I awaken and smell black like Decayed Soot, carbon lungs fill with the air of tepid lakes.
Awaken to the realisation that I have been in a coma, taken. Gone.
The heady times; rushing, stumbling, laughing. Now slaughtered on the altar.
The thing is there back on the skull, sucking at the juices of my being. It has me.
I found these questions I asked myself on a phone app from 2 years ago and feel I should list them here for the record.
What is the significance of what I am trying to do?
How does this reflect the literature?
How will it speak of the culture you live in and were raised in?
How can emotional pain be communicated?
What sacrifices need to be made?
How does it feel to breathe life into the non-existent?
Is this process like a reanimation of pain?
How does it feel to reanimate trauma?
How does the trauma respond?
Does it have its own agency?
What agency does it represent?
What is its method?
How does trauma invoke a twin in addiction?
Is the animator invoking a twin in the animation?
What is the effect of this process?
How does one deal with sabotage?
Is sabotage the agency of trauma?
What is its function?
Is the agency of addiction a manifestation of trauma?
Does the completion of this project represent a coup? A seizure of power?
How might the trauma attempt to sabotage or thwart this coup?
Can small victories or achievements set off greater efforts in the face of paralysis?
What is the internal narrative of the mind as these conflicts play out?
How can these conflicts be represented visually and through movement?
What is the atmosphere of trauma and psychic disturbance?
What is the role of revenge and vengeance in reclaiming the initiative?
In this entry I would like to register the difficulties encountered in self-examination, and in terms of processing and action.
The drag-pull of trauma yields a constant battle. Though patterns are continually disrupted, and resemble ADHD- like symptoms (interestingly this is a realistic & untested prospect). Anxiety is a central axis upon which other emotions and actions pivot; and most efforts tend to be reactions rather than actions. Memory is affected in terms of having to rediscover the state of play in a constant searching for the end of the thread. Where was I?
Underneath the fluctuating of day-to-day activities lays a general sense of unease and fear; the knot (also knows as Generalised Anxiety).
Self-perception and esteem fluctuates from confident to near-collapse. Front and run. Commit and hide.
This makes the undertaking of a PhD a considerably difficult affair.
Thoughts on the effects of narrative: At this stage I have very positive thoughts relating to my created characters, and visualise myself as akin to the Moth character. I almost picture this creature and in my mind's eye in his struggle. I will him onwards. I am also the boy, so in this sense I am performing an act of self- rescue. I think about this story and these characters and try to live the ideas I have created in my own real existence. This is influencing me, and has led to changes in my thinking. This is a real and tangible effect. I feel a sense of duty and accountability to these fictional avatars. This is very interesting to me.
Dreams have influenced many junctures of my life, and instigated actions that have had profound effects. An example might be my dream about being a police officer; and so that came to pass. Yet this wasn't a prediction coming true, but rather a subconsciously derived story that bubbled to the surface. I acted upon the emotional impulses experienced in the dream; namely a desire for respect , a need to display bravery, and a desire for esteem.
Trauma dreams to me are so common as to be deemed normal. My sleep-scape is usually a congested highway of panic and fear, manifesting in jolts, jumps and sometimes even shaking. Then there are a set of usual suspects; returning to my old army unit for the thousandth time; being out on duty with the police & with my sworn-in powers redacted so I am reduced to a pitiful facsimile in costume; imposter syndrome.
Then there are the trauma dreams. The guilt dream where she comes back from the grave and stands silently at the door and I ask her why she isn't dead. She didn't die and has been living away somewhere for years. But I want her to be dead so I scream at her and there is no reply. Other trauma moments involve a return to the child somehow as an adult, and reliving the tempest and many of the details of my childhood.
I have encountered a loop. Given that my film mirrors actual dream elements (the door sequence) and also is bound to real impulses and actions; it was no surprise that a dream would return a view of all of this activity. This occurred some weeks ago in an experience so intense that I woke up whimpering as described in the a recent entry. The dream subconscious had tapped into the narrative of my film and had a verdict to deliver. The verdict was that I had been lying to myself. I immediately wrote nine pages of notes downstairs in a most lucid state. I was amazed; the dream had assimilated the fictional characters from my film and had played these characters in a way that shocked me.
So the loop goes like this; I have now responded to it's response to me, and I was now able to see clearly my error as a result. Perhaps it will reply at some point?
