Cambridge dictionary defines daydreaming as
a series of pleasant thoughts about something you would prefer to be doing or something you would like to achieve in future
However, this isn’t about lovely day dreaming. This is about disassociation; I have been doing this for years but never knew what it was. It can be hard to describe what disassociation is to people. But to put it in some sort of simple terms disassociation represents a disconnect between your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, perceptions, memories, and identity.
There are different categories in which disassociation can be split into.
- Identity confusion
- Identity alteration
Not everyone with borderline personality disorder may experience disassociation. But a high amount of people with the illness do. Mine can happen when I’m with friends and family, when I’m walking back from appointments, even when I am sitting in bed. I think I started doing this while I was being sexually abused by my ex. I guess it was a coping mechanism. If I’m not in my body, it’s not happening. But I still get frustrated with myself; for the fact I still do it. I know people close to me get upset when I explain that I disassociate round them and picture them without me there. I picture them being okay as I’m not interacting with them at that present time and they all seem happy.
This is just one case of what happens when I disassociate. I was asked to draw what it feels like when I disassociate. The only way I can describe my drawing is by a cloud of black covering a green patch above my head. As it’s known I describe things as the darkness or the light, black or green. Green is my living, my good colour. And when I disassociate I can see green, because although it may seem bad to others. To me I can see the positive, I can take something from the experience and put it in a good colour/light.
I guess you are wondering how can you bring yourself back from going so deep into your disassociation you lose hours at a time. My CPN and therapist have been teaching about being mindfulness and grounding yourself. To explain mindfulness I will use the example I was told to do a couple of days ago. My CPN said when walking whether that be with the dog or on your own, don’t think about anything; block everything out and focus on your environment. Focus on the trees you see, the noises you can hear and if you start wondering again. Go back to looking at the trees. Notice what you see and just live in that moment.
Grounding is where you need to notice your feet are on the ground. You notice your breathing. You notice that you are a living breathing being and you are alive. I won’t lie to you. Sometimes I fail at doing mindfulness and grounding. However, I know that this is part of my recovery, I will learn how to control my disassociation and be able to ground myself faster and not fail. As I stated previously a high percentage of people with bpd disassociate and therefore, I can not comment on how other people’s experiences are. I will though give one tip I have been using which I find helps me. I always keep something I can squeeze in my pocket. If I am doing something with my hands I ground myself more frequently. It works with something as simple as play dough (it helps I like the smell of play dough).
Anyway just remember, don’t be ashamed to tell people you disassociate. The more people that know, the more help and support you will have. Try and surround yourself with love and if you need something to help ground yourself. Use it!!