From Pluralpedia, the collaborative plurality dictionary
dissociation (n., v.)
Other formsdissociative (adj.), dissociate (v.)
Applies tosystems, headmates
OriginPsychiatric Term

Chronic dissociation describes a state of being in which one or more individuals experience symptoms including but not limited to:[1]

  • Significant memory loss of specific times, people and events
  • Out-of-body experiences, such as feeling as though you are watching a movie of yourself
  • Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide
  • A sense of detachment from your emotions, or emotional numbness
  • A lack of a sense of self-identity

The experience of dissociation is not limited to plurality; it is possible for anyone to go through a dissociative episode at any point in their lives, especially due to traumatic events and PTSD. It is also a common symptom of other conditions, such as ADHD, borderline personality, schizoaffective personality disorder, psychosis, and more. Dissociation exists on a large spectrum, from simply zoning out due to loud noises to losing days at a time.

Plurality[edit | edit source]

Plural people often experience dissociation (notably in DID systems or OSDD systems, but not exclusively to these types). Neurotypical singlets may experience severe dissociation at one point or another in their lives, often connected to overwhelming stress or events.

Chronic and severe dissociation itself is a temporarily-lasted symptom of certain disorders or conditions; headmates themselves should not be considered as a dissociative symptom. It is possible for a headmate or system to originate from or due to dissociation, but this distinction is significant.

Grounding[edit | edit source]

A dissociative state is often unpleasant and can last for any amount of time. Not knowing how long a dissociative episode may continue could cause further distress to the dissociative person(s). A common recommendation for persisting through the event is to attempt grounding exercises.

Popularly effective grounding techniques include:[2]

  • Engaging the body's sensory abilities, such as describing objects around oneself, smelling a comforting scent, and massaging limbs or the scalp
  • Pacing, especially while also listening to lyrical music through headphones
  • Using ice or another cold substance on the body's surfaces, such as rubbing an ice pack over the skin
  • Counting backward from a high number
  • Reading a written work, such as a poem or short story, out loud
  • Narrating one's situation and the things around oneself
  • Petting and talking to a docile, nearby animal

Asking for another person to help coach them through their actions and do grounding techniques along with them may help dissociative individuals to better ground themselves.

Related Terms[edit | edit source]

Depersonalization and derealization are two subtypes of dissociation.

References[edit | edit source]