Even today I still practice 'keeping time,' although it's pretty automatic and thankfully I don't have to think about it most of the time. Have you ever closed your eyes for a moment only to realize that you had actually slept for several hours? It's like living the movie Click IRL.
There are specific parts of my life that have been most susceptible to dissociation. Riding the bus was something I would often dread because it was one of the places I would lose the most time. Imagine hopping on the bus, knowing in only 10 minutes you will be cozy in bed and you blink, and you have no idea where you are. It's dark outside, you don't recognize the stop names, and the driver announces you're at the last stop and have to get off. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to walk 40 minutes back in the opposite direction in the freezing cold of a Canadian winter.
A much more common loss of time was from napping. I often wondered how I could possibly sleep up to 20 hours a day, and the answer was dissociation. The ability to just disconnect for hours at a time were likely lifesaving tbh. Stress, trauma, boredom... I can appreciate how my brain helped me pass the time when I felt like I had nothing to do ...or live for.
The solution was as simple as it was complex - find a comfortable way to spend that time. Small steps. Writing in a journal. Reading a book. Cooking dinner.
When I was really young, before I learned to tell time, I remember asking my mom, "How long before we have to go?" And my mom would respond "1 TV show, or 2 short TV shows." This must have stuck with me, because I use this method to stay in reality and measure time. At 27 years old and in 2018, I can tell you a shower takes 1 YouTube episode of Beauty Break.
Sometimes, just coping is enough. You can not force yourself to become "normal" (such a joke of a word imho) and finding a way to get through the day and to be proud of what you accomplished is what is most important to leading a satisfying life.
When you combine a bunch of small steps, they amount to a big leap.