Bold Beautiful Borderline

Dissociation, however you say it

January 10, 2021 Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson Season 1 Episode 7
Bold Beautiful Borderline
Dissociation, however you say it
Chapters
Bold Beautiful Borderline
Dissociation, however you say it
Jan 10, 2021 Season 1 Episode 7
Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson

Dissociation (however you actually say it) is a coping mechanism that is often associated with past trauma experiences or intense emotional experiences. It feels different to everyone but is often described as “feeling outside myself” “feeling numb” “losing pieces of time” “fuzziness” or “running on autopilot”. While it’s normally associated with a way to deal with negative experiences Laurie shares that since treatment she seems to dissociate more when in intensely happy situations like getting engaged or seeing Eminem in concert.

Grounding techniques to "come back" from dissociation are also discussed.

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway. You can also find the podcast on IG @boldbeautifulborderline

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patreon channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Show Notes Transcript

Dissociation (however you actually say it) is a coping mechanism that is often associated with past trauma experiences or intense emotional experiences. It feels different to everyone but is often described as “feeling outside myself” “feeling numb” “losing pieces of time” “fuzziness” or “running on autopilot”. While it’s normally associated with a way to deal with negative experiences Laurie shares that since treatment she seems to dissociate more when in intensely happy situations like getting engaged or seeing Eminem in concert.

Grounding techniques to "come back" from dissociation are also discussed.

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway. You can also find the podcast on IG @boldbeautifulborderline

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patreon channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Laurie Edmundson:

Hi, everybody, and welcome to the bold beautiful borderline podcast. My name is Laurie and I'm here with my friend Sara. And today we're going to talk about disassociation. Full disclosure, I'm probably going to say dissociation because we say it differently. And we can't figure out if that's a Canada and the states difference, or if that's a Laurie's dumb difference. So we'll get there.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, so for everyone listening, we just looked up phonetically how it- how you say, disassociation, because I said disassociation. And then what did you say?

Laurie Edmundson:

I said, dissociation.

Sara Amundson:

Dissociation.

Laurie Edmundson:

You would think this is the first time we're having this discussion, because we're still both confused. But we literally just talked about this for like, five whole minutes. So you're you're welcome. for cutting that bit.

Sara Amundson:

You're welcome, Though, the best thing to do is that we both work in mental health. So like, we should know this.

Laurie Edmundson:

100% We should know this. Yeah, well, this is why we always say like, We're not here to tell you anything super scientific. We're just here to talk about our experiences, because apparently, we don't even know how to say the words of the symptom. Yeah. So what does disassociation mean to you?

Sara Amundson:

So for me, it is the experience of being outside of, or disconnected from the body? I think that- and- and the mind, I think that's probably the best way to explain it. How do you, how do you explain it?

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, it's one of those ones that I think is super different for everyone. When I used to talk to people about their symptoms, and I was trying to kind of assess, I would always have this problem where I'd be like, I can't explain to you what this means because it's so different. So personally, for me, I think it's just kind of a disconnection between my mind and my body or my mind and my emotions. And that might seem kind of strange, but it's just so disassociation is really a coping mechanisms. So if you're, for example, highly dysregulated. And you're going to feel like intense sadness, or intense anger, which often will come from some sort of trauma response, people kind of learn to just get out of their body or their head. So sometimes we'll see this with like sexual assault victims, and they'll just have learned this coping mechanism, which is not a negative thing, necessarily, to be able to just deal with the situation that they're put that in, and they can't get out of.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, totally. Um, and some people experience this on a like, regularly occurring basis, I think, I don't know about you, I feel like this episode is going to be short, because in my experience, like, maybe I'll have like a low level of dissociation / disassociation. Very rarely, you know, there's only been a few times where I've like, there's been like, one time in my life where I remember being like, I feel outside of my body. Like, I feel like I'm like looking at my body almost. And I don't even remember what that situation was. But I know, like, I have a friend who had his had to facilitate a '5150' on his mom a few years ago, because she has dissociative identity disorder. And she will spend like, days dissociating out of her body and really engage in super scary behavior when she does. So. You know, I can't speak to that experience. But I do know, like, these low level moments of like, it's almost like when you're staring off into space, your eyes are just kind of glossy, you know, for a few minutes. I'm like, Oh, wait, what I'm alive, you know?

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, totally. And I think the way you described it, where you're like outside of your body, looking down on yourself, that's not necessarily how I experienced it. But I know that that's a really, really common descriptor for people. And again, this is not necessarily in everybody that has borderline. But it is a common symptom for quite a few people. And I think it's because of those intense emotions and the trauma background. 1For myself, I've actually found that sometimes it's since therapy, I think it's sometimes caused me to disassociate in happy moments, whereas before, my body would just naturally use it to kind of take back some negative emotion. So like, if I was going through a breakup, instead of feeling like completely abandoned and completely miserable, I would just disassociate. So an example of that where it was kind of used in the positive but it affected me negatively, was where I had broken up with the guy who we'd broken up 600 times and I was really upset about it. So my body just kind of have shut off those emotions, which in some ways is good. I mean, I guess in another way, you'll never really deal with how you're feeling in that situation, but it doesn't usually last forever. But I happened to be going to a music festival and I was gonna go see Eminem. And I was so excited, because I-

Sara Amundson:

Wait, I was gonna say, Can we pause? You were going to see Eminem? what?

