Closing in (WE_10)

Here we go again. From the outside he looked just normal – calm, content, at peace with himself. There weren’t many people who could tell what was really going on inside from looking at him. Sure, there were maybe a few signs now and again, indicating that he might be a bit nervous, but he could suppress those too if he wanted. Not that he actively suppressed any other indicators and some parts, some areas of him actually were content and at peace, but there was still, at the same time, a turmoil going on inside of him. He wasn’t fully at peace with himself. There was some stress, some anxiety weighing down on him. These things being very subjective, it was hard to describe the intensity – for him the “some” made sense and it could grow still quite a lot without showing, but mainly because he was used to so much worse than that. The physical pain he felt at the time, while of course not what he would call pleasant, was so low that for him it wasn’t really worth mentioning even.

He knew some of the things that triggered this, but there were so many details, so many little things flowing together that it was hard to concentrate. He had just made himself another cigarette and had observed himself doing so. He had done so in calm, slow and precise movements, creating a perfectly rolled cigarette, which he was now smoking in the same slow and calm manner. He didn’t know if anyone else knew him well enough to be able to tell from that too that something wasn’t right inside of him. Not that he was stressed out when he usually rolled himself a cigarette, but it wasn’t done with that kind of calmness. Not that it seemed forces in any way, but for him, those slow, calm movements, the precision behind them, felt as if he was trying to preserve energy for the fight that was going on on the inside.
He knew some trauma had been triggered. Something that he tried to hide from himself. A lot of things had been dissolved in the last few weeks and for him it felt now as if that had been a removal of layers, slowly leading up to another core issue. Yes, there was something to it. He needed to keep and create this calmness for a better discernment. To be able to filter through all of those impressions, all those little facts that lead him to this state now. To discern which ones where relevant and which were just a distraction. Betrayal, distrust, loneliness, fear. It was still mashed together. Everything he had been doing the last few weeks was probing at this core issue, that he hadn’t smoked for week, that he was eating more healthy, that he added more and more to detox his body, that he was working on something that could get him finally out of having to rely on social welfare. That core issue needed to throw everything it got at him. He could feel that part of him was getting desperate, afraid to be spotted. He knew that these parts were there for a reason, that they had been created for a certain purpose, to protect him from getting hurt again. That also meant, that they were standing in front of the original pain, blocking it from his sight. These parts were him, and the moment he solved what lay behind them, they would cease to exist in the way they used to, getting integrated into the system again in a positive and helpful manner. But that also meant, that they were afraid to die.
Solving these issues was a delicate matter, that needed a lot of strength. But not strength how most people would think, it needed strength to let go of the control, or rather, the illusion of control. To think you were in control was what gave you a sense of safety, but that safety too was an illusion. Our feelings are a reality, the moment we felt them, they were the truth. Our interpretation of them could be wrong. Our interpretations that lead to them could be wrong too. But they themselves were not and by facing them, you accepted the truth of them and by doing that you could dissolve them and whatever was lying behind them. But if we run away from them, we create a web of lies, that would carry us more and more away from the truth.
He knew every time he light another cigarette, he was exercising this illusion of safety and control, running away from the feeling of the moment. He smoked because he felt lonely, but when he light up a cigarette, he wasn’t suddenly less alone than when he didn’t, only that he felt as if he was now in control of it, because he no longer had to feel the loneliness. Just that the loneliness wasn’t the core problem. He could feel that. The loneliness was just a symptom, that tried to cover something much deeper. He could look behind it, at least a bit, but it got much harder to discern the layers that followed. While he did feel lonely, he created the state of being alone. That was the part that tried to keep save by being in control. The result was still the same, that he was alone, but since he created it, it was his choice, so it was under his control and therefore alright. Of course it seemed stupid – and it wasn’t a conscious decision, it’s just the way humans seem to work on a subconscious level. He couldn’t directly feel this choice yet, it was only a vague sensation, but he knew it was true.
Now solving a core trauma worked the other way around, slowly untangling that web, all the little lies and trauma, trying to get close enough to the point where it was possible to remove the web as a whole.

Reality Thinking (WE_09)

Reality Thinking. That’s what he called it. It entailed more than just thinking though and had more to do with perception probably, but the name worked for him, since it was more of just a variable to categorize it into for himself. A specific way of looking at, well, basically everything, because everything could be viewed as its own reality. Reality in the sense of its own little universe. Just take humans for example. Humans talk about themselves as “I”, as one singular being, yet the human body alone is made up of thirty-seven point two trillion cells, any of which is a complex little being, a whole universe of its own. But going deeper or higher up with your perspective and classifying everything as it own universe was only part of it, of its baseline. Then you watch the relationship they have within themselves, with their surroundings and how they interact with each other, but without using any words or at least as few words as possible. It was about trying to look at things without any preconceived ideas, without any judgment – and words interfered with that. Like when I tell you there is a square object, you will have a more neutral view about the object than when I tell you there is a box. Box already applies certain attributes to it, while square object leaves more room open for speculation, creating a much more curious and questioning mindset. That’s why the first observation should be as neutral as possible. Not that preconceived knowledge is intrinsically bad of course, but for his reality thinking it was to be applied consciously. Adding it bit by bit and observing how it changed his overall perception. This way he could also add different parameters and see what happens. Like it’s different to say that two people met in the street than to say two universes encountered each other. That was his favorite way of looking at it. Two humans meeting each other being two different universes, two completely different realities coming into contact. Depending on the direction you want to go, you could find a vast number of similarities between them, even if they are from different continents and cultures, but you could also find a huge number of differences even among twins. He called the process of applying variables creating an overlay. He did that with his whole perception as well. The most basic was the baseline of his reality thinking, creating the overlay of having all classifications removed from all incoming information, a state of pure perception – and then he could add a different system of how he would classify the things he perceived. To help you imagine this, think of a human being raised in the jungle who is suddenly teleported into a city, how that person would perceive everything – this would be vastly different from someone who had lived in the city for his whole live. Now imagine that same person from the jungle, having lived in the city for a few weeks, but without anyone ever explaining anything to him, still only able to speak his native language. He may have found a way to survive and live in the city, but his overlay, his classifications would still be completely different from the one born and raised in the city. It may seem like playing around, but for him it was about getting a deeper understanding of himself, questioning the things we take for granted – and at the very core of that was the way we think, what we believe, our perception of everything. Even what we believe to be logical and rational and the reasons why believe them to be rational.

