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Dissociative Apathy

I learned about a class of mental disorders called Dissociative Disorders in my Abnormal Psychology class. The category includes dissociative identity, amnesia, and depersonalization/derealization disorders. Not only are each of these afflictions fascinating in their own respect, I also learned that the concept of dissociation is actually fairly common.

Think about any time you’ve walked into a room and forgotten why you entered it at all. Imagine the times you’ve opened the refrigerator and stared at the condiments trying to remember what you wanted to grab. When you become so caught up in a task you don’t realize you’re still doing it. When your consciousness seems to just float out of your brain -an “out-of-body” experience. We all actually dissociate sometimes.

Now I’m not bringing this up to tell everyone I have a dissociative mental disorder (and I don’t want to disrespect anyone who does), but because I feel like it’s the best metaphor for the state of my life sometimes. Recently I’ve felt like I’m in a constant state of dissociation. Every day I wake up to the same things - oftentimes my brain wakes up after my body. I play chess in my head while my hands open my laptop to copy down powerpoints and type out endless discussion boards. I get lost in daydreams of reliving the past or jumping to the future while my eyes read about Sigmund Freud or the Dynamics of Faith. My brain is discontent, always roaming around its boundless world, frustrated with the limits of the body… Or else it is absent, shrinking to insignificance, sinking deep inside my chest, and complaining when any exertion is asked of it. It’s maddening. When I can’t remember what I’ve been doing for the last hour. When I say yes to someone’s request and realize I have no idea what they just asked of me. I feel like I’m watching myself from a distance, rolling my eyes at everything Daniel does while I’m gone.

However, since I’ve been so lost in this dissociative apathy* recently, I’ve also come to really value the times when I feel anchored to my body. Any break from this mindless routine of work, school, phone, sleep. Adrenaline rushes. Emotional stakes. Engaging company. Spiritual centeredness. Why do these things feel so rare in my life?

Now like I’ve said in past blog posts, I’m tempted to only finalize this once I’ve found some answer, some “cure”, to my problem, but the truth is, I’ve just been digging my own grave. The bridge between the mind and the body is most often the heart, and my heart is not always where it should be. The thing is, I know I should be prayerfully offering every moment of my day to the Lord. I know I should be spending less time in my room and more time serving my family. I know I should be reading my Bible more. I think this is a common problem among teenagers and young adults who’ve grown up in the church (or maybe just everybody?). The problem isn’t knowing how to improve my quality of life, it is finding the drive to do it.

So I guess this is just a reminder to myself to keep looking. The drive cannot come from inside me. The strength to truly change can only come from Jesus. So ha, I could’ve just said “put God first” and you wouldn’t have had to read the last five paragraphs. But really, I know that if my heart is in the right place, my mind and my body will follow suit. I can be present in every moment; I can stop repeating myself like I have been this whole post**; I can escape this cycle of dissociative apathy and live for the exciting, purposeful, and joyous mission Christ has for me every day.

P.S. This post is the closest I’ve ever done to what an actual personal journal entry is like. A lot of writing just to figure out what I really feel. A lot of repetition - looking for the best way to say something without doing a lot of pruning along the way. I hope you’ve enjoyed it if you’ve read this far.

P.P.S. I tried a few different new things with this post. It’s longer! Creepy selfie! Footnotes! Two P.S.’s! I love receiving any kind of feedback on what I do on the blog. If you like something... Leave a comment! Text me! If you don’t like something… Leave a comment! Text me! Email me! I like that this exists just to encourage me to write and reflect more, but I want it to be for more than just myself. It is the internet after all.

*ugh, I was trying to find some clever, perfect word to go with dissociative but “apathy” is the most accurate I could find.

**haha two self aware gags within two sentences of each other.

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I think community is also a place where the drive to do life well can be found. It’s a weird thing but if a bunch of broken people get together with their hearts in the right place then some sort of willpower to improve is sort of created there. good stuff Dan the man keep it up

Daniel Welkener
Daniel Welkener
May 05, 2021
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Why do I feel like I'm answering a Discussion Board when I reply to comments...😑

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