a moment of disassociation.

A Moment of Disassociation

Yesterday, I had a moment of disassociation. I awoke to a pounding headache and a huge weight of dread made me unfocused and slow to move. Despite this feeling, I sat in front of my computer and did my best to write a blog post; but the screen remained pure white.

This dread, it powered me down into safe mode, protecting my brain from overproducing too much emotion. So, what lye at the core of this emergency shutdown? My kids, I haven’t seen them in weeks so sometimes, it’s gut-wrenchingly difficult. I had a micro panic when I thought about the potential length of time would go by before I saw them again. Could this have been the catalyst?

Be kind to yourself, ok.

Moreover, my track record for handling new pain and old alike has been, well, let’s just say if I was being graded, I would have a solid D. With that said, my old brain has to cope somehow and because I am far from mentally robust; a moment of disassociation was its only defence.

How to cope while in the middle of a pandemic

Hardly a superpower, I found myself looking at the computer screen but not. I was somewhere else, gone and lost in a sort of protective mental safe space; my surrounding environment closed in on me like walls in an ancient pyramid. I likened it to a small child hiding in the perceived safety of a closet.

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a moment of disassociation

As to how much time went by, I can’t say, all I do know is something brought me back. Something, whatever it was, lifted the trance. From there, I started taking inventory of all the things around me; this was in an effort to fully restore me to reality.

Hey, you’ve made it this far.

Mindfulness was a lifesaver in this case, as it often is; I am grateful for the skills I have acquired that help me zero in on the present especially after such a moment of disassociation.

I think its perfectly natural to have your mental health condition buzzing at high alert given the times we’re in, so be kind to yourself, ok. We are in fact in uncharted waters with this outbreak, you will be triggered, depressed, anxious and yes, some may even have a moment of disassociation. What’s important is to use your coping skills and understand that mental illness can be all about riding the wave. It will wash over you and you will come out the other side of it to fight another day. Hey, you’ve made it this far.

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After A Good Run

Today, I find myself sitting in the ER waiting room. Surprisingly, I’m the only one sitting here. It’s nice and quiet which comes as a relief to my nervous system but as you know, there are so many things that can be triggering for PTSD, the location being one of them.

I am waiting for a loved one to see a medical professional for an ailment. As I wait, I find myself wrestling with my mental health medical condition, PTSD. This hospital setting reminds me of my own work environment as they have many similarities, I work in long term care, helping those with mental illness and aggressive tendencies. My workplace has been a significant contributor to the erosion of my mental health. It’s loud, fast-paced and very overstimulating. Practically every aspect of my occupation is toxic to the post-traumatic brain. How PTSD and Trauma Affect Your Brain Functioning – Psychology Today
I slugged along in this mentally taxing environment for as long as I could but found that it wasn’t powerful enough to sustain the mental shield, the one I took to work every day. Essentially, I was being mentally assaulted every time I stepped foot in the building.
Eventually, the strength and endurance I once prided myself on had taken such a psychological beating that I had to surrender to survive. I am off work, employing everything I can think of to regroup, rebuild and regain my life back.
Sitting here in this ER, my mind is in overdrive, its side effects, are a numbing feeling that is fighting to disassociate, so I can cope with my surroundings. Moments come flooding back to mind that my workplace had imprinted on my memory; tragic moments of death and violence.
Ironically, as I sit there, writing this blog post, the speaker above my head erupts with a call for a code for a violent individual on the psych unit. This unit is very similar to the one  I work on. As you may have guessed, it’s exacerbating the PTSD symptom; now I am triggered, gone completely numb and have disassociated even more. Sorry, I no longer have the capacity to continue.

…….. Several days later..  Initially, when I found I was no longer able to continue writing this I thought I would conclude it right where I had left it but then I thought; “I need to add how I got through the mental health, almost crisis moment.” Perhaps my efforts to forgo a crisis may be of use to you.

I first off recognized that I was starting to get numb like local aesthetic that slowly starts to dull your physical pain. I was numbing to my surrounds in order to try to stay in the waiting room, this dissociation never works. At that moment, I had to ask myself “What Do I have to do in this very moment to help me get through it?” Recognizing and coping with PTSD (Verywell minded).

The following things helped me to get through it. I went outside to get some fresh air. – Doing this allowed me to, not only get fresh air but because I was outside I was able to take slow, deep breaths. As I did this I could feel my symptoms subside before I knew it I was able to return inside. This proved very helpful but because of the long wait, I found that it only acted as a temporary fix.

In the Valley where I live, I have mapped out many of the quiet cafes, libraries and other low stimulus atmospheres in the event I need to seek refuges from my anxiety and PTSD, or, more specifically, the causal factors that amplify my symptoms. Luckily, one of these low stimulus cafes was close by; good thing too as I needed to seek its shelter. I jumped in my car and headed there. After taking the time I needed, I found that I was able to get through it the day and avoided a crisis.

 So when you find yourself in the mental thick of it, perhaps the things I employ in those moments can help you too. Map out the low stimulus places, cafes, libraries and natural settings In your area so when you are faced with a triggering scenario you have options, thus a feeling of some control. I tend to think of them as mental illness shelters. Sometimes, the best thing you can have when you have a mental health condition is a plan.

If you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!


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