Laurie Edmundson:

Yes, I know. And it was the first time he played in Canada in, I think it was 10 years or something crazy. And so I was like, so excited. And I was disassociated so bad, that I could not enjoy anything, or basically remember it at all. And so it was one of those things where was like, had this breakup happened at any other time, it would have actually been really helpful, because I would have kind of been able to slowly come back into my emotions in my body. But I'd happened to happen, like the day that I went to go see Eminem, and so I just like missed out on this really exciting opportunity that I was like, looking forward to for months. So that's really frustrating. And so a lot of what you learn in dialectical behavior therapy, is how to kind of stay in the moment. And the issue with that is I've definitely learned how to do that when it comes to negative emotions. And, like, sometimes dissociation is helpful. But for me, now, it's actually become somewhat problematic, and that it happens in really good moments. And so like, for example, I got engaged in the summer, and because that was going to lead to really intense emotions. I forgot everything. Like I literally was like, not there for a moment that I've been looking forward to forever. So it was super frustrating. And I've told my fiance, like, you need to write down what you said to me, because I literally don't remember. And I didn't cry when I was getting proposed to because I didn't, I wasn't there, right. But I was crying like two days later, when I realized that, like I had been dissociated the entire time. And it was just like, super, super sad. And so this also reminds me that it's now December, and he still hasn't written that down for me, so I should probably bug him about that. But

Sara Amundson:

Aaron, if you're listening.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yes, exactly. Yeah, I'm gonna quickly take my headphones out and bug him about it. But no. Yeah, so it's just like, that was really positive moment where I wish that I hadn't associated but I did. And I'll never get that back.

Sara Amundson:

Alright, well, I don't know. I think maybe we could plan another proposal.

Laurie Edmundson:

There you go. Yeah. True.

Sara Amundson:

So yeah, no, that's wild. I have so many questions about this. Because my experience with dissociating is it is the way of coping in the kind of emotional hangover or the aftermath of a significant dysregulation, but I've never experienced it taking away joy, or like, in happy moments. That's never happened. That- Yeah, I'm so sad for you.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, it sucks, cuz that's actually where I notice it more now. And, yeah, it really, really blows. That's all I can really say about it. Because it's it is a coping mechanism. And it can be really effective for people that are in traumatic situations or, or whatever you're dissociating from in a negative. But yeah, when it happens, like in great times, it's kind of the worst.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, this makes I'm like feeling emotional for you. Sad for you.

Laurie Edmundson:

Like dissociate? No.

Sara Amundson:

I'm completely outside of my body right now. Again, anybody listening you guys that like we have to use humor to heal. Okay, so we understand this as valid and painful. And I just use humor inappropriately, let's just quick reminder.

Laurie Edmundson:

And don't we all? Yeah.

Sara Amundson:

No this- that's, that makes me so sad for you. Um, I don't even you know, you go into your instant, like wanting to fix it for your friends. And I know, there's not anything I can do or say to fix that for you. But I just want to acknowledge that that's, like, painful and that that gets to be mourned.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, I mean, I've kind of, the engagement was really where I was like, Oh, crap, like the Eminem thing was probably like 2014. And that was really, really, really sad for like, a couple of years. I was like, Man, this is like, the only experience I'm ever going to get. But I kind of got over it. And so yeah, I was, it was unfortunate, but it's okay. I can. I asked him to tell me what he said. And then I kind of relived it, but even at that I just said, like, I need you to write it down. And sometimes that's okay. Like, you know, if we can know that that's how we react to things going in. And it's helpful to be able to plan for that. So like, he had gotten a photographer to come and like surprise him or surprise me. And I was really glad he did because I at least I had pictures. So I think that that's like one of those reasons that I like pictures so much is that I constantly forget what happens.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and there's so much joy in being able to relive those moments even even things that you do remember, right I mean, like I love looking back at things because those memories can be retriggered by a smell or an image or, you know, like, being in the same area, you never know, the way that the brain will re experience that thing.

Laurie Edmundson:

mmhmm, Yeah, for sure. So I don't know if there's anything else we want to talk about about dissociation?

