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Does Anyone Have Helpful Hints On Dealing With Disassociation?

Discussion in 'General' started by becvan, Apr 17, 2007.

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  1. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    I was just wondering if anyone has any information on ways to minimize this? Anything out of a book or a handout from a support group or something?

    I've been looking but haven't found anything yet.

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  3. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

    Ugh, I was just discussing this today with my counselor. I've spent most of the last month's sessions totally checked out, and it's starting to become a frustration because I'm not getting anywhere in therapy. As soon as we touch on something important, I'm gone.

    One thing I'm working on there is to try to say, I'm checking out, at the beginning when I can feel it happening. For me it's like I turn off my feelings and then the world starts to slide out of focus, and then I'm in the zone. So sometimes I can say something early and we can get into a conversation and I stay more present.

    When I'm not in therapy, I have no solutions. Nobody knows I do this and I'm not about to explain it to anyone. I pretty much let myself go and try to make a mental note of what was going on or why I think i drifted, so I can keep better track (I know now that I do it when I'm angry, scared, or tired).

  4. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Ugh, indeed! I've been having problems with this too...in counselling, every time we get too close to some aspect of what happened I zone out...now, the counsellor makes sure she can see my face (hard to do under a hood) so that she can try to bring me back if/when I start drifitng...

    When I'm alone and it happens...I am helpless...
  5. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

    Heh, so I'm not the only one who goes in with a hood up? I also often wear a scarf--cover my mouth or my eyes with it.

    I'm not generally able to stop it once its started, but I do know that I'm less likely to drift if:

    • My feet are on the floor and I'm sitting up reasonably straight (my preferred position is curled up in a ball, which lets me go pretty quick)
    • I can maintain eye contact, or even just quick glances. The minute I look down and stay down....I'm gone.
    • I do deep breaths. I tend to freeze and stop breathing.
    • I stay aware of my muscle tension. I tend to go when I'm wound up and frozen.

  6. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

    the only thing i can add is try not to do it while you're driving. you might wind up in another state(province, i guess, for you bec).
  7. moki

    moki Guest

    This is an interesting topic to me. When I'm in individ. therapy, I don't check out at all and am very willing to dig deep. When I'm in marriage counseling, however, as soon as my dh starts to act like a 'know it all', like my stepfather, I just zone out. I was zoning out so badly that my therapist recommended I go on lexapro just to help me stay 'there' so we could accomplish more in the sessions. I mean, obviously I've been depressed also, but I'm not sure being on lexapro will help me not check out.

    This is something I have to really make myself not do when we are in the session. It is very very hard to make myself do something (or not do something) that in the past worked so well for me.
  8. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    Although helpful for future reference, I'm not in therapy currently. (will keep noted for when therapy is available though!) *makes mental note to add more detail to my questions next time!*

    I'm actually asking because it's a major problem with me and my son is having issues at school with it.

    I don't get a warning, I'm here and then I'm gone. As simple as that. It's all the time.

    So other than grounding in therapy, has anyone's therapist given suggestions outside of the office?

    Also drugs are not an option for a 12 year old. So that's out. Looking for anything to either stop it before it starts or to snap out of it once it does (without getting jarred so badly it causes an anxiety attack.)

    So far it sounds like.. we are on are own for figuring this out.. so let's brain storm!

  9. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated


    Because I've been experiencing the dissociating/zoning out so much lately, I can list a couple of things that have been helping me. 1) Getting outside and doing something productive or beautifying in nature. The first time in quite a while that I've felt grounded and kind of normal was working in my yard yesterday. So I did it again today. And will probably do another hour or so tomorrow. And the next day, and the next...
    2) Yoga - it helps me remember to breathe in a healthy way and it also is a physical exercise; exercise in general is helpful. There are yoga classes nearly everywhere these days. I even found a couple near where I live, in rural America, a tiny town of 2,000 people, more than 100 miles from the nearest metropolitan area. If you live in a place like this, check with your local hospital or health center; they're likely to know about any available classes.

    Hope this helps,

  10. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

    I've been working on mindfullness with my psych. It's working at constantly being aware of yourself and your surroundings - must stress the diffeence from hypervigilance though - with mindfullness, you are choosing what to look at.

    I try it when I walk the dog - instead of going off into my own little world, I try to watch her as she sniffs about the place. I try to identify the birds I see, or notice how much the leaves are growing now that spring is here.

    Doesn't always work, cos I do tend to suddenly realise I'm 2 miles from home and don't remember the last mile!!! It's a damn good job the dog behaves herself!!!!
  11. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member


    When this happens to me, it's usually at work. Great place for it, I know. There have been times I've 'come back' and I'm staring at the computer screen or a piece of paper on my desk...so at least it's not too too bad.

    I find that touching things non-environment related (i.e. not office 'stuff') helps. I keep a small, smooth stone on my desk just under my monitor and if I feel like I'm going, I pick it up and roll it in my hands. It's cold and totally alien to an office environment. Or I'll get up and take a walk outside, go into the ladies room and do some yoga stretching. Just something. That seems to help me to reconnect.

    If I find my concentration totally shot, I play a few mindless hands of solitaire on the computer. Seems to give my brain a rest for a few minutes and then I usually do better.

    Don't know if this helps you any or not.

  12. Marilyn_S

    Marilyn_S Well-Known Member

    Hello Bec,

    Boy can I relate to this. I'm like, out of body sometimes. I think from my experience there are a number of things that work for me. But then evryone's different. But I'll give it a shot. Maybe some of it will help you. There are good ways and bad ways. I'll just elaborate on the good ways I cope:
    1.) When my head starts to feel fuzzy and I start to zone, I catch myself, literally. I take hold of my own arms in like a self hug and just squeeze gently. Then I move my hand up and down my arms and when I do this, I come back in body.
    2.) I keep track of what occured just before my "dis zone" so I can try to figure out what the heck is triggering it. Not that I can eliminate all triggers, but I can emotionally process the triggers if I know what they are so then later I can come back and process them.
    3.) I do deep breathing and muscle relazation techniques.
    4.) If I'm at home around my 8 year old son I make a rediculous silly face, start wiggling around like a clown, and start singing a silly little ditty. When I hear his laughter at my nonsense, I immediatly pop out of it. Sometimes I pop out of it just laughing at myself.

    Hope this helps. You take gentle care of yourself.

    In regards to your little tike, I'd try to find out what the stressor is at school. Or if there is something else bothering him. I think kids do that stuff for different reasons than us big people. Peer pressure starts so young these days. It could be any number of things but to get in their busy little heads can be a task in and of itself. Good Luck.
  13. Monarch

    Monarch I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I can totally relate also, my therapist said to try and catch myself and switch gears, get up and walk around, change the setting. Kids, my son zones like that he is almost 9, I just take his haed in my hands and talk to him, usually he can't tell me what he is thinking but I just ask him anyway, and then we start talking about Nascar or something he likes. He has OCD but it is pretty tough.
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