Posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28
In reply to What does dissociation mean?, posted by Kath on October 27, 2008, at 19:50:39
I think of dissociation as a disruption of your normal "flow", however that expresses itself with you. There are many different ways this can occur.
Tony Morrison has a great quote that I'm drawn to.
"You know they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally the river floods these places. "Floods" is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding: it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that: remembering where we were, what valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place. It is emotional memory --- what the nerves and the skin remember as well as how it appeared. And a rush of imagination is our "flooding."
This quote really touches on it all doesn't it? The flooding, the body memories, the power of journaling, the audacity of man to think they can straighten a river for their own purposes, the resiliency of human nature to overflow our bounds in spite of it all and to find our way back to our source.
When I think of dissociation within me, I think of a dam on a river with the water being my inner self. There is a dam between myself and my memories of childhood (almost total lack) up to the age of 12. It's the wall that cuts me off from acknowledging, understanding, or even allowing my emotions to exist. It's the tricks I use when my significant other is being abusive and I stare out the window of the car and don't hear a word for 20 minutes. It's my ability to *believe* that I'm doing great (pre-therapy lack of awareness of course) while I'm living this totally dysfunctional life. (Believing my own lies - the inner need to *be* ok when I'm not.) It is telling stories of traumatic or very scary events without realizing that I should have emotions associated with them. It's being able to answer the question that my father was a very angry man, and instantly picture the rage on his face like a bull about to charge, but when asked later if I was ever afraid in childhood I cannot remember any emotions from then - good or bad. It's a void, like looking at a faded, empty photograph.
I'm in therapy to restore my flow, that's my purpose. I'm building safety and trust for my therapist, and for the first time my memories are creeping back. (wow, trust!) I can visualize almost all the way around the outside of my childhood home, although I can't remember the inside much or connect to very many memories that also involve people. I'm feeling more and more emotions every day, instead of voids and flooding. I think I'm becoming more aware of who I am and connected to myself.
I would not miss a therapy session for the world, although at times I wish I could quit. Inside I feel like the Mississippi, this internal pressure that is always in movement and unstoppable in it's path back to the ocean. My therapy is driving itself most of the time. I very much want to restore my inner flow. I don't necessarily feel a need to remember everything, I just want to stop feeling like I'm forever running into these dams.