a creative survival mechanism
The word dissociation describes the separation or disconnection of things which are usually connected with one another. Everyone dissociates to an extent, it is natural to be driving along on a regular route and be within your own thoughts, on autopilot, able to respond on emergency yet unable to remember travelling parts of that route, or missing your usual turn off. This generally happens when there is no sense of threat.
However dissociation can range from mild to more severe. Typically it is a natural and automatic response or coping mechanism to survive overwhelming trauma, which can later in life become problematic.
In order to survive an overwhelming trauma or experience that the mind would not be able to bear, disconnection takes place between functions which are usually integrated into a persons sense of self, their consciousness, individual perception, identity and memory.
“ A partial or complete loss of the normal integration between memories of the past, awareness of identity and immediate sensations, and control of body movements”
(ICD-10, WHO, 2010)
Without treatment the rest of the persons life could be affected by having feelings or thoughts which can be extremely upsetting yet seemingly coming out of nowhere, without any memory of what they are actually relating to. Also a person could be thinking about something which was extremely traumatic, yet they feel no emotions, known as emotional numbing. A person can be left with no memory of an experience they has been through in the past.
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