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Desperate to feel something – how dissociation can leave me falling apart

(TW: this post contains explicit mention of self-harm behaviour and thoughts, please do not read if this content is likely to trigger you <3)

Dissociation is probably the strangest and scariest feeling (or non-feeling) I have ever experienced, and unfortunately, I experience it often. It is as if one minute I am there and the next I am so far gone from my body I feel like I could literally just float away. Like some sort of strange, by-standing zombie floating over my body who doesn’t particularly retain much information and can’t feel anything. It is terrifying, and if you have never experienced it, then I’m truly glad for you.

The worst was when it lasted over a week, when I truly thought I might never find myself again, and luckily that is over – but since then it seems to come and go for much shorter periods of time, but happens increasingly often. Feeling so disconnected from everything and everyone, including myself, makes me want to do just about anything to pull myself out of it, and sadly one of the easiest ways to try and do this is by hurting myself. 

The dynamic I have with self-harm changes. Yes, sometimes it comes out of pure self-hatred and shame and disgust and pain. But the majority of the time it comes as a way to try and pull myself back from wherever the fuck I have been, to try and experience something physical, something real, and snap myself back into the real world. It doesn’t always necessarily work either and the lack of pain I can feel in these moments is what is worrying. I can and have done some real damage to myself all while being fully conscious but feeling no pain at the time. It’s only in the aftermath that the pain comes flooding in and I’m left with the shame of visible injuries or the mess of clean up and aftercare. It is a terrifying cycle and can leave me feeling even worse about myself afterwards. After all, who does those things to themself? It’s not particularly the most glowing personality trait to have – cue a desperate reminder that it is not a personality trait just a symptom of illness. 

I’ve had lots of moments like this recently, and I try to be as honest with people about it as possible. I reach out to friends when things have gotten really bad and I try not to lie to people about visible injuries, but it can make for a bit of a hard time when people, understandably, worry about me. Luckily, I have a great support system and I’m in the process of being set up with my psychiatrist assessment to get me a full diagnosis and treatment plan. Hopefully, the right treatment will help me dissociate less often and help me recognise the signs and reach out before it gets that bad. But in the meantime, I don’t really know – I just thought I’d splurge some thoughts about it all out onto here.

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