Disassociation in Bipolar

I dissociate when everything becomes too much. I separate from the world. My brain and mind walk away from each other.

What Is Dissociation?
Dissociation is, “the separation of a group of mental processes or ideas from the rest of the personality, so that they lead an independent existence, as in cases of multiple personalities.”

For example, have you ever driven to work and not remember in the slightest the drive to work? It’s quite possible to write a shopping list in your head while considering all the emails you have to reply to and reminding yourself of your child’s school activities all on your drive. In fact, it’s easy to do all of this and not remember in the slightest your actual drive to work. This is a mild form of dissociation which anyone can experience.

When I dissociate because of my bipolar disorder, my consciousness separates from the brain that feels the suffering. When I can’t take the suffering, my mind knows how to do it. For me, it often starts out as an extreme form of distraction from the negative thoughts. I simply think of anything that is unemotional. I do things that are unemotional. I can get through a whole day and not actually remember what happened, I simply just get through it.

Over the years, I have succeeded in tuning out just about the whole world around me. Engage me in a conversation, and sooner or later you will pick up an odd mannerism: My eyes glaze over, I’m unresponsive. I am not present. Literally I am somewhere else. I can hear you speak but I simply cannot listen to the conversation.

When the pain becomes too much, I admit to myself that I am suffering, know that it will end, I just push it to the side and sometimes when I do this, I’m alive and I know I’m alive but it doesn’t feel the same as being  alive. (That makes perfect sense in my head!!)
It’s like looking at everything from far away or through a fog.
It’s not what I would call pleasant but it is an escape from the pain – momentarily, anyway.
Of course, the pain is just waiting for me once I emerge from the fog.

Nevertheless, while dissociation is temporary it can prevent me from taking more permanent steps to end my suffering. Because, after all, when I wake up the next day, I likely won’t feel as worn out and dragged down. And when I’m back to that state – not in as much pain as before – I appreciate not having taken more permanent action or decisions.

I’m not saying it’s right for everyone and certainly too much of it or it being uncontrolled can be bad, I’m just saying it works for me.

Have you ever experienced disassociation? Tell me your story – email me or follow me on Facebook @mswillowbipolar

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