I think I understand things, then realise I’m blindsighted sometimes and stupidly miss the bloody obvious… I’m tapping on my tiny phone early in the morning. Sleep is for losers…(or tired people?) The trouble is I am tired… really tired…but I can’t sleep. I’ve barely slept all night because I’m in a hotel room. I never sleep well away from home. I used to think it was because of an unfamiliar bed and pillows and noisy hotel guests…and yes, it is those things sometimes…but tonight the hotel has been blissfully quiet, the pillows are lovely and the bed comfy, [except it’s a double rather than king-size, so my 34″ legs are too long to be accommodated by the bed size]. Not because they are too wide (though they are), but I just mean my ankles overhang so I have to tuck these fuckers in and go almost foetal ridiculous that beds are not adequate for my modern day leg length- this is 2016 people!!! Bed maker manufacturers please note that the standard double will soon not adequately accommodate the ever increasing size of humanoids
Anyhoo, I thought (until it got to the 2.30am-ish mark), that my insomnia must be because the bed was for a person shorter in stature (and probably more demure in personality too)….
Aside from this though I’d been getting increasingly irritated by the LED light from the telly shining in my eyes, and the orange glow seeping through the cracks in the curtains from the carpark lights outside….ahh, that’s the culprit I reasoned. I’m light sensitive. I’m overstimulated by light. That’s why.
But then the penny in my fruit machine of a brain dropped. Thud.
Hey wait one second, I was happy till the lights went out and the LED digits shone directly in my eyes.
PTSD is the culprit.
Unfortunately it follows me around. I don’t ask it too. I assume “a change of scene” will do me good and I’ll pack my literal bags, while hoping to leave my emotional baggage at home for safekeeping till I get back home….but in the early hours of the morning I had the THUD it’s PTSD moment.
That PTSD fucker slipped it’s way into my overnight bag when I wasn’t looking.
The cult had come with me. I mean that the cult memories had come with me.
For people not well versed in post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD is characterised by flashbacks, [which are sudden instances of a very real re-experiencing 0f past traumatic events]. The fact it’s 2016 and I’m 35 years old is completely irrelevant. When I have flashbacks, the rational part of me forgets that I’m not a child anymore, or toddler or teenager. I’m back there instantly, as though I were that child, toddler or teenager.
Except flashbacks are weird things…and come in all levels of severity, even for me. Sometimes they manifest like extreme panic attacks, trauma memory based ones. At their worst I will scream in the most high pitched blood curdling scream you could imagine. Ones like this, the worst of the worst, I will only be partially aware I am screaming. Barely aware. I will not be aware of all that much at all. I’m in a whole different level of consciousness. I haven’t had one approaching as bad as this since last week, (during my dangerous MH crisis), and the last time before that was maybe even a year ago. These ones are maybe eight out of ten in severity. A nine or a ten level flashback would precipitate an actual suicide attempt/hospitalisation (which I’ve had) Previous sevens or eights on the flashback severity scale I can remember afterwards, but I’m barely conscious during them.
Let me talk you through one…. I remember a time (one of many) where I rang the crisis team in a state of violently shaking panic, saying “I can feel a flashback building I’m gonna have a flashback” (Sometimes I know they’re coming, I get the most awful ominous feeling, like knowing a hurricane will still be rendering the foundations of your Kansas wooden home useless and you know you’ll never get to Oz).
The absolute fucker on the other end of the NHS crisis line patronised the fuck out of me with some condescending words and platitudes, and before that the rage at him and my sinking desperation and rising panic tipped me into the flashback. Apparently I screamed louder than is humanly possible for approx 25 minutes solid. I also cursed, shouted and screamed “get him off me get than man off me fuck you don’t touch me don’t fucking touch me”, and other such phrases. I heard him say over and over “You’re not being raped” and me reply lots of stuff, loosely boiled down to the content, “I fucking am you useless piece of shit” Apart from the hyperventilating and gasping for air I only paused to throw up all over the upholstery in my car which woke me up out of my barely conscious state. (I was in the car, parked stationary on my driveway so my children didn’t hear me). That is what you call a flashback and a half. When the panic begins to ease a little and I take in some gasps of breath I start to slow down and become more aware of whaat the hell is going on. I tell the NHS fuck wit that I’m having a flashback, which shows progress as I realise that is what was happening, and I become conscious that it is a flashback and not real. I guess at their worst a flashback is akin to a psychotic experience, as you very much feel you are back there reliving the trauma, rather than (relatively) safe, an adult, talking to a mental health person on a helpline.