Crying (WE_08)

When watching Your Lie in April, what was he crying for? Why could he now suddenly cry again, even if it was only ever so slightly, when he hadn’t cried for more than twenty-two years. Who or what was crying? There been times he managed to get to the beginning of starting to cry, only to the shut of before a single tear could fully build up and stream down his face. What was different now? How far did it go and where did it stop – and why? It was as if it only affected the top third of his self, his head and upper body, but without reaching down into his stomach. Did this mean, that part of his heart managed to join in? Or did it stop even before it reached his heart as well? Did he need to find a new way to describe his condition maybe? Was dissociation still accurate? He had just gotten another glimpse at something important. That he needed to identify as much as possible with his heart and the center for emotions below the heart. Which in turn meant that his normal state of being was to not identify with those parts. Being dissociated was still technically correct, but in that moment he felt that it was missing something, that another word, another way of looking at it, would increase his understanding enormously. He sure felt separated from these parts, but that was nothing new. That he refused to identify with them, that added a whole new dimension to his understanding, even though it seemed to mean the same. Another human was a separate being, but you could still feel connected, despite the physical separation. Did this also mean, that. How to even put this into words. But if he couldn’t connect to his own parts, did this mean, that he couldn’t connect with those parts in other humans as well. Like that his heart couldn’t connect to the heart of another human? Hmm. No. He went through the process of integrating parts several times, somehow regaining their memories back as well. So he knew that the connection was there, the parts did connect, it was just that since he didn’t perceive those parts at that time, he of course also wasn’t able to perceive fully what they were doing. Not directly at least and how much he was able to perceive varied greatly.
But back to the crying. That’s what brought him to this train of thought in the first place. He didn’t think that being able to cry would be the solution, that he only needed to cry it all out and things would suddenly be great. But not being able to cry was a clue, something that could lead him to reconnect to the parts who probably wanted or even needed to cry.

How to be alive? (WE_07)

He gave up. Mr Groat was in some strange, musty little world of his own. ‘Do you call this a life?’ he said. For the first time in this conversation, Mr Groat looked him squarely in the eye. ‘Much better than a death, sir,’ he said.
(Terry Pratchett, Going Postal)

Every now and again this quote just popped into his mind. Was what he had really better than a death? Trying to find the root of his imprisoned state was one thing, one direction to go. How to get out of all of this. The big question was though, where to? What did it actually mean to be alive? To no longer just try to somehow survive and stay alive, but to live. To no longer hate and despise his whole existence. He had no more ambitions, no more dreams, nothing he aspired to. Sure, there was a life he dreamed about having, in a way. But it was a mere abstract thought, bland and dreary. This dream had all he wanted in it, the life he imagined for himself and he was happy in it. He could see it, but he couldn’t feel it and there wasn’t even any fire behind it to actually achieve it. The person in the picture wasn’t him. He, as he was now, couldn’t be that person. What’s been really strange for him the last few years was, that he was no longer in any way suicidal. For more than ten years he was wishing he could kill himself more or less all the time. The only reason back then, that he never gone through with it, was that he was afraid that it wouldn’t end anything, but would only make things much much worse. Yet there have been times he would have still done it, if only someone had placed a gun in his hand – in those moments he had been lying lifeless on the ground, without any strength to move. When his desperation was weighing down on him so hard, it was as if it had drained out all of his life force and lying still was all he could manage. But he knew he would have found the strength to pull that trigger. Back then, he had been drowning in desperation. But now. Now it was gone. He still thought, felt at his inner most core, that killing himself would make everything worse. But that was no longer the reason he didn’t do it, because he no longer needed a reason. That was the whole point why this seemed so strange to him. No more desperation, no more urge to kill himself. But at the same time, he still didn’t want to be alive as well. In the literal sense this time, not the metaphorical from the beginning of his thought process. He wasn’t sure if that was better, that the desperation at least showed some spark of life that was now gone. That he now was so dead on all levels, that he longer even cared to wanting to kill himself. Was that it? Did he care enough to hope that this wasn’t the case? Did he actually want to be alive, in the metaphorical sense again. Having to be correct about these things even in his own thoughts, that was typically him. Anyway. What he did know was, that he wanted to want to be alive. The one way he could see to achieve this, was to have been born with other parents, another family, one that wasn’t completely mental, to have had a happy childhood, to have been lifted up and not been trodden down. But despising his stupid family had never made anything better. It was never too late to have a happy childhood. He couldn’t remember where he read that statement, but he really wished it to be true. To be able to regain something he probably never had.
There he was, moping about the past again, when he wanted to look into a positive future. Although it wasn’t really moping, he was too indifferent to be actually moping. For him these were just neutral thoughts. Moping, actually moping, with crying your eyes out and everything. He would love to be able to do that. For him, not being able to really cry, was one of the signs for his lack of being alive. Just a few days ago he had made huge progress in that direction though. For the first time he was able to kinda cry. To start crying at least, with actual tears and actually being sad. Well, he had been able to be sad before that, but not in that intensity. It was from watching a beautifully sad anime series and till then he never even been able to cry at the most sad films and stories. Just that the crying didn’t start to flow. He started and it went on for a few seconds, tears would roll down his cheek and then, something inside of him would just block it. It could start again a few seconds later, but never reaching the point where it would naturally keep flowing. Where it would reach inside of him and cry for real – and not just for real, but for something real, something that had been bottling up inside of him for decades. To cry it all out, to feel all the pain he had hidden away. But he didn’t even know anything for which he could cry for real. Sure, he knew bad things that had happened to him, but all of them were now just neutral information. For his conscious self at least, but he could sense that some inner parts were sad and wanted to cry, only there were still a few layers that needed to be dealt with first. Layers of hate and fear and, well, some other things too probably. The hate was what he could perceive clearest at the moment, but strangely, that too was neutral information. Mostly at least. He wondered if he was getting closer to be alive and how the world would look like when he finally reached it.

