What is Dissociation?
Dissociation is a medical word describing a feeling of being cut off from your surroundings or from your own body. Some people describe dissociation as a ‘trance-like’ state, others as just being ‘spaced out’, or ‘there but not there’.
Dissociation can feel very weird, but is actually common. It is nothing to do with ‘going crazy'.
Dissociation is a ‘switching off’ process in the brain that happens without you thinking about it or even being aware of it. It happens to all of us. If our minds weren’t able to do this we would never be able to get on with anything - we would be constantly bombarded by other sights and sounds.
Dissociation is common in people who are very tired. It can also be protective, so if something very frightening or upsetting happens the brain switches off so that we can experience it more calmly. For example, if someone is in a car accident they often say they felt detached from what happened.
Mild dissociation can be normal and sometimes even useful. But in dissociative seizures this switching off happens over and over again in a way that is a problem and can be very disabling. During a dissociative seizure the brain switches off and the person loses control of the body.