It’s very common for people to disconnect from their current experience, for example driving a car and not remembering how you got to your destination. However, if disconnection becomes more the norm and not something that you can consciously control then it may be something to be concerned about. Dissociation in this sense is a way in which your mind copes with stress, trauma and difficult life experiences. Here dissociation is an experience where you “loose” contact with life in such a way that impairs your ability to function in life. Dissociation may be chronic, triggered by events (maybe with flashbacks) or be periodic in life.
Examples of dissociation include:
- Amnesic Dissociation where you cannot remember things in your life, information about you or what happened
- Fugue Dissociation where you take on a different identity such as following travel
- Depersonalisation Dissociation where you feel unreal, being disconnected from your body, emotions and as such see yourself as if you were an observer
- Derealisation Dissociation where you feel the world is unreal and things change shape, size or color
- Dissociative Identity / Multiple Personalities where you feel your identity changes and it feels like the part of your identity have different voices, names and thus feels hard to define the person you are
As well as dissociation being a mental health condition, dissociation can also be a symptom of another mental health problem such as Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality (BPD) or bipolar disorder. In addition, medication may also produce the effects of dissociation.
It should be noted that it may be normal to experience these types of dissociation symptoms but it’s when dissociation impacts your life and relationships that help should be sought as soon as possible. Further, these symptoms maybe experienced as part of other medical conditions, so always consult with your GP/Physician.
At PathTherapy Bracknell all our therapists are experienced with working with Dissociation and Trauma as well as being Registered therapists.