Survival Versus Living (WE_06)

Being in survival mode versus against being alive. The concept had stuck in his mind since he first heard it in a TV show a few weeks ago. It was about Bones, the main protagonist and name giver of the show, being stuck internally in a pure survival mode, not allowing herself to fully open up to the world, to others, to herself. Looking at it like that he wondered whether he had ever even been alive. If so, he sure couldn’t remember it. Did he enjoy life when he was a baby? A small child? Was it something that stopped or just never been there in the first place? He had seen photos of himself when he was a baby and a very small child on which he seemed to be joyful, but it was like looking at a stranger. He had no memories that associated, that clicked with that joyful experience on the face of the baby that was supposedly him. Not that he had a lot of memories of his childhood in the first place, but as little as they might be, he still had memories dating as far back as kindergarten and in all of them he was repressed, withdrawn into himself, into his own little world. Certainly not joyful, but a lifeless hull, a zombie on autopilot, a fake mask for the outside world with no substance behind it. Repressed and frightened. That’s how he remembered himself being until he was about twenty-one, when his old self was being shattered and he, as he was now, gained consciousness. But that seemed to have been all that had changed back then, that he was conscious on the surface at least, no longer operated by that ugly mask of his old self, but inside, inside he had stayed the same. It was as if part of himself had been freed on that day, but the rest of him was still trapped in that prison. So, in a way,maybe his mind was alive since then, but it was still bound to the imprisoned part of himself. Like a turtle could stick its head out of its shell, but the head couldn’t just fly away on its own. Since the rest of him was trapped in survival mode, that meant he was too.

It was really strange how this entrapment worked. Over the last few years he had managed to break a few more fragments free from other parts, merge with them, become a bit more … whole. It was less a case of being trapped behind a mask. Well, it was part of it, but that would be only half of the truth. It was more a case of being trapped behind the mask and in a way being the mask at the same time. To be freed, the mask needed to be destroyed, which is why there was so much resistance, because it also meant that since you identified with the mask to the degree of being the mask, that you yourself needed to be destroyed. While being entrapped you shared the masks fear of dying, its fear was your fear, its fight for survival was your fight. When the mask is in danger of being exposed, to be shown for what it is, the mask will fight with all it got to just not die. Every time that happened was a pivotal moment, a moment of choice, to chose truth or deceit. To either stay identified with the mask and be swept away by its fear or to take all the strength you can muster together and split away from that mask, to endure that fear and stay true to yourself, to who you really are – which doesn’t mean to stay true to some abstract “true self” behind the mask, it means to fully, without any excuses accept that you are the mask and that you are not the mask, that you created that mask for a reason and that you are responsible for everything you have done being the mask. To no longer hide, but face the consequences. To know the truth that sets you free, that’s not a purely intellectual process, it requires your whole being, everything you got at that moment and it feels as impossible as looking at the back of ones own eyeballs. And to just give up, turn around and run away will become more tempting in every single moment it lasts, it’s what we do all the time, to just be the mask, to give in to what it wants at that moment, to hide the truth away again, to just not face it, your mind will be bombarded with excuses to take the easy way out. Only that that’s a lie too. It is only easier for the moment. It’s like having broken out of prison, on the last steps into our freedom to turn around, walk back into our cells, close the door behind us and persuade ourselves that we actually want to be there.
So what did it mean for him to survive? Or rather, for the part inside of him he couldn’t reach. Every time another fragment had been freed, there always came realizations afterwards how he somehow had known about it all along, but also why he hadn’t been able to see it. So he knew the information was right there in front of him, he just wasn’t able to see it. Why had he created this mask, what had been its purpose, what had needed protection back then? He suspected that his heart had created some kind of shell around itself to no longer get hurt. No. He was so used to this language, because that’s how it felt for him. It wasn’t his heart who created the shell, it was he himself who created it. As far away from his perceived reality as this statement sounded for him, he knew, no, it was too far away to feel like he knew, but he suspected it to be true. Enough to start trying to view it that way at least. But that was only one of the parts that was left. Lets rephrase it a bit so it would fit into the pattern here, he had put a shell around the heart so it could survive in there. Yes, better. But what was the merit of being isolated and alone in his flat? He felt that this was an issue that needed to be resolved before he could get to the heart. Or maybe. Could it be that those where somehow connected to each other? He never thought of it like this. Making sure he was alone could very well be a physical manifestation of that shell, to make sure that no one could get close enough to hurt him again and that he wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone again either. Maneuvering through these issues was like having several jigsaw puzzles scattered in front of you with the pieces moving around all the time, all in the same colour scheme and someone had removed all the edge pieces. Hmm. And if you stared too long at them, you start to get electrocuted at an ever increasing intensity. Yes, that was a somewhat accurate description.

