I began talking to my chiropractor about this when it first started happening. He told me that he completely believed me that it was happening, but he also did not think that dissociation was something new for me. That was a strange idea to me since I didn't think I had memories of it happening before. However, because I trusted him, I then went to the marriage therapist my then-husband and I were seeing and asked for some advice because I didn't have an individual therapist to help me at that point. The marriage therapist confirmed what my chiropractor had said: That it was very unlikely that dissociation was something new for me. The marriage therapist stated that not a lot was known about dissociation, but what is known is that dissociation starts at a very young age as a coping technique to deal with trauma. He said it also is more likely to occur among very intelligent people.
At that point, I began researching. I found what these men had said to me was true, plus I found a few more helpful bits of information. Suddenly, lights went off in my head. In all my traumatic experiences as a child, I could remember the first part of the trauma, but after that, it was like someone pushed stop on the recorder in my mind. After a certain point, my memories around that event would just black out to nothingness. They’d start back up a while later, sometimes minutes and sometimes hours. Technically, this is known as dissociative amnesia. Dissociating was definitely not something new for me as an adult: It was just something rediscovered in a time when my body and soul were under great stress.
When I began seeing my favorite individual therapist a few years ago, I mentioned that I can dissociate to her. I explained that when it happens, it feels like my soul leaves my body. She responded by saying, “It does. It leaves through the crown of your head and stops about 'here' (indicating a place about eighteen inches above her head).” When she showed me that, my instinctive thought was, “Holy shit. She really gets this.” That was the first time anyone I’d spoken to had truly understood what happens during dissociation.
Since that time, I've learned how to stop the dissociation. This was a multi-layered process of change. The first and most important part of stopping the process was recognizing the signs of it starting. Once I realized the sensations I feel in my body when I'm about to dissociate, I was able to keep myself grounded in my body. Staying grounded usually begins with firmly planting my feet on the ground and trying to draw on the earth’s energy to stabilize me. I then begin a mantra in my head: “I am safe. My children are safe.” Until I added on the sentence about my children, I wasn't able to make the mantra work for me. Their safety was a huge part of my fear and I had to acknowledge them no matter what the details of the situation were that I was facing.
One of the other larger methods of controlling the dissociation was a much deeper and more difficult challenge. This involved learning how to keep myself more grounded all of the time, not just when I was in panic mode. To this end, I wore the same obsidian pendant (shown above) for nine months straight. By the end of those nine months, my energy had shifted completely. I was no longer so flighty feeling, and my skin was more comfortable for me to be in. I was so glad when I no longer needed to wear that necklace all the time, though I occasionally put it on in situations that I know will be stressful because I know the obsidian’s energy is strong and powerful for me. However, the same necklace might not help others who dissociate because we all have different energetic needs when it comes to using crystals.
I know many who explore metaphysics intentionally try to have out of body experiences, also known as OBEs. For me, that is a strange idea since I've been able to force my soul out of my body since I was a child, even though it was something I only did in times of trauma. I've had to work hard to stop this terrifying process from happening, yet others seek it out. I've also unintentionally experienced astral projection, though I've had to put a stop to that as well. Leaving my body is not something that serves my soul’s higher purpose at this time. Instead, my challenge in this life has been to stay grounded and to work through the issues I must face on this planet.
Because of the work I have done, dissociation is no longer a common issue for me, and I am grateful for that. The only time the instinct might arise for me is when I am processing deep and traumatic wounds that I have stored in my body. However, any time that I do feel fear rising in me, I know how to ground myself and find peace.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC