Into the Midst – My Experience with Dissociation


It took me a moment to realize, the rumbling in my mind was my own heartbeat. Insistent….strong and unrelenting.  Sweat began to mist up on my skin, sliding down between my shoulder blades.  I could hear her voice, out on the edge of my awareness as though she were standing very far away.  I titled my head.  I could not see her…

something was wrong.

Suddenly the room went stark white and I was there….with him.  I could see his face, feel his disgusting touch, smell my fear mingled with his breath.  My body went rigid, as though rejecting the very idea this was happening.  Not again…I thought….please not again! I was strikingly hot, my breath was racing to catch my heartbeat.


I wanted to run, but my legs were not working.  I needed to lash out, to get him away from me.  Yet, I was rooted as if in a nightmare, or a horror film and I was its star character. Like bait.  I felt sick….wait I think that was her voice again.  What is she saying?

Then the room went spinning and I was facing him.  I was jolted, but I managed to begin to back, very painstakingly slow….away.  My eyes pinned to his face.  A wave of cold washed down me from head to toe and my breath began to ease.

Calm, deadly calm….angry calm.

As the cold enveloped my hands, I clenched them tightly shut.  Breathing, just breathing…..heartbeat steadying.  Eyes pinned in hatred.  I feel the cool air fill my nostrils as I reached behind me for the pole I knew was there, without looking.  The only item in the room, besides a chair and a desk.

He won’t touch me again, I think to myself.  If it’s me or him, then it’s going to be him.

I am staring straight into his eyes, through to his evil soul.  I knew he was evil from the first time I laid eyes on him, I thought to myself.


I made contact.  Felt the metal bar brush my hand.  Turning my wrist slightly, I curled my fingers around it.  For a split second, I hesitated…..reaffirming my grip and my intent. This is it, I thought to myself.  Now I know what it is like to want to kill someone.  Snapping the pole up in my hand….


I am in a chair, in a different white room.  She is there, sitting across the table from me. Blonde, blue eyes wide and pale faced.  I hear her say, “I think that is enough for today.  I think we could both use a break.”  Her hand fluttering to her chest as she said so.

I was blinking rapidly and my body felt heavy. God…what just happened?  I had never dissociated before and I had done so with a young, fresh out of school therapist, who had no business treating trauma.  I had scared her and I felt really bad about it.  I remembered thinking to myself, damn that felt, looked and smelled so real!  Like it was actually happening again.  This is why I don’t want to tell people about what happened to me, though.  I do NOT want to burden or traumatize someone else, with my own experience. Heaven forbid, I were to ever hurt anyone physically in the process of dissociation.

The only good news was….I had never physically left the chair in my therapists office.

Note:  This is not just a story.  Both the original event, which took place in 1997 and the dissociation experience where I relived part of that event in 2014, are real.  They actually happened to me.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I will explain more about my experience with disassociation, with therapy and why I think it happening was so important.  This is not meant to be a cliff hanger, I am just exhausted from remembering it in enough detail to write it down.  When I first entered therapy, I swore I would never write it down.  As to write it down, meant that it really happened.  I was afraid of the memory, I was afraid to write it down and I was afraid of the response it would get, if I did.

I am teary eyed, but I am no longer afraid…


In the famous words of Brené Brown from her book Rising Strong  – “Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong.”

About thoughtfulstroll

I am a veteran, a professional business woman and a counselor in training. Follow me on my journey to becoming a mental health professional.
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4 Responses to Into the Midst – My Experience with Dissociation

  1. I had intention of giving you Brene Brown advice the moment I started reading your post!! I am currently reading Rising Strong for the second time. Keep owning your story!! Be brave! I had an abortion 2.5yrs ago when I realized my husband and I were going to divorce. I didn’t want to be a single parent. Even though I talk about it, I still have shame creep up if I end up sharing with someone who judges me for it. It was a hard choice but a choice I made consciously. It’s the one in the arena that counts. Sending you lots of love and gratitude for your courage to share.❤️❤️

  2. I am reading Rising Strong for the first time. I am sure I will re-read this book again as well. I am trying to write down all of the tidbits of info I grasp a long the way. I did not do that with her first two books I read and I regret it. So when I go back and read them again, I probably will! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing/honoring me with a bit of your story. I see you are a fellow arena goer. 🙂 It’s humbling isn’t it? Thank you so much for your encouragement!

    I have no idea how I will react if people make me feel shame about what happened and how I reacted to it. Yet, I am encouraged by Brene to lean into the discomfort and work through it.

  3. tiffiny223 says:

    It seems like a good thing that you were able to somehow move past the fear and write it down. It sounds like you were able …”to rise strong.” And in the process I’m sure you’re giving courage to others who have had similar experiences.

  4. Thank you! I am attempting to “rise strong.” It is tough, but I am still working through these memories and my reactions them. This one incident, is among several others, I still don’t talk about. Maybe someday I will be able to.

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