Betrayal (WE_05)

How do you overcome betrayal? He just couldn’t figure it out. Theoretically he knew how it worked, but he had no idea how to apply it all to his situation. Either he couldn’t see a positive outcome or no way to realize it in any of the approaches when he tried to think through them. The best he could come up with were ones were he arrived at uncertainties, which was at least somewhere to start. It also wasn’t as if this was all mere theory, he actually didn’t really know anyone who had more practical experience in these matters than he himself did. Well, there were a few maybes, but in regards to his own case, he was definitely the number one specialist for sure. He tried so many things, failed so many times, again and again and again, but – he also succeeded often enough. His biggest problem was, that he had several other battlefields he needed to concentrate on as well. He couldn’t afford to lose sight on any of them, for too long at least, or he would be defeated on all of them. Not terminally of course, but any defeat was a major setback that forced him to retreat to be able to refocus his resources. But then again, the only reason he could even see the betrayal as a problem now, was because he had won several critical battles in the last few years. Granted, he didn’t really knew how, in regards to a few of them, but he stuck in there and never fully gave up and kept trying again and again. He tried to learn something from every defeat and by doing that he also learned to handle those defeats better all the time. Nowadays he could be up and going again in a few hours, sometimes even less. Okay, the last big one brought him down for about two weeks, but he had tried to quit smoking again – a battle he clearly wasn’t ready for yet. But that too helped him to see the betrayal and everything surrounding it much more clearly. Okay, so he couldn’t see any real way to solve this, nothing new there. For some reason that seemed to always be the case, so much so that he gotten used to it by now, so why bother. Getting agitated about it only created more problems, he couldn’t let that happen. He needed to stay focused, to really understand it, what happened to him and how it still affected him.

He didn’t know when it first happened, only that it had to do with his mother. He had recently read that there was a key difference between a post-traumatic stress disorder and a betrayal trauma, which was that the PTSD is primarily caused by fear, while betrayal is a response to extreme anger and that there was an element of both in the most serious cases of PTSD. He wasn’t yet sure how this information would be of help for him, but since it applied to him, he should keep it in mind while thinking about this. The betrayal aspect was still relatively new for him and he still needed to understand it and put it into context with all the other stuff. The source was a major factor, that it was his mother, the one person he should have been able to trust the most and what’s even worse, who acted as if she could be trusted. So this wasn’t a one time thing, like with the complex PTSD as well, it was something that happened again and again. If just his memory of all that time was better. He knew it had something to do with his father seeming to be the bigger problem back then and his mother being the one trying to shield him from his father. That could mean he had developed a caution towards his father, so that his father was no longer able to deeply hurt him. But he didn’t with his mother, because she was a completely manipulative sociopath, who could act like the most innocent victim while stabbing you openly into the heart. Not that she didn’t mean well, in general at least, but when push came to shove that was no longer the case and the only person who counted was she herself, no matter who she needed to sacrifice – and her crazy could come out for the most minor and irrelevant things too at any given moment and she would just scream, throw and hit at him with anything that came to hand. But that was all old stuff, he knew all that already – he needed to spot the betrayal in all of this madness. He always KNEW that the biggest issue with his mother was the emotional abuse. But it was more of an emotional knowledge. He knew that when he was thirteen years old, it felt absolutely disgusting to be touched by his mother. He could still remember that moment back then when she hugged him and he just wanted to be anywhere else, that she would just keep her disgusting flesh off of him. He wished he knew what his emotions knew back then, but that memory probably belonged to the mind that had died when he was about twenty-one. The best he could get from his emotions was that there also was some kind of aura of distrust and falseness radiating from his mother and that she somehow used him emotionally, used him for something that wasn’t his responsibility. In the same way that a parent that has sex with their child, it was the same preach of trust, only not sexually, but emotionally. As strange as it may sound, he sometimes wished his mother would have sexually raped him, just so he would be taken more serious. since he doubted his PTSD would have been any worse if she did. Well, now that he was thinking about it again, with whatever was left of his memory from when she hugged him freshly in mind, that just sounded extra disgusting, having had even more contact with this repugnant being.
But he lost focus from thinking about the betrayal. Getting sidetracked like this. But he viewed that as a positive sign, something inside of him didn’t want him to think about it, trying to distract him. He knew it was he himself who didn’t want to face these things, but it still felt like these traumas had a life of their own and when looking at people with several personalities, this probably wasn’t that far from the truth. He knew he was still dissociated from his emotions to some degree, but he now felt at least much more like one person – one of the things that seemed impossible until quite recently, even though the thinking of himself in parts was still there. But it had felt like he had masses of inner children inside of him and … well, and it would take too long to describe how exactly how it felt now for him, so lets just say much less so. Which means that those parts somehow got integrated when the respective trauma was dissolved. He was used to the whole process, he knew how it worked and what to look for – that’s of course not to say that all of this was just easy going, it was still a serious battle. In the same way a good surfer could feel the movement of the water and ride the waves, but he couldn’t drink the whole ocean – no matter what Nietzsche said. He was on the watch out all the time, or at least, something in him was. He had some kind of part for that too, something that observed things he didn’t consciously notice. Mostly he referred to that part as the brain, as it also did the thinking for him – a statement he knew sounded a bit weird, but that’s how it felt like. When there was a subject he wanted to think about, he somehow delegated it to the brain and went for a walk or something, while maybe from time to time looking at the subject and the brain would provide him with various outcomes, thoughts and associations over time. Because of that observer, getting distracted could be helpful, because he sometimes got a feeling about the information something in him tried to avoid. It seemed to him it was the big betrayal, the really really big one. He was leading up to it, getting there, he just wanted to get a better grasp of what happened before, to see if there was something he missed that could be important to understand the big one more clearly.
The big betrayal had a few things in common with the other ones before it. It also wasn’t one big event, but stretched over time and it also didn’t really have a starting point you could point to. While it didn’t start there, it had some kind of turning point though. Most of his family always stood behind his parents and specially behind his mother. Her capabilities in manipulation have been mentioned. But in a way, until that point he was still part of the family. He couldn’t remember what happened exactly, there was some family gathering or something and the only real thing he remembered clearly was a phone call from his oldest sister, who told him that he couldn’t say “fuck you” or something similar to his parents. Well, apparently he could and he did so quite successfully, but that was the last thing he heard from her for about thirteen years, because he just hung up when she said that. It was absolutely not what he needed at that time. What he needed was probably what he always needed, understanding, compassion, kindness, someone to be on his side for a change, someone who stood up for him and protected him from all the crazy in his family. Not to say that his never happened, but he could only remember from narrations that his middle sister and her now ex-husband once did so. He hated family gatherings. Wait, that’s not quite true. He loved them, because that meant he could see his nephews – at least before they were happening, and not during, because during he felt like a target that everyone either trampled on or silently gave their consent that this was alright. Apart from the one exception, he seemed to be the only one for whom this seemed that way. But after the one that lead to that phone call, he broke contact with his family. Well, he broke contact with his parents, but that meant breaking contact with his family, because no one was on his side. For them, he was the crazy one, the one to blame, the one who was wrong. Even though they didn’t even knew his side. None of them knew him, knew his pain, how close he was to killing himself. It probably wasn’t an active decision for most of them, specially when you include what he referred to as the aunt side of his family. He couldn’t even remember the year when this happened, but his Crohn’s had definitely and severely kicked in by then, so he was more or less bound to his flat by then, on the verge of dying by that too – during that time period he was down to fifty-three kilogram, his intestines no longer been able to really digest anything and he needed to go to the toilet more than ten times a day, leaving there only liquid, blood and mucus and having to take a break twice on that seven meter journey, because his body was so weak it would have just collapsed otherwise. He was wearing the same boxer-shorts for months back then too, which meant it was filled with dried blood and excrement, and he did that because if he changed it, it would be in the same condition after about two hours later. Every time he was not on the toilet, but sitting in front of his computer, he was praying that he wouldn’t have to go there right away again, because his butt was hurting so much it felt like he was defecating glass shards covered in acid.
That’s the state he was in after he broken contact with his parents, and because he had broken the contact with his parents, no one in the whole family was there for him, know what was going on, cared to know what was going on. That last one was the point. Whether it was an active decision, they chose to believe whatever lie his mother told them to hush it up – him having that sickness was quite convenient for his mother there – or whatever other reason, no one cared to see how he was doing, what was going on. And it’s not like this lasted a few months, this was going on for about ten years. Breaking contact with his parents, with his mother, was the best thing he had ever done, it was what saved him, to get out of that crazy destructive influence, but when he did that, it was no longer just his mother who betrayed him, it was his whole family, one way or the other, standing behind his mother and taking her side.
Of course he knew that it wasn’t fair to lump them all together like that and that it was much more complicated than that, but that’s how it felt like, that’s how it was emotionally remembered on some level. It was like the betrayal of his mother somehow extended to them too. Less individually, but more collectively. Like, he had sporadic contact with his oldest sister now, who told him she tried to keep the contact and send him text messages to his birthdays, which been probably those he wondered about because he couldn’t identify the sender, since he couldn’t remember receiving them, but she thought that he didn’t want to have contact with her. Leaving aside that blame is a stupid concept anyway, it made no sense blaming her for not having contact. As individual he was okay with her somehow, but she was still part of that collective, that system, that community. What does it say about a community, when one of its members is on the verge of death for years and no one in the whole community cares to find out what’s up with that member, why that member no longer shows up on any of the gatherings, if that member is even still alive. None of them really cared about him.
How could he solve this. Get rid of this. What needed to be done to be able to be freed of this as well. In a way, knowing that betrayal played a part wasn’t exactly new information, but something he knew all along, but it was just an side issue, one of many in a swamp of trauma and pain. This was the first time he could see it in such a clear way. It was. Every time when he had made some progress in one of his battles he had a major breakdown. When he manged to eat right, his psyche would go mental and he could no longer keep it up and the bleeding returned. When he felt a bit better emotionally, the bleeding increased and created an emotional breakdown. In a way, this was still going on, but the baseline was much more stable. The old baseline was constant pain and despair, he couldn’t remember a time the bleeding had stopped for more than two days even. Nowadays, he rarely bleed and it was usually over after a few days, pain was no longer constant, or at least excruciating pain wasn’t, well, actually, he got so used to pain, small background pain could be there or not, it didn’t matter because he didn’t really noticed it anymore, so he was mostly more or less pain free and his mind was mostly in a relatively calm state, as long as he kept distracting himself. But the level of distraction that was necessary now was much much lower and he could be without it for a bit. So, looking at it now, it seemed like his illnesses been working together, and still were. When he worked on one issue, another one would bring him to fall. There just been too many to get a grip on any of them. But he could only spot this pattern now, because he now could look at those bigger issues and they try to hide from him, throw everything at him that they have and they had always done that, only that now, there wasn’t that much left to put in the way, to take cover behind, to make him fall. Every breakdown even brought him closer to the next victory. Sure it was still a process that would take some time, but the traumas he was trying to dissolve lost a lot of their allies already, it was no longer a murky swamp of a horde of rampaging out of control inner children that could be triggered at will by them, a lot of those inner children were … no, not on his side exactly, well, part of them were, but part of them were even more than that, they were “him” now. One way or the other, more and more of the inner children looked up to him now for guidance. They trusted him now, knew he was there for them, protecting and looking after them. Even when he got mugged a few months ago, with a gun pointing right at him, they didn’t panic, but they looked to him first and because he stayed calm, they stayed calm. He had taken a lot of abuse from them to get there, to show them he would still love them and be there for them, even when they weren’t acting nice – and he deserved that abuse, because he wasn’t nice to them either, but had promised them, that while he knew he wouldn’t be perfect, he would try to not suppress them if he could help it and reduce it more and more over time. They all been able to handle worse, so they would be able to handle that too. He was confident about that.

Panic. Attack. (WE_04)

He could feel another attack being on its way. He always wondered about the strange terminology. Panic attack. Being attacked by a panic. Didn’t make much sense for him. You are being attacked and because of the attack, you panic. This is how it was supposed to go, only of course, it shouldn’t. Panicking when being under an attack was a very unwise response to it. You keep your calm and don’t lose your head or else you could lose it quite literally. For him it also never felt like being attacked by a panic or even that he was in panic when it happened, but he still knew it was what people called a panic attack. Of course his emotions were panicking, he could sense that, but the thing was, that his emotions didn’t feel like they were part of him. The way he perceived them they were just another being living inside of him, incidentally occupying the same space that he was. That was the more positive way to describe them at least, since they were a real nuisance for him and he wished he could get rid of them completely. He really really disliked them – and he was aware of how paradox that sounded, since liking and disliking was an emotional sensation, but the way he perceived it, it was true to say it like that. It wasn’t his fault that language was insufficient and didn’t have the words to describe phenomena like these adequately. He didn’t know whether that meant that he was only partly dissociated from his emotions or that the mind could have some kind of emotions on his own. With emotions he meant those felt in the area of his stomach and he mostly referred to them as inner children. Plural. Not just one child. More like a whole kindergarten gone crazy and he was the kindergarten teacher that had to keep them under control as good as he could. They hated him. He hated them. A very unideal situation. Then there was the heart, another area in the body you can have emotions, only in his case, he couldn’t. The heart was in an even worse state than the inner children, as far as he could tell. At least they were still “talking” to him, metaphorically speaking, even though what they had to “say” was rather unpleasant, but from his heart came just nothing. Emotionally at least. While it felt mostly neutral, sometimes he still felt some kind of physical pressure in that area – but none that would show up on medical equipment, so it was probably some kind of emotional physical pressure. Still a lot better than the way it used to feel. As cheesy as it may sound, it used to feel like a black hole of negativity and that description only scratches the surface of how it actually felt like. Being under so much pain it filled your whole physical being, while having a major panic attack was a positive experience in comparison. Just neutral was better, yes, definitely much better. But talking about panic attacks, the one he felt earlier was getting closer and so far he never managed to prevent it in any way. Sure, there were a few things he could do to manage it when it started, but those were quite extreme, so nothing he would do if he didn’t feel it was necessary. Specially since it wasn’t like he felt good when he didn’t have a panic attack. He felt an underlying panic, stress and physical pain at all times, so getting a panic attack just meant that it was getting even worse. That’s why to cope with those needed extreme measures, since he was already using the more moderate tools at his disposal for his permanent state of distress and pain – the psychopathic kindergarten and his bleeding intestines. He also tried to fight it as long as he could before he used the more drastic measures, only when he just couldn’t bear it anymore otherwise. Which was to either cut himself or stub out a cigarette on his arm. Most people just couldn’t understand why anyone would do something horrible like that to themselves. Well, they just don’t know what the state before you do it feels like, how much strength it costs and how much we endure when we try to delay the self harm. You are prepared to do just about anything to just make it stop. It would be kinda wrong to say that we really feel good when we cut or burn ourselves, it’s more like, that we feel good for a short moment, because we no longer feel what we felt before we did it. A short moment of bliss, of relief, a small breathing space – a few seconds of relaxation before it will all come back and the whole thing starts again, but at least it will be bearable for some time then. How long doesn’t really matter, as long as it stopped for that moment. That was all that counted. He differed a bit from most people who did this, in that he never felt ashamed because of it and tried to hide it. The way others described this being ashamed, it seemed to defy the whole purpose of the action itself. You did it to be free from that unbearable emotions and stress, but if you judged yourself for doing it and feel ashamed and guilty because of it, you instantly had a high level of stress again. That’s probably why he never saw it as a problem, but just as a solution. Granted, only a very temporary solution, but certainly not as a problem. The problem were the feelings that lead to it, if he didn’t have those, there wouldn’t be a need to apply it. But of course he could understand that someone who felt guilty and stressed when he did it would see it as a problem in itself as well. He just felt that changing ones attitude to no longer feel guilty about it would be a great first step for those people to get better, since they could then be happy to have this solution at hand when needed, they would no longer need to apply their scarce resources on feeling guilty and had more of them to focus on the main problems that lead them to harm themselves in the first place. Abstractly, one of the main goals for those who felt ashamed about it was trying to harm themselves less, something he didn’t care about at all, but since he didn’t feel stressed about it when he did it, there was much less need to apply it and the intervals were much longer than for those who felt guilty about it. He was probably blessed at least in those regards. He saw it as trying to not add to his problems where he was able to avoid it, something where the dissociation from his feelings came in handy. It seemed like he was able to apply rational solutions much more easily than most others in similar situations because of it. They didn’t solve the underlying issues of course, probably because they were kinda forced from the mind, but these mind hacks greatly reduces his overall stress by at least not adding more to his plate. Most of them were explanations from his best friend, who described to him how he naturally dealt with situations, which was in a very logical and sensible manner. He was very grateful for them and felt that he would have died some time ago, very likely of suicide, if it wasn’t for his friend. It probably had to do with his mind being quite young, another weird thing about him that’s hard to describe. From all his parts he mostly, or even more or less completely identified with his mind, but for his mind it felt like it didn’t really exist until he was about twenty-one years old. He knew he must have had a mind before that time and he had memories from before, but in those memories, for his mind, and since he identified with his mind, also for himself, it didn’t feel like “he” was “there” too. Someone had to be doing the thinking before that time and he knew it had to be him who did it, but it just did not feel like it. It felt like someone else did the thinking back then and when the mind as it was now was born, the one who did it before died and all the memories died with him.

