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11 Unexpected Ways People 'Bring Themselves Back' From Dissociation

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Dissociation can sometimes be a scary experience, making it hard for people to stay present in their own lives. While most people experience mild dissociation at some point, for those who experience it chronically and intensely, they can lose connection to their thoughts, surroundings and sense of identity. They can lose time, forgetting large chucks of what happened in a day, or struggle to follow a conversation with someone they love.

If you dissociate and fear it affects your life in a negative way, you’re not alone — there are people who’ve been there. To find out some techniques that help bring people back when they feel themselves slipping into a dissociative state, we consulted our mental health community.

Here are some unexpected techniques for coping with dissociation they shared with us:

1. Wash Your Hands

“Washing my hands and wrist, the water brings me back to my baptism and that pulls me out.” — Dani J.

 2. Eat Something Sour or Spicy

“Eating some kind of spicy food or sour candy. It is like a shock to my system and brings me back to the present moment.” — Katherine C.

3. Hold Ice Cubes

“Two things that have helped me are changing my space and putting my hands in ice cubes. It seems strange, but it does bring me back to reality.” — Ginger C.

4. Play Music

“I play my guitar. It reminds me that what I do matters and is real. Whether I’m creating music or covering songs, it reminds me I’m here. I force myself to play sometimes, it can be hard to when I feel so low.” — Eleanor N.

5. Touch the Ground With Your Bare Feet

“Pushing my feet into the floor, literally grounding myself. It is especially helpful to do without shoes in the the grass in the backyard. Feeling the grass on the bottom of my feet helps me be mindful.” — Andee J.

“Lying outside in the grass or even just walking barefoot through it. The connection to nature really helps.” — Heather M. 

6. Count to 100

“I’ll count to 100, as many times as it takes.” — Liz T.

7. Listen to Music That Grounds You

“I listen to ‘Numb’ by Linkin Park. I’ll listen to it over and over. I feel I can relate to what Chester is singing on a level that helps me feel like someone understands what’s going on in my head.” — Christina T.

“This will sound strange, but ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen. It’s my favorite song and it makes me want to get into it. No matter how completely disconnected from myself I feel, playing that song can pull me out. (Not always the first round, but normally by the second.)” — Erica R.

“‘Blackbird’ by the Beatles because once my therapist found me in a very dissociated state. She played that song and managed to calm me down. Now every time I dissociate I jump to that song. It triggers a happy memory and brings me back to myself.” — Clara S.

8. Listen to a Voice Recording by a Comforting Person

“I asked my therapist to do voice recordings for me to listen to. I’ll put them on and hearing her voice tell me I’m safe, it’s not my fault, use object constancy to remind myself she’s not going anywhere and to remember I’m courageous make me calm down.” — Monika S.

9. Make Yourself a ‘Sensory Kit’

“I have a ‘sensory kit’ I carry everywhere that includes something to touch, something to taste, etc. As I go through the items, I practice mindful use of my senses to ground me.” — Rebecca E. 

10. Find a Safe Place to Ride It Out

“Let it happen and create a safe environment to rest. Resisting it makes it unpleasant, so instead I let my brain do what it needs to.” — Anastasia B. 

11. Ask for a Hug

“I ask a loved one to hug me, especially my mother. It helps me to feel safe, calm down and get my head together.” — Karolina G.

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by Javi Hoffens on Unsplash

Originally published: September 20, 2018
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