top of page
  • Dr Kate Wallbank

What is dissociation and how does it feel?

Experiencing dissociation can feel like you're not fully present in the moment or connected to yourself or your surroundings. It's like your mind and body are on different pages, almost like watching yourself go through the motions without really feeling engaged or connected to what's happening.

You might feel emotionally numb, like your feelings are turned down low or even switched off. It can be disorienting, making it hard to focus or remember things clearly. Sometimes, it's like the world around you seems strange or distant, almost like you're in a dream or watching things through a foggy window.

Many people will experience mild levels of dissociation but it can range to more extreme levels that can interfere with daily life. Here are some examples of dissociation.

1. Emotional Numbness: A sense of detachment or feeling emotionally numb, as if emotions are muted or distant.

2. Feeling Detached from Reality: Feeling like you're observing yourself from outside your body, or like the world around you is unreal or distorted.

3. Memory Disturbances: Difficulty remembering important information about yourself or significant events.

4. Time Distortion: Losing track of time or feeling like time is passing much slower or faster than usual.

5. Identity Confusion: Uncertainty about who you are or feeling like different parts of yourself don’t fit together cohesively.

6. Physical Sensations: Feeling disconnected from physical sensations, like touch or pain, or feeling like your body is not your own.

7. Derealization: A sense that the environment around you is unreal, foggy, or distorted, as if you're in a dream or movie.

8. Depersonalization: Feeling like you're outside of your body, watching yourself from a distance, or like your actions are not your own.

9. Difficulty Concentrating: Trouble focusing on tasks or conversations, or feeling like you're in a fog.

10. Automatic Behaviors: Engaging in activities without fully being aware of what you’re doing, as if on autopilot.

Dissociation is often a coping mechanism in response to trauma, stress, or overwhelming emotions. It can occur as part of dissociative disorders such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder, or as a symptom of other mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety disorders, or depression.

If you or someone you know is experiencing dissociation that interferes with daily life or causes distress, it's important to seek support from a mental health professional. Therapy, particularly approaches like Somatic Experiencing that focus on grounding and mindfulness, can help manage dissociative symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Picture of a young girl depicting dissociation
Picture of a girl

1 view0 comments


bottom of page