Empty Profile (WE_03)

Filling out another profile. He always had problems describing himself. He just never knew where to start and also, what characteristic defined him the most. At least those were the explanations he managed to come up with. But he also suspected that emotionally he cared more about what others might think of him than he was consciously aware of. He hated to be about two minds about so many things, specially since the one with the bigger influence was mostly hidden from him. But how you start with these things could make a huge difference nevertheless. He felt like he was between a rock and a hard place, to either come across as arrogant or pitiful. At least if he wanted to give an honest description that wasn’t completely meaningless. His illnesses were a major factor in who he was, his complex post traumatic stress disorder and his Crohn’s disease, but even more so that the worst of it was in the past. Not the hell he was going through, but the hell he had overcome, all the things he left behind and managed to let go of. All the suffering he survived. THAT he survived, that he never stopped fighting and kept going. That he endured. It was not about despair and pity, but about freedom, victory and tranquility. Of course he wasn’t completely healthy yet, but it was incomparably better now than it was just a few years ago – and a big part of it being better now, is that it used to be so much worse.  Not being in constant pain with spikes so bad it was hard to even sit straight is a hugely different experience for someone who used to be in that pain, then for someone who never experienced anything like it. All the little things people get frustrated about all the time just no longer matter for you when you been through hell. It seemed though that there were few people who can really relate to this. In most cases they either had a too sheltered life or they were still in the middle of that hell. How could you possible put that into a few words for a “How would you describe yourself” field in a profile? The other thing he felt that plays a role in defining him had other problems to put it into words. One part was his intelligence, having been born highly gifted. So nothing where he did anything to earn it, it was just always “there”, but it sure created a different perspective on the world than for someone who doesn’t “have” it. He taught himself to read when he was five years old, at least that’s what his mother had told him. So certainly not the biggest genius, some of which managed that before they were three, but enough to create a difference. Also not easy to describe. When talking to people he naturally assumes their understanding is on the same level as his, without feeling superior in any way and abstractly that’s what can lead people to think he was arrogant or a know it all. Which can be quite frustrating, but so can the feeling that people often just didn’t seem to be able to follow what he was trying to tell them. Those were problems he had in the past with it at least, nowadays he was extra careful in how he phrased things. But he was also a highly sensitive person, neuro-a-typical, or in other words, part of the autistic spectrum and because of the PTSD he was still partly dissociated from his emotions, which was quite the weird combination. That’s why many people seemed like little children to him. Humans with little children problems and a little children understanding. He hated how arrogant that sounded and he spent a lot of his attention to not let it influence his thinking, to always stay humble and not think of himself as being better as anyone else. But he couldn’t just turn off his intelligence, all he experienced in his sufferings and all the other things, so it meant that he had a bigger responsibility when interacting with people who didn’t have those advantages. Something he felt was unfair, since he was still not healthy, still traumatized, and yet he still needed to be considerate towards people who had a so much better life than he had, who didn’t make any effort and acted like egomaniac sociopaths because they never had any reason to change. He knew he was blessed that he had to go through all of it and all the advantages he had, but it was still annoying. Mostly because the advantages, for now, where still only theoretically so. He was still bound to his little flat, sitting in front of the screen, staring at an empty profile field, because he once again spent a lot of time staring at that screen thinking about all of this without being able to find the right words.