So back to the fuck wit and me on the phone…once I stop the blood curdling screaming he then spends a considerable length of time talking soothingly to me guiding me on how to regulate my breathing again and to breath with him, to take his lead, slow breath in slow breath out…… As I’m doing that I spit out to the poor guy in between increasingly deep breaths, “I told you I was going to have a flashback didn’t I,” and he eats humble pie and afterwards (to his credit) explains that he is sorry and I am afterall the expert on me and he doesn’t know much about PTSD because he doesn’t come across people with my severity of trauma very much. He also says he felt more helpless than he’d done for a long time, that he didn’t know what to do, and that I was remarkable to live with this kind of thing. He asked if I needed to get the police to come round to make sure I’m safe because I wanted to self-harm for emotional release after the trauma. I reassured him although I wanted to self-harm that I wouldn’t…that I would do all the ridiculous NHS crisis suggestions like fully mindful consumption of tangerines. He then puffed up my ego for a long while, telling me how strong and brave I am and how he can’t imagine what it’s like to have traumatic memories spring up like that and fed back how out of control and animalistic I was…I then told him a rough description of what the memory was that had played out just then. He tells me he’s in awe of me. I stop hating him and we part as unlikely friends ;) He is also extremely pleasant and non dismissive on future crisis team calls (there have been several hundred over the last few years)
So that is a flashback of a seven/eight level.
A nine or ten on the scale requires an ambulance (which has happened).
But what about the other side of severity…the low level subtle flashback?
WELCOME TO MY PTSD DIAGNOSED LIFE.
These are the ones I find extremely difficult to accurately label as ‘flashbacks’, as these are so fucking subtle and subliminal in comparison…there is certainly no screaming.
The penny only dropped (after several hours in bed with the light shining in my eyes and me trying to avoid it) that I was having subtle flashbacks. I got so pissed off and felt a wave of anger and emotion when I realised. I also felt stupid that I hadn’t realised the blindingly obvious. [Play on words most definitely intentional].
Once I knew I was flashing back, I was able to take steps to remove what was maintaining the subtle flashback (I constructed a duvet and blanket barricade, and as soon as the LED display was not visible to me, I relaxed instantly and was able to finally drift off to sleep.
A subtle flashback is maybe a three out of ten in severity. It manifests as a general unease which is difficult to put my finger on. I know I don’t feel good. I know I feel slightly uncomfortable and threatened. I know my body feels tense and tight and I can’t switch my thoughts off, and I wonder why I am preoccupied with visual memories from my past. Although I always have memories everyday, they are often dreamy ones, subtle ones, sporadic flickers, or slow motion blurry pictures. This is the state I am in a lot, but I don’t always recognise it as PTSD immediately because I am not screaming or crying, which is a dead giveaway that it’s a flashback.
Why does light in my eyes set me off and create PTSD symptoms? you may wonder….
It’s because of the ritual abuse/satanic cult gatherings. From the very minimal internet research I’ve done on the internet about SRA when I was trying to understand what the fuck it was all about…I read that light is used in ceremonies to blind and disorientate victims. Light is shone in eyes to blindsight them, to shock, to torture, to disorientate, to make those blobby formations you see in front of your eyes when the light suddenly goes off.
There were other sensory things used in ceremonies but light was my trigger.
A trigger is the cue that sets off the memory.
So I remembered the light shone in my eyes and that set off a chain reaction of me remembering a hell of a lot of other stuff which I didn’t want to think about when I was knackered and trying to sleep after a busy sociable and stimulating day.
Right now, I feel crap. A night of low level flashbacks caused by the trigger of something as small as the bright LED light on a fucking wall in a hotel= miserable Summer. Depleted. Weirded out. Fed up.
Summer is starting to shine, but don’t you dare shine any light in my eyes. I won’t like you for it.
Light makes me remember….
That’s why I stay in the dark so much.
PS This picture I found spells CULTS, unfortunately though it was a spelling error.
The word in this case should have read in relation to satanic abusers C U N T S !!!
Not a happy PTSD bunny tonight :(