On her list of numbing agents she left out dissociation. It is a self induced state of being more powerful than any drug known to man. * I lost days, weeks, months to this ability to leave myself behind. I survived for over 40 years using its power to numb pain, unfortunately it numbed happiness too. Reconnecting to emotions was difficult and painful. There were days that I felt like my counselor, KavinCoach, was throwing me a barbed wire rope to get me out of the hole I was in. I learned it is possible to pass out from emotional anguish. I learned that emotional pain comes first then the happiness and joy follows, a bit like opening Pandora's box. The mantra KavinCoach taught me, "If I lived through it, I can remember it." Dissociation did not allow me to process my emotions. They were contained in boxes when jostled and opened would engulf me with the same emotion with all its fearsome intensity, without full knowledge of why I felt the way I did. Ruthless Compassion said that it won't overwhelm you. I disagree. Emotion can wash over you like a tsunami; however, it is survivable. I used to call the counseling office the torture chamber. I knew when I walked in that room I was agreeing to unleashing the emotions that were denied for so long. Anger white hot, debilitating fear, utter despair clamored for attention from being ignored too long. The horrible emotions came first. I talked and talked and talked and talked about feelings denied. I learned to recognize different shades and nuances of emotions. It took years for the good feelings to creep in. I would be doing something I enjoyed and I would feel like the whole world was just wonderful. I even experienced sitting in rush hour traffic and happiness just bubbled up inside for no particular reason. I am thankful I took the challenge to face all my emotions. I am now alive emotionally in ways I never believed possible.
* Mayo Clinic explanation and definition of Dissociative disorder: