Depression and dissociation can cause people to lose touch with the present. By learning about depression and dissociation, the link between them, and their respective symptoms, people can find healthy ways to manage these issues. People who have found strategies for coping with both conditions can stay in the moment and reconnect with the here and now.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that can make it tough to keep up with the demands of day to day life. If left untreated, depression can severely impact people both physically and emotionally.
Depression’s emotional symptoms include feelings of loneliness, sadness, worthlessness, and emptiness. The emotional symptoms of depression may lead people to avoid social gatherings and distance themselves from family members and friends whenever possible. If the emotional symptoms of depression become too much to handle, they may trigger recurring thoughts of self-harm or harming others.
The physical symptoms of depression range in terms of severity and length. They include slowed speaking, thinking, and body movements, back pain, headaches, and fatigue. Depression’s physical symptoms may affect people for a short period of time or linger throughout their lives. They can also occur on their own or in combination with emotional side effects.
People of all ages may experience depression at any point in their lives. There may be times when depression symptoms occur due to stress, anxiety, or other mental health problems. People may be increasingly susceptible to depression after a traumatic event.
The impact of depression on quality of life may be significant, but the condition can be managed, and those who experience any symptoms of depression are encouraged to consult with a doctor. This allows people to receive a medical evaluation to determine if psychotherapy, medication, or other therapies can be used to help manage depression symptoms. It also enables people to find out if they are coping with depression and dissociation at the same time.
What Is Dissociation?
A dissociative disorder occurs when people no longer feel connected to the outside world. It can occur as a reaction to a traumatic event and may help people escape reality, albeit in an unhealthy and involuntary way.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) defines three major dissociative disorders: dissociative amnesia, dissociative identity disorder, and depersonalization-derealization disorder.
Dissociative amnesia can cause forgetfulness or complete loss of memory. The condition typically occurs without notice and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several years.
People coping with dissociative identity disorder may “switch” between alternate identities. They may feel like two or more people are present inside their head, with each identity potentially having its own name, personal history, and other unique characteristics.
Depersonalization-derealization disorder causes people to feel detached from their actions, feelings, and thoughts. The symptoms of depersonalization-derealization disorder may occur periodically or persist over the course of many years.
People who are dealing with any of these dissociative disorders may experience memory loss, feel detached from themselves and others, and have trouble maintaining a sense of identity. They may also feel stressed in their everyday relationships and activities and experience depression and other mental health problems.
At the first sign of any symptoms of a dissociative disorder, it is important to meet with a doctor who can perform a medical evaluation. A doctor may recommend psychotherapy, medication, or other therapy options to help manage dissociation problems. Additionally, a doctor can determine if a patient is simultaneously coping with dissociation and depression.
Tips to Reconnect with the Here and Now
The best way to manage depression and dissociation, either on their own or in combination, involves meeting with a doctor and pursuing treatment options. This course of action enables people to receive medical insights into their physical and emotional symptoms and determine their root cause. Next, a patient can work with their doctor to discover safe, effective ways to cope with depression, dissociation, or both.
Along with medical treatment of depression and dissociation, there are many things that people can do to focus on their present and reconnect to it. These include:
1. Practice Mindfulness Activities
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves being fully aware and present in the moment. It has been studied extensively and has been shown to help people dealing with depression, stress, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
Several mindfulness activities can be easily incorporated into a daily routine to help manage symptoms of depression and dissociation. For example, mindfulness exercises like deep breathing can be performed virtually anywhere and require minimal time. Other mindfulness activities like yoga and reciting positive affirmations can also be used to help people take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on self-care.
2. Disconnect from Your Electronic Devices
Smartphones and other electronic devices enable people to stay engaged with the world around them, yet they can be overwhelming at times. As such, it may be beneficial to temporarily unplug from electronic devices to reconnect with what is most important.
Even disconnecting from electronic devices for an hour a day or before bedtime can help people relax and hone their focus on the present. It can also help people understand that there is more to life than electronic devices, and their physical and emotional wellbeing takes precedence over the use of these devices.
3. Say Goodbye to the Past
Traumatic events can cause symptoms of depression and dissociation, and they can hinder people’s lives long after they occur. However, those who can put the past behind them can accept the traumatic events for what they were and move forward from them.
Saying goodbye to the past is rarely simple, but options are available to help people do just that. It may be helpful to change everyday patterns that remind people of past trauma. Alternatively, people may mourn loss caused by a previous trauma, learn from the experience, and accept that now is the time to continue their life.
Working with a mental health counselor may also be beneficial for people who are struggling to move past a traumatic event. This counselor can offer techniques and strategies to help people alleviate physical and emotional pain caused by past trauma and enjoy fulfilling lives.
4. Start a Journal
It can be challenging to comprehend the feelings and thoughts associated with depression and dissociation. By journaling, people can write down how they are feeling and what they are thinking, which may help them cope with the symptoms of depression and dissociation.
A journal can be used at any time, and it can include any feelings or thoughts that people want to share. Over time, regular journaling may help people understand their feelings and thoughts and feel better about themselves. It may also help self-reflect and relieve stress.
5. Let Your Creative Juices Flow
Journaling provides an outlet for self-reflection, as well as an option to help people get creative. In fact, journaling is just one of several options available that enable people coping with depression and dissociation to let their creative juices flow and stay mindful.
Painting, making jewelry, playing a musical instrument, and other creative activities can help people recharge and reset. In doing so, these activities may help people reconnect with the here and now and stay connected to it going forward.
Pursue Treatment Options for Depression and Dissociation
People who believe they may be coping with depression, dissociation, or both may benefit from exploring multiple ways to manage the physical and emotional symptoms of these conditions. People diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) may also undergo transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to help reduce or eliminate these symptoms.
Achieve TMS, the leading provider of TMS therapy in the United States, offers personalized treatment for depression. Our TMS therapy program involves the use of targeted electromagnetic pulses to stimulate neural activity in the mood center of the brain, and it is designed to help patients achieve long-lasting symptomatic relief. To learn more about our TMS therapy program or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online or call or text us today at 877-909-4363.