Not going shopping (WE_02)

He was sitting at his desk, pondering whether or not he should go shopping that day. He spent more and more time indoors, not wanting to leave his flat. As if his flat was some kind of save haven, his only secure place in the world. He hated it. Not his flat, but the whole situation, the fact that it was his save haven and that he didn’t want to leave it. Should he eat something? No, not yet. First another episode or two, maybe after. He wasn’t really hungry yet. Or rather, he wasn’t nauseous yet. Not nauseous enough anyways. Eating could wait. Eating meant facing reality. Not being distracted. Just being in his flat wasn’t enough to feel really secure. Being in his flat and being under the influence of some kind of distraction. The flat was just the most basic base line, together with smoking cigarettes. Open browser, search for the last episode watched, open new one in new tab – he always did that, opening links in new tabs. It usually only took a few minutes to have his browser loaded with enough tabs to make the average person lose track to navigate properly. But not for him, he liked it that way. Mail, facebook, some interesting articles he found on his facebook wall to read later, some wiki pages to go further into subjects he found in those articles, a few interesting youtube links to watch later, … all neatly. Well, not neatly ordered, but neatly “there”. That was enough. He just knew where which was and no one else needed to, so there was no need for any order. Until it was affecting the speed of his computer at least. But for now, all that counted was the next episode of whatever TV show he was watching at the moment. Hit play. Rolling a cigarette. Watching. Smoking. Taking part in the lives of the characters on the screen. Being part of it. Until the credits at least. But until then, no decisions to make, no reality to face. It wasn’t bliss for him, it was just better than not doing it. Creating the illusion for twenty to forty minutes that he was part of a social life, of interhuman interactions. He knew it wasn’t real and that he was only faking it that way. It’s not like he was delusional about it, but he still needed it to, well, to basically just keep going. To the next day, where it would all start again. Sitting in front of his notebook until he was so tired that sleeping was the only option.

He wish he knew what he was running away from. It was all so obscure. It wasn’t as if he was bound to his flat, that he really couldn’t leave it or that he had no other choice than to watch another episode, to spent another few hours playing video games, that he just had to smoke. He knew he had a choice. In some way at least. But also, not really. It was there, but it also wasn’t. He could chose not to do all these things, to stop distracting himself and it would be alright for a little while, sure. But things got … unpleasant if he did. Not that much at first, but it was constantly growing until he always reaches a point where he could no longer take it. Falling back to his distractions made things okay again, but if he went too far, too deep into facing. Actually, he had no idea what he was facing, just that it came when he stopped the distractions and he really really really didn’t like facing it. It would be alright if it was just that, facing, unpleasantness, back to not facing it, but if he went too deep into it, things got much worse than they usually are for some time after. It was like being trapped in a hole. Sitting at the bottom wasn’t nice and climbing out of it would mean freedom, but sitting down in the hole with a broken leg after yet another failed attempt was even worse than sitting down there without the broken leg, so it was like ignoring the world outside the hole brought with it the prize of not having your legs broken again. Although that metaphor wasn’t a true description like that, he did regularly try to climb his metaphorical hole and regularly had his metaphorical legs broken. It was more like, that ignoring the outside world and therefor not falling into despair for sitting in that hole, helped him mending the broken leg and collecting strength for the next try. But despite that, it was also true that he wanted to be in that hole and that he was extremely afraid of the world outside of it. Not consciously of course, but something inside of him that had a lot more to say about what was happening than his conscious mind. He knew this because he knew the hole, he knew he had more than enough strength and all the tools he needed to climb the hole and he still ended up falling down and breaking his leg when he tried. He just didn’t know why.
The distractions only partly affected his mind. He still knew all this during his distractions and he kept observing, looking for clues, reflecting about his condition and the whole situation, but it was important that his emotions were sedated. The distractions made sure of that, helped him to keep his mind relatively free, but the moment they stopped, the rising unpleasantness and stress more and more affected his thinking.

The Meeting (WE_01)

It was a bleak night and what made things even worse, was that it wasn’t raining. He somehow felt that for what he was about to do, the narrative dictated raining to go along with the bleakness. The dramatic effect of it might be just inside his head, but that’s where it counted, wasn’t it? On the positive side, his client being late for over an hour now, at least he had a dry wait. He lit another cigarette to pass the time. It’s not like he needed the money, but it was a favor for someone he couldn’t refuse. But at least it was the last time, after this his dept has been paid fully. That’s the trouble trading in favors can get you into, but it was worth it in the long run. Heck, if this was as big as Marco claimed he might even own me one when this is finished. The street was still empty, a defect streetlight flickering creating the most action. But what was that? Something just happened, he knew it, he could feel it, even though everything looked the same. Marco didn’t say anything about travelers being involved in this and he should know better to keep something like that from him. Fuck. But now it was too late to cop out. “I am here as requested. What do you want?”, he said to the apparent empty street. “So you are as good as Marco had claimed”, a voice intoned about two cars away from him. So were they, he cursed to himself. They managed to get really close before he managed to spot them and there were three of them. Well, lets get this over with. “Marco says a lot of things, what do you want? And show yourselves, I don’t like talking to the empty air.”. “Now you are toying with us John, we know that you can sense us, but okay lads, lets act like the gentlemen we are.”. One of them was sitting cross legged on the top of a car, one was leaning against a wall and one dangling by his feet from a close balcony. Showing off and the aura of borderline boredom with the world on the verge of suicide was one of the trademarks of travelers. At least for the uninitiated, those who knew them knew it was just an act, a mixture of playing with their prey and distracting from how deadly they actually were.