For some time now I’ve been struggling my way through writing a scientific paper on dissociation and its treatment with Oriental medicine. For some time it seemed a sure case of writer’s block, but after several rounds of returning to the material, I’ve realized that it’s a little more complicated than that.
You see, the subject of dissociation is incredibly complex and there are far more questions than answers.
Over the last few years I have put a remarkable amount of pressure on myself to understand the processes of dissociation and further, to be able to convey that understanding to an audience. Beyond that, I hoped to find answers that would help myself and others in the field of Oriental medicine be better equipped to both address dissociation in the clinic and to team with mental health providers to provide the best possible patient care. All this while still a grad student in a classical Chinese medicine program.
A few days ago it occurred to me (again) to take advantage of this blog as a jumping off point to get the writing process going, but after a big, frustrating push to get out a post on the biological markers of dissociation I am breaking through to something far more useful in the grand scheme of things. I might finally be coming to terms with the great enormity of the unknown – at least as far as dissociation is concerned.
In so many arenas of study – psychology, neurology, psychiatry, psychoneuroimmunology, (the list goes on and on) – what exactly qualifies as dissociation is continually being defined and re-defined. The scientific studies on the topic seem a hopeless morass, perhaps simply because there are so many different ways to define dissociation and still so few ways to effectively (and usefully) study it. Tracking the ongoing conversations and controversies over defining dissociation could in itself constitute quite an endeavor; trying to explain what exactly dissociation is and what we really know about it is either a hero’s journey – or a fool’s. At some point one starts to feel a bit like Alice, getting further and further away from the ground –
‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); ‘now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was!’
I can’t say for certain that I’ll ever write that paper; there are so many items on my to-do list before I graduate in June and only time will tell. But before I get on with that list, I will do my best to finish up that post with all the humility, grace and acceptance of the unknown that I can muster.