Happy #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek! I wrote this a while ago but was too scared to post it. Now seems like as good a time as any! Blogging on the regular is not an easy job. You have to be a very thoughtful person who constantly thinks of fresh ideas or be able to note down odd thoughts and opinions throughout the day to write about in more detail later. It’s been about two weeks since my last post and a huge reason is because of work keeping me busy. Another reason is disassociation.
Disassociation is when you feel a disconnect to your body. For me, it feels like not feeling. I just tend to forget that I have a body or I don’t feel much relevance to my body. It’s almost like a dreamlike state of in between – you’re alive and present but you’re not a body. One of the biggest triggers for me is work burnout. When you work from home, sometimes you forget to do basic things because work is the one-track record on your mind. It can also be triggered by my ED if I suddenly go through a rough patch of not wanting to accept my body. That’s the shortest story.
Natural Ways of Managing Disassociation
Personally, I prefer to do most things as natural as possible and over the years I have learned a lot of methods that are successful. I am sure most people are too different to share the exact same methods but I thought it might be useful to talk about because everything is worth a try! The main goal I focus on is feeling present in my body and all the methods I use are selfish and superficial. Sometimes just being selfish and focusing on your body is the best way to accept that you have one.
For example, one of the first things I’ll do for immediate success is to change my appearance. I usually do this by cutting and dyeing my hair. It’s just something different that changes up your spacial awareness of yourself and makes you look twice in a mirror as you pass it. That very quickly changes my look and gives me identity.
I also try to take care of my body more as a whole. For example, I’ll take a really deliberately long shower and spend half an hour properly exfoliating or applying body lotion. I’ll cut, file and paint my nails, pushing my cuticles back and oiling them. I’ll take time on my hair and make up. I try to just recognise that, though it’s our brains earning the money, the body is the vehicle so for God’s sake at least moisturise it! It also doesn’t help to shove your body away and hide it, especially in terms of body positivity. Try to do things where you have to see your body and treat it, like body lotion etc, and you’ll see that it’s not so bad and feel like you’re taking care of it!
Use your body!
The third method I use to manage disassociation is making an effort to use my body. For example, I might start doing daily exercise that gives my body purpose and centres solely around it. I’ll also focus more on intimacy. Hugs are actual life savers in this situation, bringing me into my body, along with things like holding hands, the occasional squeeze and being as present as possible in body as well as spirit! You know those people that, when they’re talking to you, they touch your shoulder or place a hand on your back? I’m not a touchy feely person and don’t like people I’m not close to being close to me but when I’m with friends and family it does really works, especially if you can see I’m not really listening I’m just drifting!
I obviously want to clarify that this is just what works for me and my triggers and methods will be completely different to someone else’s but as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I would share. I’m sure this is a problem more commonly experienced that I think it is. So if you experience something similar to my disassociation and depersonalisation then I hope that this makes you feel less alone or helps somewhat.
Brief ED update
Another thing I wanted to talk about briefly is ED recovery. Summer is a really hard time to go through and that’s okay. My goal at the moment is to get further into each new summer than the previous one, before I have an issue. This week I bought scales because I was paranoid that my doctor was lying to me about my current weight. So if you think you’re failing at recovery because you have off moments, know that we all do! But let’s just try to surround ourselves with all different body types and positive people and learn to love ourselves, no matter how long that takes.
As some of you already know, when you email me or comment, I WILL reply. So happy Mental Health Awareness Week but also, regardless of the week, if you want to talk to someone my inbox is open.