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Dissociation: How does it make you feel?

Sigh. Don’t ask me today. Today it feels like …

a view from the rollercoaster

raw. open. exposed. come on in

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The Mayo Clinic carefully defines dissociation as:

Disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity.

We can’t even begin to define it. But we can try and share What does dissociation feel like?

Today, for me, Kendall, it feels like loss. I feel like I am grieving a day I so wanted to live fully and yet I barely lived it partially. I had big plans for today but I couldn’t connect to it. I couldn’t arrive in it. Dissociation is so many things and often not quite the same.

I can’t explain how the hours from 10am to 2pm felt like only 30 minutes and yet they also felt endless. Loooong, streeeeeetched out hours. And yet we only lived 30 minutes. On repeat.

I can’t explain how we only have about an hour’s worth of work to show for it. Not 4 hours but not 30 minutes either.

And I am exhausted us to a point of nausea. That sick, drained, jetlagged feeling I get that comes with dissociation. Whatever my brain is doing to keep functioning while I am gone, it always leaves me absolutely emptied. Like many lives were lived at once and then they all seeped out.

I can’t explain it.

I can’t explain how I drift through my house and work space like I am a ghost in a dolls house. But there isn’t a hand to put me down and let me become part of a scene, part of its world.

I am present but I am not there. Or maybe I am there but I am not present?

Today, for me, Marc, I am confused and frustrated. I cant pinpoint the moment I disappeared but I have only just come back in. 9 hours later. My life and living was stolen from me today. And I am frustrated and bewildered and, I’ll admit, tearful. It feels grossly unfair. And I want to tantrum like a small child and have someone tell me what to do or fix it. But no one can.

Today, for me, Max. It made me angry because everything we had planned got left mostly untouched. And what was touched was confused. So useless and a waste of time. So we got nowhere today. And I watched it all and felt it all but was absolutely helpless.

If I, Kendall, can’t explain it to you, then how on earth can I expect to be able to explain it to myself?

I can’t. I just have to live with it. Or not live because of it. As the case may be.

I’m too tired and deflated to be angry.

Dissociation: Disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity.

I guess this post possibly reads that way too.

Thanks Mayo clinic.

I wonder if the person who wrote that was an experiencer or an onlooker? It doesn’t really make a difference I suppose, I’m just curious.

I can’t define it

I can’t explain ….

I lost today

But I am too disconnected to cry

Writing by Kendall, Max and Marc

Photos by Liam and Kendall

Collage by Taylor

Sketches by Maddie

How was this Art Therapy for Self?

Sometimes when I am really “lost”, the only way I can recognise myself is by my eyes. So I began by taking selfies of my eyes, looking for me in them. And then Liam started doing the same with our whole face. Searching. Trying to attach. It grounded us, if nothing else. It stopped us from disappearing completely. It was a focusing and self regulation tool. Taylor creating the collage was a kind of compartmentalising exercise. Taking stock. Focusing on each section. Connecting, grounding. Maddie’s sketches expressed our states and feelings we couldn‘t quite explain. The entire exercise left us feeling far less scattered and chaotic and is probably how we come to be present enough to write this blog. Smile.


How to join: please come in

Many many days we feel alone or lost or just utterly discombobulated (fave word). Other days we feel like we are awash with wisdom or insight or hope. It's a rollercoaster alright!

Probably the most vital thing for us on our journey is that we are not travelling alone. We have the world's most magnificent friends, access to amazing therapy and a whole lot of serendipity of perhaps divine intervention?

I don't know about you, but rollercoasters all alone are no fun. So let's share the ride - the more the merrier, as "they" say (who are "they" anyway? This time "they" are right).

So here's where we share openly and authentically and expose ourselves with all our bits and pieces. At first we wanted to title this section "hanging out the dirty laundry" but then we realised it wasn't dirty, it was just life.

So please, journey with us. Let's hold one another and find encouragement in togetherness as we go Doooooown and UP. Because we always do. Smile

Same as always, follow along, add your own, riff off ours.

If you're feeling brave, post your versions in our comment feed so others can be inspired too. Or upload to your own social media (be sure to use our hashtags - #veryhumanrollercoaster - so we can find each other). Either way, make sure to comment on posts by others and encourage one another as we find new voices.

The only rules are: RESPECT!

See you in there!

Leonora et al​

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