Sara Amundson:

I just think the way in which we become re-integrated with our body, and my experience anyways, has a lot to do with grounding techniques. So I use grounding, like to process anxiety, but then also, if I'm like, not feeling completely connected to my body, and again, I'm not like, I'm not even really qualified to talk about this, because I haven't really experienced a whole lot of disassociating. But, you know, for me, it's like, Okay, what can I hear? What can I see? What can I feel? What can I smell? Like? What are those things that will bring me back to the literal biology of this body that I'm in? And like, get my mind back in my head?

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that that's why dialectical behavior therapy is so helpful is because of those mindfulness and grounding techniques. But also, you know, dissociation, disassociation, whatever we want to call it, is not always negative. And so if you are in a super traumatic situation, remember that this is not always a bad thing. And this can actually be really helpful.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and we see this and kids in treatment to who have experienced, like, especially sex, sexual abuse, because physical abuse, right, you were talking about this earlier, neglect, it's like, of course, they made another, you know, a whole life experience outside of the one they were living because it was so freakin unacceptable and painful and difficult. And, you know, the mind, though, it's so fascinating. The things that we don't understand about the brain, the brain can literally create entire experiences outside of the one that we're living, to keep us alive. Like, how cool is that? Right? How do we re- How do we reframe disassociation from taking away to giving back to us? right, like your brain couldn't interpret the emotional experience of getting engaged as positive? most likely, and so it just started to disassociate.

Laurie Edmundson:

Mm hmm. Yeah, I don't that one is weird, because then it is not being used as a coping mechanism. So right. It's almost like, it's almost like I am in a place where I don't need to dissociate from the negative emotions anymore. So then it's like, backfired. Like, I don't know if anybody else experiences this, but if you do, please reach out to me, because I'd be very, very curious to hear.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, well, I'm just thinking like, the brain is trying to do something for you. Right? Like it's a, it's interpreting the neurons firing as dangerous. I'm not sure why, I don't even know why I'm trying to get to the bottom of it, frankly.

Laurie Edmundson:

I mean, overwhelming happiness is still overwhelming. And so maybe that's what it is, it's like this is going to be overwhelming for you, and you may not be able to handle it. I think that that's really annoying because like, personally, I think I could handle it. But whatever my biology is telling me it's clearly not the same.

Sara Amundson:

Okay, well, we've talked about this above this before about we're going to have to build like a super solid cope ahead plan for your wedding. And like get super regulated so that you remember every single moment

Laurie Edmundson:

Seriously and like I, photography is probably the number one thing that I'm worried about. I like- videographers are like 10 grand, which is absolutely insane to me, but like at the same time, I think I- not that I have 10 grand laying around. But like, for me that might -

Sara Amundson:

Not if you keep shopping. 60 dollars of chocolate.

Laurie Edmundson:

Oh my gosh, yeah. The other day, guys. I accidentally went to bulk barn to buy hot chocolate and I walked out with $60 worth of caffeinated chocolate. And yeah, that was a bad- that was bad and great at the same time. That's why I'm allowed to be here right now because otherwise I'd be in bed already. What was I gonna say yeah, so I think like a videographer for me is something that's super important because I do need to be able to relive that. But yeah, I think the coping ahead plan is a great call. Like pinch me or something. I guess? like I'm not really sure how to like get back into real life there but we'll figure it out. Maybe that's something for me to work on my with my counselor for the next year.

Sara Amundson:

Totally. It absolutely is. Disassociation! This is what we got for you guys. We don't have a whole lot but if you experienced it, reach out to Laurie. Talk to her about.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yes, Sara is like I don't want anything to do with this. No. Please Like honestly reach out to us because if you experience dissociation really like negatively or really positively and you are really interested in talking about it. I'm sure people that do experience a symptom quite regularly are probably listening to this episode like, why are you even talking about this? But it just really goes to show that everybody's views and experiences with each of the symptoms is so different. Also, maybe we can have somebody from Canada and from somebody from the United States debate how to actually say the word and then we'll get down to the bottom of it. So that could be a whole extra episode for Patreon.

Sara Amundson:

Oh, my God who's moderating that's what I want to know. Who is our moderator?

Laurie Edmundson:

I feel like we might need someone a little bit more level headed than us but you know, when you get down to it, or we could get somebody from like the UK so that it's like, unbiased.

Sara Amundson:

Perfect. Okay, I've got some friends there. Plus, I really love the accents.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah. So there you go.

Sara Amundson:

Oh, my friend. I love you so much. And we are going to figure out how to get you fully in your body for this wedding. Hi, friends. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the bold, beautiful borderline podcast. Laurie and I are so grateful that you're here with us on this journey. And we can't wait to dive into more topics in the future with you all about borderline, and even have some more fun and exciting guests to join us on the podcast. If you really enjoyed this episode, we would love if you would rate review and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen. We would also love to see you interact with us on social media and on our Patreon page, the links to that are included in the show notes. So check us out there. We would be incredibly honored to get to know you all as you get to know us and our recovery stories. We love you and we'll see you next time.