• advertisement

Our Mental Health Blogs

Using Safe Objects For Dissociation

Using Safe Objects For Dissociation

Many people have experiences with dissociation, and at its most extreme, one may be diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID). Sometimes dissociation is a pleasant alternative to dealing with the anxiety or fear that triggered it. Other times, however, dissociation itself may be very scary and cause anxiety. One tool for coping with frightening dissociation is to use a safe object.

Continue reading

What is Dissociation? Does it Help or Hurt in Bipolar Disorder?

What is Dissociation? Does it Help or Hurt in Bipolar Disorder?

I have commented in my writings that, sometimes, I use dissociation as a coping technique. Now, I’m not saying this is the best thing to do nor am I suggesting that it’s professional-recommended, I’m just saying it’s what I do to get through the day at times.

So, people have asked me, what is dissociation? Does dissociation help or hurt someone with bipolar disorder?

Continue reading

Trouble Staying Present with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Trouble Staying Present with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Trouble staying present, or dissociating, can be a habit that severely inhibits PTSD recovery efforts. Learn tips to reduce the trouble with staying present.

If you’re one of over 24 million people in the US who struggle with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder then you probably know exactly what it feels like to dissociate. When a situation, emotions or triggers cause you to feel overwhelmed, anxious, frozen or terrified the mind offers a typical (and really fantastic) coping mechanism: you go somewhere else in your head.

While dissociating can be a life-preserving response it can become a habit that severely inhibits PTSD recovery efforts. Part of healing means learning to become more present.

Continue reading

Letting Go of Dissociative Living

Letting Go of Dissociative Living

I’m weary. I’ve been living on the wrong side of my stress threshold for a while now. Part of the problem is that my stress threshold is maddeningly low. But part of the problem is that major things keep happening in my personal life lately; things that create enormous stress even for the most mentally healthy among us. As a result, my Dissociative Identity Disorder symptoms have amplified steadily over the last eighteen months. In the words of my fellow blogger Natasha Tracy, “When life gets nasty disease gets nasty too.” She’s right, of course. But I kept thinking, ‘hey, life is really turbulent sometimes and you just have to rise to the occasion.’ I failed to recognize, though, that doing so usually involves letting go of other, less urgent occasions.

Continue reading

Dissociative Identity Disorder Makes Hard Times Harder

Dissociative Identity Disorder Makes Hard Times Harder

The past few months of my life have brought with them the suicide of a family member, the substance abuse problems and sudden onset mental illness of another, some unexpected financial difficulties, and not nearly enough time and space for me to cope with it all effectively. I’ve taken the put-your-head-down-and-keep-moving approach in part because I know I’ll leave other people in the lurch if I stop to recuperate. When a tornado hits is not the time to announce that gosh, you’d love to help out but you really need some Me Time. Instead, I’ve relied on my long-held belief that Dissociative Identity Disorder is both a blessing and a curse when life gets messy. But I’ve changed my mind. All DID does is make nasty situations nastier.

Continue reading

Remission from Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Remission from Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Reader Deanna asked if anyone has ever experienced remission from Dissociative Identity Disorder. If we’re defining remission as a period of diminished, unobtrusive dissociative symptoms – “normal” dissociation, in other words – then I’d wager there are people who have experienced exactly that. But they have worked hard to achieve that degree of integration and awareness. It didn’t happen spontaneously, which is what I suspect most of us with Dissociative Identity Disorder mean when we bring up this idea of remission. And I also suspect it isn’t really integration we’re talking about, but the apparent disappearance of other personality states. I’m guessing plenty of people experience this latter scenario too; but remission it is not.

Continue reading

Why Normalize Dissociation?

Why Normalize Dissociation?

Over the past couple of months I’ve published a series of articles focused on normalizing dissociation. I’ve said repeatedly that I believe just about everyone can achieve a basic understanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder, provided it’s explained to them in a way they can relate to. But that doesn’t mean I think everyone should. In fact, normalizing dissociation isn’t about making other people understand DID. It’s about freeing ourselves from the need for other people to understand it.

Continue reading

Normalizing Dissociation Part 5: Identity Alteration

Normalizing Dissociation Part 5: Identity Alteration

The two dissociative symptoms that, once described clearly, are the easiest for people to relate to and understand are also the ones that have earned Dissociative Identity Disorder its undeserved reputation as a bizarre aberration. Identity alteration (experiencing the self as multiple) and dissociative amnesia (gaps in memory) are the two manifestations of dissociation that are mythologized the most. But it’s not because they’re too foreign for most people to grasp. On the contrary, in their mildest forms they’re downright normal.

Continue reading

Normalizing Dissociation Part 4: Identity Confusion

Normalizing Dissociation Part 4: Identity Confusion

One of the things that makes Dissociative Identity Disorder so difficult to recognize is that, contrary to popular belief, DID symptoms are not the stuff of science fiction. They are, in fact, severe amplifications of normal human experiences. I can think of nothing more normal, nothing more intrinsically human than identity confusion. Of the five primary manifestations of dissociation, I believe identity confusion is easily the most common. But it’s also the one few people will acknowledge in any meaningful way. People are pretty dedicated to the idea that we should know who we are without question, and we fervently admire those who appear most convincingly to do exactly that. But despite appearances, no one gets to live a human life without struggling with their sense of self.

Continue reading

Normalizing Dissociation Part 3: Derealization

Normalizing Dissociation Part 3: Derealization

On Friday I went to the pharmacy to pick up some medication. It was a long wait, and I wasn’t feeling well. Around me I heard people talking, phones ringing, and the various noises of the grocery store that houses the pharmacy. The sounds seemed to come from a distance, and I felt profoundly disconnected from everyone and everything around me, as if I was an observer in a dream that wasn’t mine. It wasn’t a particularly comfortable experience but it certainly wasn’t an unusual one. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder, and I’ve lived with chronic, severe dissociation nearly all my life. The episode I described illustrates the combined forces of depersonalization and derealization, two forms of dissociation that often appear together. And despite the fact that I have DID and my dissociative experiences, taken as a whole, are decidedly abnormal, dissociation itself is something just about everyone experiences from time to time.

Continue reading


Follow Us

Subscribe to Blog

  • advertisement

in Dissociative Living Comments

Mental Health Newsletter

Sign up for the HealthyPlace mental health newsletter for latest news, articles, events.

Mental Health
Newsletter Subscribe Now!

Mental Health Newsletter

Sign up for the HealthyPlace mental health newsletter for latest news, articles, events.

Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me