Dissociation means disconnecting. When we think of it in terms of PTSD, it is a method of self-defense. Dissociating allows us to escape. We just do it mentally rather than physically.

Dissociating is a term it took me a while to learn. When I finally understood it, I was relieved because I had what I thought of a “time blackouts.” For example, I remember entering a room once where I was forced to walk past my father.

Now, my father was a violent man, and I was terrified of him as a child. I stopped in the doorway and wondered if I had the courage to walk past him when I would be in a confined space and close enough for him to hurt me if he wanted. Then, all of a sudden, I was on the other side of the room, past him! I had no memory of having walked past him. It was as if I had been transported through time.

That experience, and others that were similar, were very frightening to me. I wondered if I had “blipped out” because of mental illness or some other strange mental defect. Years later, after much research, I ran across the term “dissociating,” and looked it up. I researched it thoroughly and realized that was what had happened.

I no longer think of myself as being defective for having lapses of memory. I think of myself as having some pretty cool build-in defense systems that protect me from things I could not otherwise deal with. Dissociating is just another way I coped with the horrors I was living with. It is another way I found to successfully survive.


While it’s normal for all of us to feel anxious at times, when that anxiety becomes excessive, it can have a tremendous impact on our lives. Generalized Anxiety Disorder feel anxious for months at a time and display other symptoms of he disorder. Other symptoms include:

  • Restlessness or excessive alertness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Tension
  • Sleep disorders

Panic attacks may be one way the disorder manifests itself. These are sudden periods of intense fear. Physical symptoms may include pounding heart, sweating, trembling or shaking, sensations of shortness of breath, and feelings of impending doom.

If the anxiety is connected to social contacts, then social anxiety disorder is the cause. Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Feeling anxious around other people and difficulty talking to them
  • Feeling self-conscious in front of others
  • Fear of being humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  • Fear of being judged
  • Avoiding other people
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people

Anxiety disorders are generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.