Dissociating has been a major part of how I cope with anxiety. It’s talked about like it’s a super unhealthy way of coping, that it will negatively affect your relationships and could develop into a full blown dissociative disorder.
I’m trying to get away from language like this. It pathologizes me when I’m simply grasping at coping mechanisms.
Dissociation has of course negatively impacted me – I feel like I’m in a fog for days and then suddenly I wake up and the emotions from the past days hit me all at once and I get overwhelmed. But it’s also a beautiful way of finding solace within myself, and it has saved me. I’m trying to describe it as a magnificent feat of imagination: I can imagine any place I’d rather be and escape to there. I’m able to leave when things get unsafe, I carry multiple worlds with me all the time.
Instead of describing dissociation as disappearing from the world and entering into a self-less blackness, I want to describe it as entering a safer world full of light where my true self is allowed to thrive.
Once we stop pathologizing people with mental illness, we can start actually appreciating the skills they’ve harnessed and the beauty of their experiences while providing appropriate support.