Post written by: Juan DeSantiago, LCSW
Do you ever feel like your life is on autopilot? It is hard to feel anything but numb. Some days you might
even feel as if you are living on the outside of your body and floating through the tasks of the day and
your interactions with others. Eventually, this can turn in to your almost constant state of being for
weeks or even months.
A word we use in the mental health world to describe the experience above is dissociation. Dissociation
is something that we all do from time to time (think daydreaming or your mind wandering while driving,
for example). Dissociation becomes a concern when it starts to interfere with daily life and relationships.
Some symptoms of dissociation include: a sense of the world not being real, detachment from self, or
mind going blank. Often times, you may try to do something, anything, just to feel. Whether it be risky
behavior such as self-harm, substance use, or driving recklessly, the pain and/or adrenaline is better
than the numbness. It is just nice to feel SOMETHING! If this sounds familiar, you could be living through
a dissociative experience. One way to understand dissociation is to see it as a way to cope. It is a way
for you to maintain your ability to functioning when confronted with an ongoing danger or threat.
Luckily, there are things you can do to recalibrate your emotions in order to reconnect with yourself and
others. MINDFULNESS. Practicing mindfulness can help decrease stress and anxiety, while at the same
time help increase emotional regulation. A few examples of mindfulness activities include meditation,
progressive muscle relaxation, or gong for a walk and observing the sights, sounds, and smells of your
One of the easiest ways to kickstart being mindful, is by taking a deep breath. The importance of proper
breathing is something that is so often overlooked but can be addressed immediately. If you have made
it this far, do yourself a favor and take a nice deep breath. Hold it for a few seconds. Now let it out. This
is a quick coping skill you can use to get through an activating moment (think: bumper to bumper traffic,
your child screaming, or your partner saying something hurtful.) Getting to a place where you no longer
have to struggle to survive, but instead thrive, can make a noticeable difference. Mindfulness is a
wonderful practice to manage symptoms of dissociation. Eventually, you may want to explore why you
are needing to dissociate. Meeting with a trained psychotherapist is a safe way to begin this exploration.
If you would like to learn more about mindfulness and dissociation our therapists at The Mendery can
help. Give us a call at 469.890.0459 or visit us at https://themendery.com/