Anonymous asked: After my last loss (and during the very moment) I've supressed my emotions and I keep them shut since, so I normally feel either anger or nothing, but sometimes I get triggered by thoughts, musics or texts that fits in how I feel and I feel I would start crying desperately or something, then I shut it all down again. I've never allowed myself to feel sad since the moment I was being dumped, it happened one and a half months ago. Is this some kind of dissociation?
Answer: In my experience, dissociation isn’t a conscious effort at all. And it’s not so much as “suppressing emotions” as it is a DETACHMENT. Some official terms of different kinds of dissociation are Derealization and Depersonalization.
Derealization is an alteration in the perception of the external world so that it seems unreal. This is a common side effect people may feel under the influence of certain drugs, but for those suffering from dissociation, it is something which happens on its own. It is an experience of unreality of the outside world, Such was waking up and feeling like you are still dreaming, if you’ve ever experienced that.
Depersonalization is very similar, except it’s to experience unreality of oneself rather than the world around you. It is an anomaly of self-awareness, and it may consist of a feeling of watching oneself act, while having no control over a situation. You may feel disconnected from your body completely, or at least like you are experiencing your own actions in more of a third-person point of view.
If any of these descriptions sound familiar to you, make sure you let your doctor/therapist know about them.
Dissociating is one of the most common responses to abuse and trauma. It involves feeling numb, detached or unreal and (while it happens to everyone once in a while) is experienced more frequently and severely in survivors. Dissociating people vary widely in symptoms and may experience any or all of the things from the following list.
You may be dissociating if you:
find yourself staring at one spot, not thinking anything
feel completely numb
feel like you’re not really in your body, like you’re watching yourself in a movie.
feel suddenly lightheaded or dizzy
lose the plot of the show or conversation you were focused on
feel as if you’re not quite real, like you’re in a dream
feel like you’re floating
suddenly feel like you’re not a part of the world around you
feel detached and far away from other people, who may seem mechanical or unreal to you
are very startled when someone/something gets your attention
completely forget what you were thinking just a moment ago
suddenly cover your face or react as if you’re about to be hurt for no reason
can’t remember important information about yourself, like your age or where you live
find yourself rocking back and forth
become very focused on a small or trivial object or event
find that voices, sounds or writing seem far away and you sometimes have trouble understanding them.
feel as if you’ve just experienced a flashback (perhaps rapidly) but you can’t remember anything about it.
perceive your body as foreign or not belonging to you
Anonymous asked: is poor recollection of emotional memories or memories that you felt emotional about after the fact a typical bpd thing due to dissociation? i saw it briefly referenced somewhere just now but have never heard of it before or mentally connected my memory problems and dissociation, but it would honestly explain so much
Answer: Dissociation can definitely cause memory problems. It can make your memories patchy, broken, or seem like they belong to somebody else. Sometimes, people won’t remember what happened while they were dissociating at all.
Studies have shown that it’s easier to remember things that happened when you are in the same emotional state as when they happened - for example, if you are happy, you can more easily remember other times when you were happy. This is called mood congruence and mood-state dependent retrieval.
This is true of everyone, but it may affect people with BPD more severely, because of our intense and rapidly-changing emotions. It’s possible for us to be so sad (or angry, or happy, etc) that we forget we were ever not sad (or angry, or happy, etc). Even if we’re reminded, our memories contain less detail and don’t give us the same emotional response as they would if we were in another emotional state.
I think it’s also very easy for us to deny and suppress our own feelings and responses. It’s possible to do this retroactively (after the event has happened). For example, you are feeling the angriest you have ever felt in your life, but half an hour later you’re not angry at all, and you question whether you were really that angry before. We overwrite our own memories with a version that is often invalidating and hateful towards ourselves.
Forgetfulness in general can also be caused or made worse by other medical conditions and environmental factors, eg depression, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, certain drugs, etc.
Practicing reality acknowledgement and mindfulness (and grounding techniques where needed) will help you to:
process or accept your emotions as they are happening, instead of being overwhelmed
be fully aware and present in the moment
store detailed and balanced (factual and emotional) memories
process or accept past experiences, instead of being overwhelmed
Anonymous asked: I have a question abt dissociation. I'm not BPD diagnosed and I've avoided saying to myself that I am. I have experienced depersonalization in the past. Which is weird. Bc it happened a lot over summer and I would keep mental note that it happened, but then wouldn't remember. And now that it's been happening again, I can't really remember it happening before. I only remember telling myself that, "Hey, this happened." Would that be dissociation itself? I feel stuck in a cycle of remembering.
