Martha Stout - Dissociation Essay

1174 WordsOct 11, 20115 Pages
Dissociation is a protective mechanism that stimulates a person to enter into a detached state, in which the person is completely separated from his or her usual thought processes and memories. It is a state activated by one’s nervous system upon reaching maximum capacity to process the “real” stimuli around him or her, thus causing that person to lose track of time and find another representation of himself to continue in that moment. In “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, it was Friday,” author and clinical psychologist Martha Stout explains her view of sanity and dissociation by illustrating some experiences that her patients describe to her through several therapy sessions they have with her. With the use of her patients’ personal…show more content…
Some people who suffer from dissociation and its negative experiences do so due to a history of childhood abuse, like Julia, one of the author’s patients, which most often leads them to believe they can hide away their selves: “Because children dissociate readily…they easily split their consciousness into pieces. The self is put aside and hidden....This coping strategy becomes dysfunctional only later, after the child is grown and away from the original trauma...But through the years of intensive use, the self-protective strategy has developed a hair trigger…” (Pg. 391) Probably the worst consequences people can experience from dissociation are when their dissociation becomes chronic and horrifically persistent, which is another reason why it becomes such a detrimental experience in their lives. During this level of dissociation, the patient begins to behave self-injurious and habituates addictive behaviors in order to gain a temporary relief. At this stage, dissociation becomes so continual that it begins to limit the patient’s perceptions. This is evidently displayed by Julia when she poses one of the best questions the author has ever heard: “Well, do you think I dissociate from my body, too? Because if that’s what I’m doing, then it’s the illusion from hell…And even if it doesn’t kill me, what’s the use
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