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I hope this is the right thread for this.

Today we took our kids to an Easter Egg drop. There were sooooooo many people there. We had 5 of our 7 kids with us ranging in ages of 4 year old twins, 10 year old, and two 13 year olds. When the "hunt" started, one of my toddlers disappeared into the crowd. We knew a lot of the people at this church so at first I didn't worry because I knew he would reappear as people moved. 

When he did not, I started to worry. After several minutes I was bawling and trying really hard not to freak out. In one of those moments my perception of everything around me changed. It was....wavy? vagely blurry? It was different. I felt foggy. I don't really know how to better explain it, but nothing felt real (and still does not). 

We did eventually find him, he had wandered off to another age section of eggs.... <3 

I have had this unrealism happen off and on since I was a teenager. It lasted much longer at a time then, but the first time I remember it happening I was around a lot of people then too. I'm categorizing this as a part of my anxiety flaring up. I just feel like I "cracked" if that makes sense. I feel like I am kind of on a precipice of sorts, but I am watching everything that happens from a distance, or through holes in a wall. I am confusing myself trying to explain this lol. 

How do you cope with this?

What does it usually mean for you?

What generally causes it for you?

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Anxiety can absolutely cause dissociation. For me, the easiest way to avoid dissociating is to try to manage the triggers that cause it (be it anxiety, or depression, or whatever). Once I've dissociated I'm basically done for the day (or even the next few days) as it takes me at least a few hours to notice that I've left my brain behind. 

I'm not really sure what you mean by "what does it mean to you?" I don't find it spiritual, if that's what you're getting at. For me it just means that I'm stressed, or scared, or vulnerable, or triggered, or have something else going on.

You could cope with it by grounding, if you can find a grounding method that works for you (this takes some trial and error). I imagine that you could cope with it by taking a rescue med for the anxiety if you have one, too. Meds seem to act faster, and they don't require months of trial and error and practice. Hard to remember to be skillful in the moment, sometimes.

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I agree with WinterRosie that grounding can be helpful when I'm dissociated (though it doesn't help everyone).  There are lots of different things to try.  Most of the time I go for sensory things.  If I have my wallet with me, I'll bring out the card where I wrote on it one that I use most frequently--5 things you can see in the room with you, 4 things you can feel (ex. chair on body), 3 things you can hear right now, 2 things you can smell, and 1 good thing about yourself.

My therapist sent me a list of others when I let her know that I was really out of it.  That includes:

1) splash water on your face

2) sip cold water

3) hold onto a cold can or bottle of soda - feel the coldness and then taste the fizziness

4) ask yourself who you are, where you are, name things around you, comment on sounds

5) feel your clothing on your body and sensations as you move

6) feel chair under you and the weight of your body against it

7) if y9ou can lie down, notice the contact with bed by all body parts

8) hold mug of hot tea--feel warmth and take small sips, noticing the feeling as it goes down

9) walk around and notice each step as you take it

10) step outside/inside and notice a temperature difference or similarity


My apologies if you already know this stuff.  There are dozens more, but those are some of the ones that work better for me.  I generally avoid the more body-related ones because of the nature of some of my trauma stuff, but some people find them easier to remember.

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I have this feeling sometimes too, apart from very good advice that dancesintherain mentioned if I'm with my husband in that kind of situation I always ask him to hug me, and it normally helps. So I would add point 11) touch someone you're with at the moment or ask to touch you.

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Also, since we went in this direction, moving this to the dissociation board.


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