31 Day BPD Challenge – Day 7: Have you ever dissociated? If so, how often?

Seeing as I’m having a hell of a time battling this tonight, I re-read this blog post and decided to share again. Do you dissociate? How often and for how long?

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I want to start off with a little bit of a disclaimer…a warning. Me doing a blog post on Dissociation is a little bit the blind leading the blind. It’s not that I don’t have experience with dissociation. It’s just that I don’t understand it. It’s not something I’ve even touched on yet with my counsellors or my psychiatrist. So really, I have no idea what brings it on, or “triggers” it. But I definitely experience it, I know what it’s like, I just have no idea as to the why. I guess that will have to be a follow up post.

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Have you ever had that feeling, where you’re in control of what you’re doing, but it almost seems like you’re not really there? It lasts a few seconds, then you snap out of it, and it feels almost like you were dreaming? Maybe you have no idea what…

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31 Day BPD Challenge – Day 11: Is there anything that helps keep you grounded?

“‘…If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. ~ Isaiah 7:9

Staying grounded is one of, if not THE biggest challenge that I face. And the funny thing… the longer I have my diagnosis, the longer I’m aware of the difficulties I face and work on methods of coping, the harder I find that it is to stay grounded. Maybe I need to clarify what I mean by “grounded”. By grounded, I’m simply saying “not freaking out”. To me that is grounded, and to me that is the most difficult task I face.

I’ve found a few ‘coping methods’ that I find really useful to bring me back down. Music is a big one. Music drowns out all chaos in my mind. A pair of headphones and some loud music, and I can usually find myself back in the stratosphere. There are also things I can do to prevent things from escalating… breathing exercises, walks, working out. They all can keep things somewhat under control. But they don’t keep me grounded. To me, the things that you use to stay grounded have to be constants in your life. And for me, there are a few… they are important to me, and without them I don’t know how I would be able carry on.

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My faith. “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” Without faith, I have nothing. I know that there’s many of you that are not men or women of faith. And I’m not here to push any beliefs on you. That’s not the way I do things. I’m simply telling you what keeps me going. What gives me hope. What keeps me grounded. I’ve had to live through my share of hard times. I’ve been asked many tomes “how can you still have faith?” It hasn’t always been easy. There’s been times it’s been very hard… almost impossible. I spent twenty-six days in a hospital praying for a miracle as my child died. If there’s something that will test your faith, it’s the feeling that the most important thing you have is being snatched from your hands, and the one you’re supposed to love and pray to is the one thats taking him. Yes, my faith has most definitely been tested. Time and time again.

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My family. “Home is where the heart is!” That phrase has to stay true. You keep family a priority, and with their support you’ll be amazed at the strength that you have to stand up to your demons. I have a wife and to kids that I have the fortunes of seeing every night. I am my sons hero, and my daughter is the most beautiful princess I’ve ever seen. We are a family of faith. We believe in prayer, and my children are counting on me to ‘get better’. If you need more reason than that, then you have no heart at all. The love of my family gives me strength.

And the third is Hope. Hope in myself. Hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Hope that this can be overcome, and Hope that I can come out of it a better man. This is by far the most difficult because it requires putting my faith in myself. And if there’s anyone I have little confidence in it’s myself.

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It is these three things, Faith, Hope, and Love that keep me grounded. They’re what I have no choice but to live for. They’re what keeps me going. Find what keeps you grounded. Make that your focus, and don’t give up.

31 Day BPD Challenge – Day 7: Have you ever dissociated? If so, how often?

I want to start off with a little bit of a disclaimer…a warning. Me doing a blog post on Dissociation is a little bit the blind leading the blind. It’s not that I don’t have experience with dissociation. It’s just that I don’t understand it. It’s not something I’ve even touched on yet with my counsellors or my psychiatrist. So really, I have no idea what brings it on, or “triggers” it. But I definitely experience it, I know what it’s like, I just have no idea as to the why. I guess that will have to be a follow up post.

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Have you ever had that feeling, where you’re in control of what you’re doing, but it almost seems like you’re not really there? It lasts a few seconds, then you snap out of it, and it feels almost like you were dreaming? Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. But that’s how my dissociation is. The only thing is, it lasts way longer than a few seconds, and I don’t just ’snap’ out of it. This happens most frequently, or I might even say exclusively when I’m on my own. When I’m working on my own is the killer… all I have is me and my thoughts. It starts out just getting foggy, or groggy. That ’slow-motion’ feeling, like you’re dreaming what you’re doing. But then it takes that next step. My dissociating almost always takes me to events in my past, usually painful events, or events that caused hurt in someone else’s life. It’s like in my mind I go back to that event, and relive it in excruciating detail. It’s torture at times. About six years ago we lost our son, Dayton. My most frequent dissociation by far takes me there. Back to the hospital. The sounds, the smells, and the sights. Going back over the impossible decisions my wife and I found ourselves in the position of having to make. The gut-wrenching reality that we were hopeless. There was literally nothing that could be done but to sit and wait for our son to die. I have many, many fond memories from the hospital too, but those aren’t the ones that I return to. All it allows me to relive are the agonizing moments. Those memories I’ve spent 5 years trying to forget. But like I mentioned before, the worst part is I don’t just snap out of it after a few seconds. I’m stuck there. There’s been days at work when it’s bad that after finally coming back, I’ll realize that literal hours have gone by.

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And that’s not even the worst part. What really sucks, is there’s no coping methods for dissociation, at least none that I know of. Anxiety I can do “mindfulness” exercises, drown it out with music, or if nothing else, cut myself to make it stop. Depression I usually sit in. I feel it’s earned, or deserved. It’s lonely, but it can be comfortable. But dissociation… I’m completely at the mercy of my mind. Distraction brings me back, but if I’m on my own, there’s usually not distraction. I don’t feel it coming on, so it really just happens. It’s like a dream that you want to wake yourself up from…but you can’t. It’s disturbing, it’s frustrating, and for me…it just is. I’m on meds that help me sleep better now, but before I’d dissociate at night too. I’ll wake up and be wide awake, and before I know it, I’m gone. Still awake, but gone.

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I’m reading back over this and starting to feel like I’m making myself out to be a real ‘nut-job’. It’s one of those things that I don’t like to think about, and definitely don’t want to talk about. That’s where I love the concept of blogging. I truly do find it therapeutic. I can write things out, see the words, and then things sort of start making sense in a new way. I have lots of friends and family that simply don’t understand “me”. What makes me tick. What’s broken in me. I’ve said this many times, but my ‘hope’ for this blog is that it will be a support and an encouragement to those that suffer mental illness, and that it will be somewhat a “window of understanding” for those that have to live with us, and not understanding. Please comment, I love feedback. Please share, especially if you know someone on either side of mental illness that might benefit from what I have to say. And please follow. It means the world to me that people are wanting to share this “journey” of BPD and NPD with me. Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!!

Dave