I hope someone here has some experience with this situation. I have been engaged in releasing resistance and old trauma for a long time and have been terribly stuck. Recently I realised that I dissociate, sometimes completely. I have no actual memories, just information, from my childhood. I also still dissociate now. I have become aware that the part of me that is holding the anger, fear, pain, guilt and all the rest, is not the part that is usually present during therapeutic work and I really want to integrate and heal now. Things like EFT, for example, work on the emotion you are feeling, but if you are dissociated, it doesn't work. Sometimes I will have a big emotional shift as I work through something and five minutes later I am back to the old feeling and thoughts. I couldn't understand this initially, but now I realise that the part that just made the shift, is replaced by the part that hasn't shifted and so the old story almost immediately comes back. Sometimes I also can't remember what has just happened or what I have just shifted.
Do any of you have experience working through this type of dissociated state or helping someone through it? A lot of the time it feels so impossible. I am trying to also hold the feeling of it being impossible to 'fix' or change as I recognise that helplessness from childhood and to not skip over it as I think it is important to heal this too and I am finding that negating feelings doesn't help. I need to feel them. But it is hard not to dissociate from that feeling.
Would love your thoughts.
I wish I had a great answer for you. A handful of years ago, I went through trauma that caused me to dissociate and be basically unable to feel many of my emotions (that's how I now understand it - I couldn't have seen it that way at the time, I think. At the time I just felt awful almost all of the time.) I am significantly improved now and only get twinges of dissociation when I'm quite stressed. Not to say that I'm always happy, I'm still working on learning to be happy more of the time, but the awful dissociation is mostly in the rear view mirror. I mention that because I guess I want to let you know that I have been where it sounds like you are, and I know that despair, and it IS possible to feel significantly better.
You'd think that I would have a solution for you, right? Or at least be able to look back and pinpoint how and when and why things started shifting for me? And yet as I look back, it was such a gradual process. I was trying so hard and trying so many different things, because my desire to feel better was so fierce. It still isn't totally clear to me how and when things gathered enough momentum to shift.
I can identify an inflection point where I learned to actually sit and experience the felt sensation of my emotions. It was terrifying! At first I thought I was going to DIE. (I did not die. But it was scary. I still find it scary when I do it now and the emotions are very intense.) One of my favorite teachers, Melody Fletcher, talks about something similar here, you may find it useful: http://.**./2014/12/04/if-i-feel-my-negative-emotions-wont-i-just-create-more-of-the-same/
It took me a really long time to feel genuinely better. I don't know why. I have often felt like a spectacularly slow learner during this process. I sometimes think that part of why it took/takes me so long is that I am really willing to put up with feeling bad. If I just walked away from situations as soon as I identified that I didn't like them, I would have had many fewer instances of dissociating in a loud, crowded space, for instance. Instead, it took me years to even identify that that's what was happening, I thought I just got spacey and irritable and unable to feel my body.
And I'm not where I want to be, I am still very much working on the idea that I get to prioritize feeling good. (Sloooooow learner.) But I definitely feel much improved over the days of being unable to know for sure if I existed or whatever!
I wanted to say - I also couldn't get EFT to work when I couldn't really feel my emotions and just felt an overwhelming sense of unreality and dread. But recently, I've been playing with it again, and I think it is working for me now. (I don't do the spoken parts and just tap on the felt sensation of an emotion. It does typically bring the intensity of the feeling down.)
I've had a lot of therapeutic help. My experience has been that for trauma and dissociation, you don't want a person who wants you to talk a lot. You want someone who does some type of body or energy work. I've had good experiences with Feldenkrais (can be very intense if you dissociate though) and the therapeutic modality Somatic Experiencing, as well as Trauma Release (basically you trigger tremors and it sounds pretty loopy but it does make you feel a lot better) Conventional talk therapy was pointless for me because I would just tell stories about my experiences instead of actually processing them in my emotional body, which is what eventually started to help me feel better.
I wish you all the best. May you feel better, soon.
answered 30 Apr '17, 01:20
I used dimethyltryptamine (DMT) rather successfully for some latent negativity I wasn't able to reach otherwise. I don't really recommend it- I was feeling experimental at the time, it's illegal in a lot of Western countries (but fine in others), and let's just say the procedure to consume it isn't the most wholesome experience in the world. But after a psychedelic-hangover day I felt relaxed and fresh in places I hadn't for a long time, so it most emphatically does work.
What produces a similar feeling of wellbeing without all the baggage of DMT is a moving meditation called "Kalana Hula" by Serge King (Preview, Buy). According to Huna teaching, dissociation happens through a process of chronic muscle tension, so perhaps the specialized movement in Kalana Hula will stimulate your muscles in a way that lessens the dissociation, so you can follow up with EFT or other energy-based healing techniques.
It also just occurred to me that you are probably a prime candidate for a process called soul retrieval- this is the most heavy-duty healing technique available from a variety of shamanic traditions. The assumption is that a part of your soul- or your body mind, in Huna terminology- decided that it will run away rather than face whatever is happening in your life. Shamans don't normally use this unless it is really really necessary, because it is so radical and involved, but if all else already failed and especially for dissociation, it would appear like just what you need.
You can perform the retrieval yourself, or find a good shaman to do it for you. Here is an example.
If you want to give it a go for yourself, I recommend to start out by learning a bit of shamanic dreaming. This is a simple process where you imagine a place- most commonly called your inner garden- and go back to it again and again. Every time you go there, you make some improvements- pull weeds, plant plants you like, and so on. This is a form of symbol healing that can be rather helpful in itself.
