« on: October 14, 2011, 05:12:37 pm »
Due to a comment pent made in another thread, about how it's good to know he's not the only one, inspiration struck. You see, I've had mild PTSD for the majority of my life. Not the kind of PTSD that is considered "by the book", but my own, special, snowflake kind.
Thing is, I often wonder if it's unique to me. Because some of the symptoms were there before the trauma. I find it hard to talk about stuff like this face to face with people, so I'm putting it here and tossing it out to you spags, in case my experience is not as unique as I think. In all honesty, I rather hope it is not unique, and rather something others go through as well and just don't talk about.
What the fuck am I talking about? The Rabbit Hole. I've heard people describe themselves as having a "tenuous grasp on reality". This sort of self-description is what makes me wonder if maybe I'm not the only one, as that totally sounds like me. Ok enough qualifying, allow me to give it to you straight.
When I was 12, I was diagnosed with PTSD. What I had, however, was blackouts. I described it a bit in the other thread as a preface to a different story, but I want to flesh it out a bit more, here. I spent two years staring at a wall from waking up to going to bed. I am not going to bother covering the details of the why, but suffice it to say, I found this awful. Imagine sitting in a wooden chair in an empty room completely devoid of stimuli. Imagine staring at a blank wall. Try staring at this wall, uninterrupted, for three hours. If that doesn't drive you a little batty from boredom, then go ahead and imagine that for two years straight, 8am to 11pm. This is what started it. After a couple months, it became easier. The time flew by faster and faster. At some point, long after I stopped counting days, it hardly seemed any time at all. I'd wake up, go to My Chair, stare at the wall, get kind of lost in thought, and before I knew it, time for bed. It went from happening sometimes, making those the good days, to every day.
When I was freed from this, and brought to Wisconsin, I thought my punishment was over, and I could have a 'normal' life. But the skipping of time did not stop. It started with me missing school, with no intention to, never leaving the breakfast table. I'd sometimes be in the bathroom for hours, just standing there, dick out, having peed hours ago. When I did manage to get to school it was even worse. Some teachers would get angry or think I was playing games. People my age didn't understand at all, thought I didn't want to be friends and was missing all our plans on purpose. Eventually, as I mentioned elsewhere, I was sent to an Institution for two years.
I did learn methods of partial control. Music helped. When I concentrated on music or stimulating movies and books, I could often avoid fading out. But only certain music, certain movies, some books, worked. And even the ones that worked, didn't always work. Some things would only work the first time, and not again. Some would only work when the "pulling" feeling was weak. It was a bit chaotic.
That's what it felt like though, it felt like pulling, or maybe a bit like falling. It felt like I was Alice, dangling over the rabbit hole and holding on as hard as I could. Much of the time I was "here", in the world other people called the Real One. But sometimes my grip would slip, or, being used to it, I'd willingly let myself fall. Then I sank into the void. But in the hole wasn't Wonderland. It wasn't really anything. At least, nothing I can ever remember.
I got myself out of the hospital by faking it. I used the little methods I had, and a lot of willpower, to keep from fading out, and convince the doctors that it was there medications that were working. At that point I was two years in and knew that place wasn't going to help me, and wasn't going to give up trying.
Pot helped too, back then. My brother got me into it, and at first it was very helpful. In fact, it was the first method I had that pretty much guaranteed no fading out for the duration. Until I became a habitual user, then it started happening while stoned, too.
One day I ran away from home. Being a giant chickenshit, however, I didn't go very far. I ran away to the house of the one friend I had. His name was Joe, and while he didn't understand my weirdness either, he was so happy to have a friend (he got picked on a lot) that he'd put up with anything. He let me stay in his (carpeted, furnished) attic, where nobody but him ever went climbed up into. It was there that I faced my blackouts head on. I asked him to leave a bunch of food and soda and give me a couple days of peace. I fell into the void, on purpose, with the decision to stay there.
I'm not sure how long it lasted, but hunger brought me out. I wasn't tired, but I was very hungry. It took me awhile to remember where I was and what I was doing. Or even who I was. This isn't like waking up from a dream. Maybe it's like waking up from a coma? I just know that at the end of each of these, it takes a few minutes (not a few seconds, minutes) to understand where I am, who I am, and what world this is. Once I had that figured out, and remembered my purpose, I ate some food, then fell back into it.
I continued like this several times, until I was out of food and falling into it became difficult. At the time I wasn't sure why, as it was never difficult to fall IN, only to stay OUT, before. But, looking back, I think it was the knowledge that I didn't have to be here. That I had a friend, and worried family (especially my mom, who lost three jobs, two houses, and had probably 25-30 ulcers from stress and worry over me, over the years), and school, and books I had not finished. Whatever the case, that is when I gained control.
Years later, I still have control. It's still there, somewhere in the background, though I only fall into it two or three times a year, when I am completely off guard and bored.
However, even when it's not an active threat like it used to be, it's presence is always there. It feels like, that's my natural state. Like my intrusion onto this world full of other people is the thing that's tenuous, and the void I fall into will be waiting for me when my grip slips for good.
I wonder if that is what death is like?
Has anyone else out there ever experienced anything like this?