Friday, March 18, 2011

The Key to Staying Present and Fighting Dissociation

The last few days have been phenomenal for me.  I've been working really hard at staying present in my mind, body, and emotions and I feel wonderful.  I've heard many times that staying present is the key to healing from dissociation, but none of the exercises for mindfulness ever really worked for me.  I was unable to get any more present no matter what I did.

Over the last few weeks I have discovered the key to staying present and fighting dissociation and it's acceptance.  When you've been falling back on dissociation as a primary coping technique for years, most, or even all of your life, it's very difficult to break out of that habit, because it's uncomfortable.  It's scary to not dissociate.

For me, the key to being able to break out of dissociation was simply acceptance.  It sounds so simple, but it's so much harder than it seems.  I thought I had accepted myself for a long time, but once I truly accepted myself I realized that what I felt before was just an illusion.

So here is a contract that I am subscribing myself to, I urge you to try to do the same.  The only way to feel safe and secure with being present is to accept everything that it entails, so here goes.

Starting now, I vow to put forth my greatest effort towards achieving and/or maintaining acceptance of myself.  This includes, but is not limited to the following acceptances:

  • I accept my emotions as necessary, healthy, and valid, even if those feelings are scary, painful, uncomfortable, negative, aggressive or intense.  
  • I accept that uncomfortable feelings will pass if I do not hold onto them. 
  • I accept my body as my own. 
  • I accept the sensations that go along with owning my body, even when they are painful, scary, uncomfortable, or sexual. 
  • I accept that negative sensations in my body are normal and will pass. 
  • I accept my past, both the things that I remember and the things that I have not yet remembered.  
  • I accept that the past was not my fault even if someone told me it was, even if I seemed to enjoy abuse or seemed to be acting of my own free will.  
  • I accept that I can have a happy and productive life despite my past. 
  • I accept all parts, alters, fragments, and dissociated pieces of myself as a valid and necessary part of my survival. 
  • I accept ownership for the experiences and emotions of all parts, alters, fragments, and dissociated pieces of myself. 
  • I accept that I will make mistakes and that's okay.  I am doing the best that I can.  If I don't know something or can't do something it is because I was not given the opportunity to learn it. 
  • I accept that I am a strong, lovable, beautiful person and no one and nothing can change that. 

14 comments:

  1. I struggle with dissociation as well. Thank you for your insight in this frustrating battle. Good luck in your future mental and emotional growth!

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  2. Clearly an empowering contract, thank you.

    I wonder if you might elaborate or define your use of "alter?"

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  3. Amazing, this is the first time I've run across a blog, article, or review that truly explained in a simple and personal way how to begin to battle and heal from a dissociative coping mechanism. Thank you, I will begin to recite this everyday, because you're right, it is scary to not dissociate when that's all you know, but to live a productive life, you have to begin to learn how to stay present. Thank you for this.

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  4. Wow. That was wonderful. I would try to put that into practice in my life. God I feel like I've been fighting this for so long, so many years, that I just don't know if I have the stamina to continue. A part of me just wants to die. A part of me has always wanted to die. All I've ever wanted is a successful love relationship that was healthy and would last a lifetime. I've got one now but my "issues" are destroying it once again. I think if this one ends I will just take some sleeping pills and see if death is better.

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  5. Thank you so much. This is a genuine and encouraging guideline.

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  6. Thank you. One of my problems is that it's so hard to truly accept traumas. In my dissociated and numb state of mind I can think that I accept it, but thats just a thought, and I haven't emotinally accepted it at all. I get the trauma memories in third person, when not its almost like flashbacks. I will try your accepting list as well as beeing engaded in things and doing things I like to stay present. I hope things will get better for me. Again thank you for writing this, without people like you I wouldn't have kept on fighting.

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    Replies
    1. Your reply, said it all so well. We need to help each other, so we keep working through the very hard times, to wait till when it wont be such a struggle.