Post dream notes:
I woke up and realised the spider was on my head. It was a nightmare, and as usual I woke up whimpering and in terror. This was now and as I write this, it feels deathly cold. This is a real dream.
I was talking as I awoke...
"She is trying to kill me" I said.
Except in the dream she wasn't. I was trying to kill me.
For the first time as I sat blinking in the dark, I realised that I was trying to rescue myself from death.
And so as I sat blinking in the dark after the nightmare, eyes shut in the room where the boy is. I realised that I was pretending in the dream. Pretending that I had no accountability in any of this, that it was someone else's fault.
The spider scuttles on my skull; a wretched squatter since 12 years old and now I'm going to wrench it off, but it won't go quietly.
The time She came towards me with a knife and cut herself. Down that passageway in that foggy memory. Was it real? I was perhaps six.
Blinking in the dark.
Are these memories real or imagined?
Forwards only, not backwards. Sabotage this page, that drawing, this idea. Delete that. It isn't worthy.
Glued memories, stuck.
I become the boy in my film, and the spider resumes as addiction. What were you thinking? That this monster can be beaten?
I utter a muffled croak, webs in my throat. I'm buried in a cocoon of doubt. I can't breathe.
Its difficult to flash the BIOS on a computer as this information is burned into a chip. It sits below software, deep in the guts of the system. BASIC IN OUT SYSTEM. Our own minds have these hard-wired centers too. and these cause untold mischief.
Trauma is flash burned into the Brain's Amygdala, remembered or buried- It is there. This is our basic IN OUT system.
To the trauma child and trauma adult, these concepts are meaningless, however to a mind also seeking to understand , this is a liberating idea.
The mind examines itself, searches within. Yet the power is held still by the ancient areas of the BIOS , and the cognitive mind is held hostage. because to understand is to flimsily and nervously skirt around a sleeping animal. Tip-toeing around it, and well aware that if it wakes up then understanding it becomes rather a secondary matter.
In my experience I live both as the animal and as the examiner of the animal. The animal is fear. And when fear is awake, there is no other state and all thoughts are dissolved away.
So the record plays and plays in the same way.
Examining these grooves make no difference to the tune. Behaviours. Thoughts. Deeds.
Yet to make a tiny change, just one?
Psychosis is not something I have experienced, though I can see how the brain can suddenly flip into a convulsive state. As a non-expert, the only other term I have heard is "neurosis". It's a shame that being "neurotic" should generate the motor response of slapping either oneself or another person out of apparent hysteria. That "worrying" is simply a switch to slap into an off position.
Central to my experience is the issue of esteem; and deeming one's self to be "damaged goods". The self-narrative mechanism delivering one liners. "I'm fucked up". So eloquent.
This is accompanied by the general ACOA traits of murderous self-criticism and self-loathing. Self-loathing for something not done yesterday, or some error of judgement or collapse in confidence or magnificent humiliation.
Parent A's reinforcement of my worthlessness was incalculable in frequency over 23 years. These were issued as statements of fact; of one's rubbishness, yet often soothed or compensated for in some way by Parent B (the rare, sober version of parent A). Soothed but not remembered let alone redacted.
Emotional attacks upon the child's developing sense of worth from toddlerhood into teenage-hood yielded a nervous and frightful person, and also more seriously, a person unaware of their potential (until now).
Emerging from trauma usually includes a process of destroying it in the memory. For years I imagined that I was ok and imagined that I did not need to confront trauma. But it has a way of outing itself.
Our behaviours are learned. In my case the behaviours I learned were that chaos was normal, and rare quiet times were spent in a hyper-vigilant state because the next bout of chaos was imminent. And there it was, ..so this behaviour was confirmed to be correct.
The problem is that the state of hyper-vigilance becomes grooved in the brain's primitive centres. The "ok" me was actually nervous, on edge, and anxious. I'm assuming this is typical in anxiety disorders. However with ACOA related trauma there are other many other symptoms, as seen in this list by Tony A (1978).
The first time I saw this list, I almost laughed. A strange reaction; however I felt relief that I could finally begin to understand what was going on inside of my head.
by Paul Sinclair
This journal confronts childhood trauma, adult PTSD and anxiety disorder. There are also experiential themes of ACOA (being an adult child of an alcoholic).