When you feel you are getting the hang of imagining yourself in the same place over and over again, imagine you are holding a thoughtform container that the part of you you are going off to find can travel back in. Then start your search. Look around where you are and where you might need to go, and take whatever comes up in your imagination as your next step of the journey, all the while intending to find that part of you that has gone missing. You may come across traps and demons and difficulty on the way- use ingenuity or confidence to solve them. If a scary monster comes up, just look at him and let him do whatever is going to happen next until he runs out of energy- don't fight him, he can't really hurt you. If there is a river to cross, imagine a bridge- if there is a hole full of dirt, imagine a machine that cleans it up. Imagine anything you like to make whatever situation comes up on your imaginary journey better, and each time your energy will be prepared a little more to come into contact with the lost part of you.
Keep it up, and eventually you will feel you will be coming closer and closer to that part of yourself, and the challenges might ramp up on the way as well. It is critical to keep going, no matter what- there is a reason the dissociation remained as it is, and that is that resolving it can trigger a lot of scary feelings. Being assertive to yourself helps you regain your influence.
Also, remind yourself that you are not going to force your lost self back- it went for a reason, and first and foremost your job is to start listening. So when you come into contact with your lost part, talk to it in a very friendly way, full of understanding and love and affection and forgiveness, and persuade it to come back. If it went because it hurt too much, tell it the hurt is gone now. If it felt there was no room, make room for it, and tell it as much. Talk about fun things in your life your lost part will be able to participate in. Ask it directly what it wants- and do your best to give it that. Eventually, your lost part will come to trust you again and will sit down for a ride in your little thoughtform container. Thank it, and return to your inner garden, and from there, back to everyday consciousness. But still imagine your container. Observe your container, and place it over your naval, and say, three times: I am whole again. I am whole again. I am whole again. It is done. And that's it- rest a bit and do something fun.
I hope this is helpful. For more in-depth information about soul retrievals, Serge King's book "Changing Reality" has a lot of detail. I also really like his book "Huna" for a whole lot more practical techniques that can be used to clear yourself up.
I hope this was helpful! All the best.
answered 02 May '17, 08:19
I am pretty sure that you aren't going to heal if you are already dissociated!
Dissociation is a coping method- I know because I have this disorder! While you are dissociated, you are already not coping with your feelings! So, the first step is to try, slowly, with the help of a good counselor and psychiatrist, to begin to try to feel AND stay "present" while feeling.
Using various "drugs" to cope does not work. I have seen the previous posts- how does one altered state help cure another??? Although it might make it easier to "see" what has traumatized you, when the drug is gone, you are back to reality, and the fact is this: that your brain still needs rewiring, at a slow and steady, manageable pace, to see stressful events, take them apart, and begin to process reality, at a comfortable pace. This has taken me years to learn, and I still have my days! (Ask anyone from IQ who has been here as long as Wade and I- LOL! I have posted questions of stress and craziness, and answers, while "normal" which are more rational- this is because I suffer from DID and have suffered horrific trauma, as a child and adult.)
Read about your disorder- there are some good links even at Wikipedia, which is somewhat amazing. I suggest finding a counselor who can help you. Refrain from bouncing around from doctor and counselors; establishing trust with one therapist is important to your success. Get a proper diagnosis (Complex PTSD, for a start). Only then will you get the "rewiring" and help that you obviously need and want.
For a time, I did see a specialist in releasing "body memories". This was helpful to a point- I found myself driving home all shook up, aching all over, and returned home to no support, in crisis, and back to having to dissociate, which was my only coping technique up until then. But moving your body is important- a lot of Complex PTSD sufferers (like me) tend to also suffer from chronic pain, tight muscles or worse, migraines, etc. Moving- gardening, walking, jogging- really does help release tension if you find that movement enjoyable. It will help you bleed off the stress you encounter in daily life, and especially after therapy.
I wish I had seen this question as soon as it was posted. I hope you see my response.
I wish you much luck, and admire your courage in wanting to overcome this dreadful and limiting condition.
There is hope!
I would actually highly recommend the Fast Phobia Cure from NLP. I have been using various healing methods for years and I have been trained and certified in NLP, EFT, FEFT, ZPoint, and Hypnosis. The Fast Phobia Cure is used for phobia's and traumas. The whole purpose is to create a a double or even triple dissociation. Before I continue I would definitely recommend seeing a practitioner of NLP, EMDR, or any trauma specialist because doing it on your own can be difficult. However if you are confident in your ability to do it this is how you do the technique.
Imagine that you are sitting in the front row of a movie theater. Imagine that you come outside of your body and sit in the back row while the other you is still in the front row. The you sitting in the back row is keeping their eyes focused on the you in the front row. Then come out of your body again and imagine that you are floating up in the air looking down on the you in the back row. If floating is uncomfortable then imagine that you are high up in a booth made of plexi glass and you are looking down at the you in the back row.
So basically you keep your focus on the you in the back row. Then start playing the movie of the trauma. You keep watching the you in the back row while the movie is playing. Once the movie finishes playing you freeze the final frame of the movie. Now come out of the booth into the you in the back row, then move to the you in the front row and then move into the you at the end of the movie.
Now you are fully associated but you are still frozen in the final frame. Now you are going to rewind the movie while you are fully associated. You will experience the whole situation in reverse. You will even hear all of the sounds be garbled as the movie is rewinding. You want to experience the entire movie in reverse in three seconds or less.
After that you come back to the you in the front row and see if any of the negative feelings are still there. Test and see if the trauma or phobia is still there. If it is then repeat there are any negative feelings remaining then repeat the process and each time you reverse the movie, play faster each time until the feelings are gone.
If you have any questions about this process then don't hesitate to ask.
answered 28 Jun '17, 14:06
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