Dissociation (revisited)

the well crafted mask labeled “functioning adult”

that I wear to work

is slipping today

i keep putting it back in place

it stays for a little while

before sliding down again

like ill-fitting glasses

or hat that’s a size too big

revealing the cracked surface

beneath the latex

all the vulnerability

i try to hide


i watch myself

having normal conversations with

my co-workers

as though i am across

the room

maybe i should get

some popcorn to eat

while i enjoy this show



i make work related

phone calls

ask intelligent questions

answer emails

even write an informed consent for research

type words of thanks and encouragement

as if everything

is okay

like i’m okay

trying with various degrees of success to

ignore the screaming vortex

that is inside me


i even start to reach out a

a few times

to ask for. . .


i don’t know what.


someone to hold up a mirror

and show me i’m still human?

remind me that someone they

used to care about held this shape?

took up this space?


i feel boneless

as if I have lost all structural integrity

is there a mold out there of me

that i can pour myself

into until my atoms settle?

right now i am drifting apart

a million small particles of

matter floating in the afternoon light


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved




  1. I’m sorry you go through dissociation. I went through a long period when I experienced it too, mostly in the form of depersonalization and derealization. I don’t know if you’re interested in this, but I wrote a little bit about my experiences and included some grounding and other techniques that have been helpful for me. I know that such techniques help some, but not others. My post is at https://birdflight.blog/2017/03/06/depersonalization-and-derealization-and-how-i-use-grounding-techniques-to-manage-and-prevent-them/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I often find myself experiencing some of these things too..especially the “watching yourself going through this interaction.” I even find that I make commentary in my head about my own actions and questions like “Do I really sound like that.”…”that response doesn’t seem very genuine.” its fascinating but also disappointing. It’s like taking a “selfie” over and over because no matter how you try and make the perfect pose or the perfect expression on your face you have insight into what you were feeling and thinking at the time and it just doesn’t work for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do not disassociate but I recognize and feel empathy or knowledge of, the process around it, and I think you explain this and other emotions so well in your poetry it’s like more informative than if it were prose. THAT is the mark of a good poet. Christine, please know for all the ache and hurt of living and surviving, you life and survive so much it burns so brightly we are all touched positively by it and you. I just want you to know that. In a world of bullshit platitudes this is not one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

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