Dissociation from the body
Did you know that being disconnected from your body, unable to feel pain, feeling distant, or unaware of signals for things such as hunger or thirst is a form of dissociation?
There are many reasons that one might become dissociated, or disconnected from their body.
One such reason is trauma. Sometimes during the traumatic experience, in order to protect ourselves we dissociate from what is happening to the body. This might be floating above yourself in an out of body experience, blacking out, or no longer being able to feel the body. And if the traumatic experiences are chronic enough, then this disconnect from the body can become chronic.
Another reason people disconnect from their body is if there is dysphoria as some trans and non-binary people experience. If you feel that your body does not match your identity, it can cause a great deal of distress, which your brain may try to protect you from by disconnecting your awareness from the body.
Another reason for dissociation from the body is if there is chronic pain the brain is trying to protect the mind from. This may be due to a pain condition, or due to the chronic pain/invasion of procedures meant to treat the chronic illness.
And while the brain is trying to protect us by disconnecting, if this is a chronic strategy that is employed it can lead to physical health consequences if you are unaware when you injure yourself, or if you do not remember to eat or use the bathroom on a regular basis as you are unaware of the signals your body is sending.
The way to work on this is to engage in practices that get you reconnected to your body – sports, working out, massage, mindfully engaging with pets or in body self-care activities, etc.