5-gone all the way away in my head. Rating your dissociation helps you know what to look for and how rapidly or badly it is getting , and I believe this is key (knowing what you're dealing with), to getting a grip on it and grounding. Leaving the setting I'm in and moving is typically helpful when I'm a 2 or 3, going out in the cold without a jacket, changing the topic when I'm talking, feeling things that are rough or slimy, smelling peppermint......and other pungent aroma's........but movement works best and fastest if I'm very threatened and dissociating quickly. I have to make myself move....and I'd much rather sit there and meld into the wall when I'm REALLY feeling the need to dissociate.....but the flip side to that is the more you are aware of it and try to stop it.....the better you get, and over time, as you work on it and are not in active trauma.......working on it can lead to getting control over it.....that's where I am now. Perfect no, but I'm a whole lot better than before and usually catch it much earlier. So, try picking apart your dissociation and creating a scale with measurable features so when you are in the moment.....you can assess your level of dissociation.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
Firstly I think all you guys who are functional enough to work deserve to recognise what an achievement that is.

I disassociate a lot. It’s become almost habitual for me. Things I do when I really need to ‘land’ and ‘stay’ in my body :

The 5 senses exercise - 5 things you can see , 4 you can touch ( bonus if you move to touch a different texture, etc. name something specific - what’s the quotient thing you can hear? What can you see that’s green ? What’s the best colour you see? The best smell? The strongest?


I listen to a particularly grounding poem that keeps me present in the moment and also helps with anxiety ( this is obviously only useful if you work in an environment in which you can wear headphones ).

Sudden change of temperature- drink a really cold drink, take out the trash in a t shirt on an icy day. End your shower with a cold blast ( I really only do this when I’m emotionally robust or numb yet floaty - Bathing is sacred imo )

Wear a fragrance that you like - smell your wrist surreptitiously if feeling needing an ‘anchor’. Perfume not cutting it? Olbas oil or peppermint oil.

I use alarms on my phone to mark stages in my day where key chores must me done - if I float off I still hit those or at least Delaware them .
 
what works for other people --or even what worked/didn't work for me in my last go-round-- only confuses me further when i am in the grips of dissociation. i get further by allowing myself to get creative and trust my instincts makes far better use of what little self-awareness i have inside the current dissociated state. it also helps me to review my methods and results when i am in a more stable condition.

you've found something which works for you. trust it and go from there. practice, practice, practice.
Very good point.

Does that happen more often at work than somewhere else?

What I did when that happened was to have a pause and go the kitchen making a coffee. Then going to the bathroom to place my face against the cool of the tiles because cold does have a way to make you come back. Can be your hands too, but I like to place my face. I think it's an exercise from DBT against fits of rage initially but I find it works superbly for dissociation.

I did have micro blackouts where apparently people called me several times and I just stayed there staring at the window.

But yeah physically touching something with a specific texture or changes of temperature like coffee generally makes me come back. Then, if needed, deep breaths.

Deep breaths are great against stress but less so for dissociation. Dissociation happens pretty differently to everyone, I generally have the time to understand it's that and make my procedure. If nothing else is available or if I can't move faster than the dissociation is getting there, I place my face against the desk. Not the most normal thing for a worker but eh, better than just standing there.

I hope you're well 😌
Thank you!

I found it helpful to rate my dissociation on a 0-1-2-3-4-5 scale and identify what symptoms I have as I dissociate and the severity.When I did this, I looked at some Likert scales, and then made my own Likert scale up for how dissociation impacted me. I have symptoms that involve: hearing (includes tinitis getting louder), body temperature -feeling warm or hot, visual (includes sight/color), smell-lack of, vestibular issues-balance, coordination-I am so much more clumsy and go much slower so I don't fall if I'm dissociative....but I'd rather just sit and veg....my ability to speak goes to shit....as my ability to think.....from multi-syllable high level words to "No" , if I can say No.....I'm a 4 s

It can be an insightful experience and if you take care to do it, and the next few times you find yourself dissociating, you "refine it by looking for anything you forgot" those symptoms will be helpful in stopping dissociating......Try figuring out what behaviors would be a 1 dissociation, 2-3( can get grounded more easily here), a 4 (almost gone but still can help myself) and a 5-gone all the way away in my head. Rating your dissociation helps you know what to look for and how rapidly or badly it is getting , and I believe this is key (knowing what you're dealing with), to getting a grip on it and grounding. Leaving the setting I'm in and moving is typically helpful when I'm a 2 or 3, going out in the cold without a jacket, changing the topic when I'm talking, feeling things that are rough or slimy, smelling peppermint......and other pungent aroma's........but movement works best and fastest if I'm very threatened and dissociating quickly. I have to make myself move....and I'd much rather sit there and meld into the wall when I'm REALLY feeling the need to dissociate.....but the flip side to that is the more you are aware of it and try to stop it.....the better you get, and over time, as you work on it and are not in active trauma.......working on it can lead to getting control over it.....that's where I am now. Perfect no, but I'm a whole lot better than before and usually catch it much earlier. So, try picking apart your dissociation and creating a scale with measurable features so when you are in the moment.....you can assess your level of dissociation.
Wow that is amazing that you came up with this. Thank you so much for sharing, I think this would be a really structured way for me to approach it and I think that is very helpful.

Firstly I think all you guys who are functional enough to work deserve to recognise what an achievement that is.

I disassociate a lot. It’s become almost habitual for me. Things I do when I really need to ‘land’ and ‘stay’ in my body :

The 5 senses exercise - 5 things you can see , 4 you can touch ( bonus if you move to touch a different texture, etc. name something specific - what’s the quotient thing you can hear? What can you see that’s green ? What’s the best colour you see? The best smell? The strongest?


I listen to a particularly grounding poem that keeps me present in the moment and also helps with anxiety ( this is obviously only useful if you work in an environment in which you can wear headphones ).

Sudden change of temperature- drink a really cold drink, take out the trash in a t shirt on an icy day. End your shower with a cold blast ( I really only do this when I’m emotionally robust or numb yet floaty - Bathing is sacred imo )

Wear a fragrance that you like - smell your wrist surreptitiously if feeling needing an ‘anchor’. Perfume not cutting it? Olbas oil or peppermint oil.

I use alarms on my phone to mark stages in my day where key chores must me done - if I float off I still hit those or at least Delaware them .
These are great ideas! I know the temperature change really works well for me but hadn't thought of using it to ground...super easy as I work and live somewhere very cold. I would also love to give the fragrance thing a try as well.
Thanks!
 
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