Wikipedia: “In psychology, dissociation is any of a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience. The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality, rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis. Dissociation is commonly displayed on a continuum. In mild cases, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism or defense mechanisms in seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress – including boredom or conflict.”
I had never heard of this word until about 2 months ago during my 2nd EMDR session with my therapist. She noticed that as I was reliving my rape from when I was 12 years old, my tone changed. She said I sounded like a 12 year old. I used words that a 12 year old would use. I became afraid and timid. She said the expression on my face was that of a little child. I laughed it off because my therapist can tend to exaggerate and just hearing that my tone changed scared the shit out of me.
I decided to do some research.
The brain is so magnificent. It protects us more than we know. Shortly after I was raped, back in 1989, I completely blocked out what had really happened to me. In fact, it was like it never happened. I was even friendly with the guy. He would continue to assault me over the years and I would just disappear. I think that when I was being raped, my soul was being murdered. I remember watching it from above, not able to fully comprehend what was happening. I was completely detached from my body. 13 years later, I would have start having nightmares about it. That’s when I accepted that I was actually raped. What was happening to me when I was a little girl was not OK. I was not OK. So I started therapy.
Fast forward another 28 years and something similar happened. This past June, I was drunk and someone took advantage of me. I watched it happening from above. Once again, I had left my body. I remember bits and pieces, but again, I think the brain shields us from certain things for our own protection. My first rape was brutal and violent. I think this time, I knew I couldn’t survive it again. So I left myself. I was gone. My soul died all over again.
At times, I feel mad at my brain for betraying me. I should have fought or screamed as loud as I could.
But instead, I abandoned me. I don’t know how else to put it. I was watching someone touch my body, without my permission, as if I was dead. It blows my mind what we are capable of. There are times I want to blame myself for not fighting, but I also know that I was not in control. I had no control and I knew that, deep in my soul, so I escaped for a while until it was over. That is how I survived it.
Call it what you will. Question me all you want. I survived it, twice. And I thank God for lighting this fire inside of me. I stand with other survivors and I believe them. We are not alone.