The House That Dissociation Built


Fading in and out of thoughts but especially fading out of reality. I look through two windows, as if I’m a house with eyes.

The house is full of many different things. As you walk in, you’ll see childhood memories scattered and the echoes of a happy little girl. The room on the right shows many books but also cobwebs. If you gently glide your finger along the binding of a book, you won’t feel a single thing. It’s almost as if you’re touching nothing at all. Startled by the lack of sense, you head into the room on the left.

This room has music playing; many different genres sing simultaneously. If you concentrate hard enough, you can make out each genre and the words it speaks. Once you can bear the madness of the music, you notice you’re walking on letters that were never sent and lyrics to songs that were never finished. You try to read, but once your eyes focus, nothing seems to make sense. Startled by the lack of sense, you wander into the bathroom to splash some water onto your face.

You lean down and turn the faucet on. After splashing some cold water in your face, you raise your head and look into the mirror. You frown and squint trying to depict what is going on. The mirror is warping, and it is almost like the fun houses mirrors you looked into as a kid. Shaking your head, you try to remember what you truly look like. All of a sudden, you snap out of it. You are staring at yourself in the mirror as you take a deep breath, and your heart rate decreases. The water finishes dripping off your face, and you decide to take a drink. You feel the cool water in your mouth, then throat, then running down into what feels like your heart. This reminds you that you are still here. You are indeed alive.

Time to head up the stairs. They creak with every movement. You think to yourself, “How odd it is that a newer house has so many fresh wounds?” You listen to the shower run and wonder if you’re in this mystical place alone. You knock lightly on the bathroom door, but there is no response. Convinced you are alone, you turn the handle to investigate. The shower is in fact running, but the question is for how long? The water gradually exits the bathroom and soaks the carpet in the hallway. Do things like this truly happen? Things seem a bit peculiar around here.

You’re curious to find the person who ran the shower. You head into a bedroom where you hear sniffles and an exchange of conversation; but this conversation is being held with a single person. She is staring at the wall and demanding to know, “Why me?” You look around to see photographs of what appears to be her friends and family. The shelves are organized with teen and romance movies. Her phone is lighting up from text messages. What could possibly be the reason she is crying?

You sit next to her and rub her back, but she doesn’t move. You just want to tell her, it’ll be OK. Tomorrow is a new day. You are loved. But you know she won’t hear you. You frown in frustration and head over to the window. You take both of your hands on the curtains to pull them aside and let the sunlight shine through.

Then it hits you. You are the person sniffling in the room. You are the house with windows for eyes. Forever viewing things from afar and against reality. Switching back and forth, not able to distinguish what is real and what is not. Some good things, some bad — but nothing you can’t handle. Some things are broken, but you fix each thing one day at a time. It is best to be patient and hold on to the sunlight that shines through your curtains. This is what your mind has made home: your little house of dissociation.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Margo Brodowicz, via Unsplash


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Dissociation Disorders

girl sitting alone in forest fog with hair covering face

How I Understand and Describe the Fog of Dissociative Disorder

To discover the name of an affliction is to be slightly reassured. If a problem can be bound and encased in words, it is not bigger than words. If it can be described, it is, by extension, not beyond our understanding, and can, in theory, be managed. In 2000, I typed my new and unnerving [...]
Upside down woman's face with long detailed flowing hair

The Piece of My Mental Illness That Didn't Seem to Fit a Diagnosis

Over the years, it feels like I have been diagnosed with everything. I keep being diagnosed with things, and then the psychiatrist changes his mind. My current diagnoses seem to fit. Bipolar I, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and social anxiety. But then there is a piece of my mental illness that doesn’t seem to [...]

What This 4-Word Text Can Teach Us About Helping a Significant Other With Anxiety

It can be hard to know what to say when someone you love is dealing with anxiety. Part of the problem is there’s no magic combination of words guaranteed to make anxiety go away — and how you support someone who’s anxious depends on who they are and what they need. But when Callie Theodore told [...]
kat smith

5 Ways Prayer Helps Me Cope With My Mental Illness

I am a Christian who struggles with mental health problems and chronic pain. At times, I’ve found myself feelings lost and questioning both the strength of my faith and my own worthiness. It was something I felt alone with, but it turned out many others have felt downhearted themselves too and turned to me with [...]