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Mild dissociation as a symptom?


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I signed up here awhile back, but (surprise) chickened out and never posted. So, uh, hello. 

Social phobia is part of getting newly diagnosed for me, and I guess I'm still trying to sort it out. I've been "like this" for a long time, and I didn't have a perspective on it. 

I was unaware of any issue for so long partly because I've never experienced any actual panic or overt fear response in public situations. I'm just off the charts avoidant, lol. And when I have to interact, I shut off, in a way. Still talk and function, but I'm really shut down emotionally and mentally, and I have poor memory of it (like going grocery shopping, I have to look over the receipts when I get home so I can remember whether I stuck to my list or not, but I have to relax first, otherwise I'll end up looking at the receipts several times because I just blank things). I can kinda remember, or put things together if someone describes something I was present for, but my unaided recall is pretty crappy. My therapist thought this might be mild dissociation when I described it in session this week.

I guess I just didn't realize that I was even doing anything "unusual" for lack of a better word. I was hoping people here might also do this same thing, and maybe have some tips on how they've learned to identify when it's going on, or just have more self-awareness in general. Because if that shutting off is dissociating or maladaptive in some way, then I do it a lot. I feel kind of at sea. 

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I'm new here too, so hello!

Your shutting off does sound dissociating to me at least. My own experiences with dissociation are pretty different from yours, but your mind going blank, problems with memory and emotionally shutting down sound familiar enough. I used to always shut down when teachers asked me to answer guestions during classes due to my huge fear of failing. It took me years to realise I was blanking out and emotionally shutting down instead of just being stupid. What I mean is that sometimes it takes time to find out what actually triggers your dissociation. Everyone's different, but at least for me I shut down when I get too emotional, anxious etc. Basically when I'm unable to cope with my overwhelming emotions my brain desides I need a break. So stress is usually one of the big triggers.

How long do your dissociation "episodes" (I don't know what to call them really) usually last? How bad is your memory loss? There are many types of dissociative disorders which have very different symptoms. Also you could have dissociative symptoms without actually having dissociative disorder. I think it's great that you're now aware of this happening to you since awareness is the key to change, but I would also advice you to talk with your therapist about this some more.

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