As a result I’ve gained some further insight, which I’d like to share with you.
Firstly, I thought I’d clarify that although on paper it reads to be similar to ‘day dreaming’ or where ones mind wanders, it’s almost completely different to that. I’ll try to explain…
There are two types of dissociation that I experience. The type that I experienced this morning was likely linked to my Personality Disorder. I suppose it’s like having your brain kidnapped and then having someone else take control of your body to make you look like you’re functioning. These episodes can last from a few minutes to several weeks/months. So, I might very well be acting ‘out of character’ for long periods of time. Sometimes people who know me well can easily tell if I’m dissociating if I look ‘glazed over’ or ‘lost’. But, even those who know me well and have seen these episodes still struggle to understand and accept me, and can’t always tell when I’m in a dissociative state (type 1 or 2).
The other type of dissociation that I experience is more likely linked to my PTSD. When this type happens I switch off ‘completely’. It’s like an exaggerated form of the trauma freeze response. My body ‘plays dead’ but I can still feel and hear. During this time it looks as if I’m unconscious or as if I’ve taken something. I will either be lying down or sitting slumped over and won’t be responsive to sound or touch. This dissociation is my brain and bodies way of keeping me safe from harm (perceived or real). Although unresponsive I will be intensely aware of everything going on around me, but I’l be unable to respond to anything – until I feel safe enough to come back from dissociation. The longest I’ve been in this type of dissociative state is about 4 hours. There are only a handful of people who have ever seen me in this state of dissociation.
I’m rather embarrassed/ashamed to share this, and fear how I’ll be treated now, but it’s important to me to help lessen stigma by speaking up about experiences. I’m hopeful of making a full recovery!