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  • What can Dissocation in daily life look like? (part two)

    In our last discussion on dissociation, we looked at how it manifests in our day to day lives. From numbing out or disengaging with emotions to zoning out, that is breaking away attention from the current situation and retreating within our inner world, dissociation takes many forms. Today, let’s look at a few more.

    During times of stress (perceived or subconscious), you might have encountered an ‘out of body’ or depersonalization experience. It can feel like you’re observing what’s happening to you from afar, or that parts of your own body don’t feel like your own. For example, an individual who experienced a car accident might recall feeling like they were watching the scene unfold from above, detached from the physical sensations and emotional turmoil of the event. This sensation is often reported by individuals with a history of emotional or verbal abuse. In the midst of an argument, for example, they might feel like spectators in a movie. This experience, even if not directly linked to past trauma, can still evoke profound anxiety.

    Another way that this detachment from the present moment can manifest is derealization, or the feeling that our environment or surrounds are not real, or we feel we might be unable to interact with them. It can almost feel like you’re observing things through a barrier, like glass, and are unable to feel like you’re interacting with the environment. This usually occurs during or after a stressful event, and the mind creates this gap between sensation and perception to limit the environment’s impact on you. During this state, time perception might warp, making moments seem either elongated or fleeting. People in the surroundings could appear distorted or unreal. Familiar places may look alien, bizarre, and surreal. One may not even be sure whether what one perceives is in fact reality or not. Imagine someone feeling like they are walking through a dream, with colors appearing muted and sounds distant. Déjà vu and Jamias Vu are common examples of this phenomenon. Derealization can also be experienced by those with severe rumination or intrusive thoughts.

    In conclusion, dissociation comes in various forms, each highlighting the mind’s intricate mechanisms of self-preservation. From “losing time” to feeling detached from one’s body or emotions, body, memory or environment, these experiences can range from transient coping mechanisms to indicators of deeper psychological distress. Recognizing these states and seeking professional guidance when they impact daily functioning is essential.

    If anything you read today feels familiar, and you too would like to discover your patterns and heal from them, please book a free 15-minute consultation with us at The Trauma Healing Center. We provide virtual as well as in person therapy, accessible for those in Mississauga, Toronto, Brampton, and Oakville.


    Arushi Bajaj

    Mental health professional

    Member of OAMHP