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  7. Thank you, I enjoyed the positive affirmations, healthy self talk. As a person with a history and present situation where I dissociate, I need to grieve trauma, listen back on repressed memories of hurtful words and live more in the present, letting my hurt child feel good and safe now, as now I am an adult well into my 50's. Some of the hurtful words I can share:
    I find the shaming words to be the most painful. Also, the neglect I experienced as I felt worthless that I was not cared for adequately. I thought something was wrong with me. The cycle of poor parenting went back to my grandmother, mother and to me. I chose to not have children, to break the cycle.

    Negative scripts given to me as a child:

    shame on you

    you deserved what you got

    you do not respect me

    how dare you

    you made me cut myself

    what is wrong with you

    look what you are doing to me

    to others, look what she is doing, keeping me here in the store and I want to go

    you made me.....
    you ingrate
    you got what you deserved, you got what was coming to you
    so there
    how dare you
    why can't you be like Jill
    why do you keep your feelings in
    why do you not talk - talk to me, you talk to dad
    what is wrong, you do not share with me
    dummy
    don't act like a dummy
    silly

    I lost a lot of my self worth, self esteem. It was hard to concentrate with the hurt, anger and sadness. I hope I helped people by sharing.

    I go back to the grief and cry, cry it out with empathy towards me and in a self love to heal me, heal my wounds.

    Best,

    A

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  8. "I accept that the past was not my fault even if someone told me it was, even if I seemed to enjoy abuse or seemed to be acting of my own free will."

    This is the thought that I struggle with the most. It is really hard not to hear my ex-husband's voice telling me that I must like being abused. I wish that I would have not immediately felt shame over my own lack of control over my free will and instead asked him if he enjoyed being abusive.

    Coming out of the fog has been such a struggle for me and I am really grateful that I can read words like "phenomenal" being attributed to the state of being, because I know I'm getting closer to feeling that; feeling capable of managing my own free will in such a profoundly free way.

    Good entry. Good work, and thank you for taking the time and space to write from what can be such an elusive place.

    Kathleen

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  9. You are brilliant to think of all this contract.
    Having DID and not in control of feelings or switches, reading what you have written, i am going to read this at least once a day, to help work through, all you have descrived above.
    Thank you very much for sharing your helpful insights.
    Life is such a true struggle.
    take care

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  10. Im also the same numb '" I never got told what it was like to do something right and got called worthless a lot my dad and mum abandoned me as my dad went to jail and my mum an alcoholic I started blaming myself as I grew up I also abused alcohol then I got major depression and general anxiety it was a fight I began antidepressants then stopped because I didn't want drugs to determine my mood and they made me fell weird .depression an anxiety faded away with time as I started seeing someone about it but then I was left wth this numb feeling I looked in the mirror and I saw me but I didn't know how to feel? it was like looking at a reflection of myself but no response das go on though ive had my fair share of trauma so Im now attending emdr Im noticng tiny difference bt I think im gonna try this contract because I notice a change in heart when I read this affirmation / conract upside to disassociation ive probably ached more being like this ie alt few months then I have in my whole life :) goodluck everybody stay strong im not giving up.

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  11. Oh... my... God...
    You gave me the words
    that I didn't trust to find myself...

    This is hanging in the hallway
    in about 5 minutes from now
    as a next learning stage
    And to remember myself that
    I am not alone

    And that self-forgiveness is
    actually possible

    Thank you so very much!

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  12. Thank you all for your courage and your words. I have been in therapy on and off for decades. It is so hard for me to find the willingness and courage to FEEL my body, my emotions, my desires. Such a long road for me, sometimes I judge myself as stupid or cowardly. But the reality, which I understand in my heart, is that I am and my healing process is just right for me - perfect for me, in fact. And I believe that there is some natural order to healing - first this heals, then that. So I am trying to surrender to that order, knowing that I don't know what I am not ready to know.
    Thank you for all your words.
    Susan

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