Answer: Yes, dissociation often affects memory. When thinking back on a time when you were dissociating, you might find:
You can’t remember anything at all.
You can only remember what happened while you are dissociating again. (Your memories from when you aren’t dissociating may be intact or may be inaccessible until you stop dissociating.)
Your memories are vague or fuzzy. You have an impression of what happened but it lacks details.
Your memories lack thoughts and/or feelings and/or sensory experiences. For example, you remember that you got yelled at, but you don’t remember how it made you feel. (This is not uncommon for people with BPD even outside of dissociation.)
Your memories are disorganised in time and/or space. You remember what happened, but not when, in what order, or where.
Your memories don’t feel like they are real and really happened.
Your memories don’t feel like they belong to you.
Your memories from a few hours before you dissociated are also affected, eg are vague or missing, even if you were fine at the time.
You can’t seem to think about or focus on the memories you want.
Sometimes, trying to think about a time when you were dissociating can cause you to dissociate again, especially if it involves thinking about a trigger. This doesn’t happen all the time and is not the only or most common reason why you might be unable to remember what happened during a time when you were dissociating. Imagine your memory is like a video camera - dissociation often interferes with the recording. You can’t watch the replay because it didn’t record properly.
If, like you describe, you leave yourself a description of what you’ve experienced after you’ve stopped dissociating, then your mental camera has started recording again and you can potentially remember telling yourself about your dissociation. Personally I dissociate a lot and most of my memories are like this. I don’t remember events, I remember the memory cues I gave myself at the time or later.
Dissociation can be caused by conditions besides BPD as well, such as dissociative disorders and PTSD. The cause of the dissociation can affect how you experience it. Other comorbid conditions, such as autism and ADHD, can also affect how you experience dissociation, without necessarily causing it.
Dissociation and memory are both very complex and personal. I’m only really speaking to my own experience and a few observations. I welcome anyone else’s input on this subject.
Is It Still Dissociation If I Can Remember What Happened When Prompted?
Anonymous asked: Am I dissociating if I can remember what happened when prompted?
Answer: If you’re currently dissociating, it could make you feel like you don’t remember anything until prompted. It might feel like you have no memories until someone else mentions them, or you might have no interest or ability to focus on your memories.
If you’re trying to remember a time when you were dissociating, it’s possible for you to not be able to unless you’re reminded. As I wrote in this post, the memories don’t always record properly when you’re dissociating. A reminder can help you to find the memory you’re looking for, or it can help you reconstruct and understand a memory that’s fractured or vague.
It’s possible to experience dissociation without any noticeable changes to memory, as well. It’s just very common to be unable to clearly remember an experience of dissociation.
Does Dissociation Have to Be an "Out of Body" Experience?
Anonymous asked: Hi i have a question about dissociating. I've looked on a lot of sites and blogs and also looked through your FAQ and i keep on seeing dissociating being described as an "out of body" sensation like you're floating above your body and see everything going on in the situation around you but you just don't feel there, or like daydreaming sort of. I don't experience any of this at all but I do zone out all the time and have a very awful memory bc I'm never present but I can still function (cont)
Answer: Personally I never experience dissociation as an “out of body” sensation. I experience it as more going through the motions but not being present like you describe. Being a passenger in your own body is a way I’ve heard it described that I like a lot.
Not everyone will experience dissociation in the same way. Some people may experience the disconnection from the self as an “out of body” experience, but others (like us two) will experience it simply as not being present and feeling disconnected from the world at large. The important part of dissociation is that feeling of disconnection and that can occur in a variety of ways that not all may share. But we’re all dissociating if that disconnect or detachment from the world and ourselves is there.
Anonymous asked: Is daydreaming a form of disocciating ?? Like making yourself do it as a distraction to get away from what makes you sad??
Answer: Yeah, daydreaming is basically dissociation, although for most people it’s mild. This is what we mean when we say everyone dissociates a little bit! Dissociation is a tool that your brain uses to deal with stress and process information. For most people, it’s beneficial. For some people, it doesn’t work exactly as intended - often it’s more frequent and/or intense than average - and can be harmful or disabling. Some people don’t really daydream very much at all and others can almost never stop daydreaming. People with BPD have different personal experiences of daydreaming.
People who experience more severe dissociation while daydreaming have trouble controlling their daydreaming and can be completely unaware of their bodies and surroundings while daydreaming. When your daydreaming affects your quality of life and ability to do things, it is sometimes referred to as maladaptive daydreaming. It can be caused or influenced by many conditions besides BPD, such as other personality disorders, dissociative disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, or ADHD.