Disassociation - What is it?

in psychology •  2 months ago

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I spent the majority of my life in a disassociative fog. The best example of disassociation I ever found was in Jean Paul Sartre's "Nausea", in which he describes his own hand as a white worm, and is repulsed by it. Disassociation makes ordinary objects seem strange and unnatural. It's your brains way of trying to protect you from trauma by blocking out reality.

I didn't have a word for what I was experiencing until I stumbled across it in some obscure message board. And I didn't really realize it was a problem until a few years ago, when I saw most of my unhappiness resulted from my inability to look at reality for what it actually was, instead of living in my dark woods of spritely demons and poison flowers where entropy was evil instead of mere physics.

I think of 2016 as the year I "woke up," because I stopped becoming complicit in lying to myself about the nature of things. But it started with staring at flowers and wall tiles and noticing how their intricate details expanded into infinity. And if I was able to see the flowers, then eventually I could see the broken mechanisms inside myself. It's complicated to explain. Everything is connected, not in a hippie way, but in a literal way. We're made of the same carbon that everything else is, so it makes sense that we can look to inform our perception of reality from the closest we can get to the baseline of existence.

What is the practical application of this? As best as I can tell, it's a rewiring of perception. Objects in space are like chunks of floating data. They aren't assigned meaning until we perceive or interact with them in some way. It appears that consciousness gives context to the data that is reality, and without an assigned meaning, we aren't able to properly interface with the stimuli around us. Thankfully most of this is hardwired in us because we're designed to interpret the world through the lens of how it interfaces with us. Like most animals, we assign meaning to things. Meat means food and nourishment, a cave means protection from the elements, a pinprick means pain, flame means heat.

Some of this hardwiring of perception makes sense- like being scared during a bear attack. Others, like detesting sweeping the floor because it reminds you of the futility of human existence - don't make as much sense. When I really sit down quietly and view existence, it seems to be rewiring a lot of my misguided ideas about the nature of things.

I'm not a scientist though, so don't quote me on this.

So, if you're having trouble with something - my best advice is to find a quiet place without distraction and sit there until boredom sweeps in, but force yourself to not get up. Wait until you become intimately aware of your body, its impulses, and how that's interfacing with the external world. I can't say for sure how this helps - it seems to be taking place mainly on the subconscious level- but it helps me every time. It seems to bring me back into sharp focus to see what's actually important.


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Wish I could vote on this in a way that affects the count! But so good, as always, friend!