descriptions of dissociation
Common: ‘I felt strange / weird’, ‘I felt as if I was floating away’, ‘I felt disembodied / disconnected / detached / far away from myself’, ‘apart from everything’, ‘in a place of my own / alone’, ‘like I was there but not there’, ’I could see and hear everything but couldn’t respond’
Less Common: ‘puppet-like’, ‘robot-like’, ‘acting a part’, ‘I couldn’t feel any pain’ ‘like I was made of cardboard’, ‘I felt like I was just a head stuck on a body’, ‘like a spectator looking at myself on TV’, ‘an out of body experience’, ‘my hands or feet felt smaller / bigger’. ‘when I touched things it didn’t feel like me touching them’
‘My surroundings seemed unreal / far away’, ‘I felt spaced out’, ‘It was like looking at the world through a veil or glass’, ‘I felt cut off or distant from the immediate surroundings’, ‘objects appeared diminished in size / flat / dream-like / cartoon like / artificial / unsolid’
Other dissociative symptoms
Memory: “I drove the car home/got dressed/had dinner but can’t remember anything about it”, “I don’t know who I am or how I got here” (fugue state), “I remember things but it doesn’t feel like it was me that was there”.
Identity: “I feel like I’m two separate people/someone else”.
Other: “I felt like time was passing incredibly slowly/quickly”, “I get so absorbed in fantasy/a TV programme that it seems real”, “I felt an emptiness in my head as if I was not having any thoughts at all”.
Source: Jon Ston. Dissociation: What Is It and Why Is It Important? Practical Neurology, 2006; 6: 308-313.