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Dissociation
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absperry posted:
Hey, I have not been officially diagnosed or anything, but reading the discussions I feel that I have some degree of GAD. The worst parts are trouble concentrating, and at the worst of times complete dissociation from social situations. I am very much an extrovert and comfortable in all social situations, so this is very confusing and honestly a bit scary for me as a 24 year old. Does the dissociation happen for anyone else? What are ways to cope with it better when it does happen?

Thanks!
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sw3tflower responded:
It's been a month so you might not get this.
I suffer from PTSD after 30 years of an abusive marriage. One of my symptoms is a dissociative disorder. It is a defense mechanism we use when we can't handle something or get overwhelmed or suffer extreme stress. To protect ourselves our mind 'checks out'. I have been diagnosed with having Depersonalization, which is when we feel 'outside' our body or detached from our feelings and Derealization, which makes me feel like the environment or surroundings are not real. I lived in the same house for the 30 years of my marriage and my mind will not let me go back and see it. When I drive near there, I suddenly do not recognize where I am. The houses are different, I get lost...I have actually driven right past my house and had no recognition of it. My mind is protecting me from going back to where I was abused. Depersonalization actually protected me from acute anxiety and physical pain. My ex once drove a 2 inch nail through my calf and I felt no pain at all. I felt nothing physically or emotionally. Food had no taste, I could not smell things, I couldn't tell if something was hot or cold. It was a horrible feeling.
These disorders are like 'feeling over fact'. We know what is fact but our feelings are out of whack and do not seem appropriate for the situation we are in.
I don't know exactly what you feel, but I no how scary it is
. I back off, find a quiet place where I am alone and take deep, calming breaths while relaxing my body. It calms my mind and most of the time I am able to function again. I am usually tired afterward. This might not work for you but it can't hurt to give it a try. I wish you luck and hope you learn ways to cope with your stress in a healthier way. My heart goes out to you.
 
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bonhill responded:
With anxiety, especially with panic attacks, people can suffer depersonalization, and derealization - which is a kind of dissociation. Depersonalization feels like you yourself aren't real, and derealization feels like the things around you, the world itself isn't real. These feelings usually happen when someone suffers from severe anxiety, sometimes after a long period of time, or can happen for many other reasons. As SWflower describes, it is a defense mechanism your body/brain uses to protect you, for instance, from trauma. I think just understanding that it does happen, and you're not alone is a helpful way to cope with it. It is scarey. Your body tends to do it automatically to protect you, so as far as 'ways to cope with it better'???, I'm not sure. Maybe if you're lucky to find a good therapist, that might help. But it's so hard to find a truly good, understanding therapist. Best of luck


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