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How can you tell the difference between a shutdown and dissociation?

Discussion in 'Autism Science Discussions' started by Aneka, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. Aneka

    Aneka Well-Known Member

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    Is a shutdown a special type of dissociation?

    Does a shutdown make you feel like you are watching TV and everything happening around you is so far away? Are you somewhat unreachable, unable to react to external stimuli?

    Are there autistics who experience neither meltdown nor shutdown? Or some who only go through one of the two?
     
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  2. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I usually dissociate during a shutdown, but I can experience dissociation without shutdowns too.
     
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  3. Gift2humanity

    Gift2humanity Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I only thought I got meltdowns, but on reflection, maybe I get shutdowns too?

    See, even autistic people need educating on autism, for example, me, regarding shutdowns.

    If I feel someone's behaviour towards me has been (for want of better words) a bit harsh, aggressive, etc, I can withdraw.
    The normally chatty me can go quiet.
    Is that a shut-down?

    As for dissociation, if my present and anticipated future is too overwhelming to think about, I got into the addictive habit of thinking and talking as if the past that created the current moment was handled better by me, and would imagine that my life had turned out better than it had.

    Recently though, I realised that this is doing me harm, it is rejecting my own present moment, never a good thing.
     
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  4. Aneka

    Aneka Well-Known Member

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    I have trouble telling the difference. Internet says dissociation is a state of hyperarousal while shutdown is a state of hypoarousal.
     
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  5. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I know I dissociate in places that are really overstimulating, like big box stores (bright colors, bright lights, shiny floors that reflect the bright lights, strong odors, people moving around, etc.). My brain goes into this mode where the world doesn't seem quite real - like I'm watching everything on a movie screen and I have to push myself to remember that it's real and I am supposed to interact with it. I'm afraid people think I'm on drugs or something.

    Shutdown tends to happen privately and due to emotional distress. I feel rigid, all stimming/motion stops (or I switch to very slowly rocking back and forth instead of my normal bouncy movements) and I tend to go glassy eyed and stare into space. Sometimes I forget to breathe for periods of time.

    It feels different, but I can't tell you if one is hyper or hypo arousal compared to the other.
     
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  6. Aneka

    Aneka Well-Known Member

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    Same. I experience this dissociation like state in situations I can't handle. Voices are distorted, my gaze becomes unfocused and I can not properly react to my environment. Even my own voice sounds alien. It is like watching TV or being stuck in virtual reality. I think, emotionally I'm detached as well. I can only properly reflect on the situation once it's over. Is this dissociation or shutdown?

    Another thing is that without cause I tend to zone out and daydream but I don't think this can be considered dissociation. I do this when bored or to distract myself. Sometimes it simply happens.
     
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  7. Amy Stone

    Amy Stone Seeing the World a Bit Differently V.I.P Member

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    I am constantly disassociating and compartmentalizing. For me, the disassociation is like I am dreaming. I am me via a 3rd party. As in I inhabit my body but it is in "auto mode". Usually when I am doing this, I am thinking about something else and not connecting with the present.
     
  8. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Social interaction with aggressive or even normal assertive people can be a trigger for me to withdraw. I cannot participate in for example, a gathering with a dinner party for 2 hours.
    It starts, this sounds bizarre, totally inane & stupid, and the only option is to get out to somewhere quiet. Unfortunately this has ruined a few relationships. No one has ever cut me slack for this.

    I stop interacting and though I don’t realize to what extent I’ve been told it is obvious to others. This I’ve always figured, is my shutdown.

    Disassociation for me is when a great deal of stress cannot be resolved, then I go into puppet mode. There’s an awareness that I’m missing a lot but all of it is dumped, immediately rejected.
    Things (& people) that are happening seem fake and transparent and inconsequential.
     
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