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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm breathing, I'm alive: where there's hope there's panic.

When I stumble across the musing of others Flutterbies or, in most cases, people who fake it I see a lot of PTSD reactions. It's fashionable to react as if you have PTSD, as if you are still suffering deep down inside from what may have happened two, ten, or twenty years ago. Like the surge of "multiple personalities" was fashionable for a while, it's fashionable to suffer from shell shock.

These people talk about how the aliens come for them at night, and when they see bright lights they experience unreasonable fear. They talk about sexual trauma; saying things by rote as if memorized from the page of a book. The things they express are very large, movie grade events. Things that make their stories entirely unbelievable to those that were never there.

And, quite often, to me.

Let me tell you about PTSD - a trigger. A big one that was a seed when I was a small child. Understanding of it didn't come to light until my husband came across the information in a book by Springmeier, only a couple of years ago.

Night terrors: we all had them as a child. But imagine being terrified of going to sleep - or waking up - because deep down inside you're more terrified that these nightmares are real. That you're not dreaming at all. And even if you could comprehend past "that was a nightmare" to touch the more tangible thing that surrounds the fugue, no one would believe you. Or if you were believed, no one would talk to you. To let you know you're not alone.

The dreamworld for me was very consistent. When I was a toddler I'd crawl out of my crib to stand at the window and wait, watching by the door. But when I was older, right before I started kindergarten, the dreams took on a very different tone. It was a dark, reoccuring tone that I couldn't escape from no matter how much I screamed for my mommy, or ran, or anything.

The beachs where I grew up were very different from how they are now. They didn't have boardwalks: they had dunes, a lot of dunes. Main beach had foundation blocks and pipes sticking up out of the sand - remnants of a suburban area destroyed by Hurricane Dora - and for most of my young life I honestly thought all beaches had pipes sticking up out of the sand. St. Peter's Point, however, was wild beach. Sand upon sand upon sand waited for you to walk across it before you came to the clear water, where the sun beat down upon you and browned your skin.

I loved that beach more than Main Beach. It was more primal: you could dig there. You could be free there. But at night, for a few weeks, it turned into a nightmare as - I thought - in my dreams I found myself deposited on the sand alone in the dark. There were heads sticking up out of the sand from people who were buried. Sometimes there would be no heads, just hands waiting beneath the sand. And sometimes when I ran, trying to get away from the water and back to the parking lot where I knew it was safer, the hands would reach up out of the ground and pull me under. Once or twice I saw my grandmother, or I thought the woman was my grandmother.

I called the beach the Blood Beach to myself... I was a child in the 70's. Blood Beach the movie, which from the trailers I've seen matches the situation, was released in 1981.

The unreasonable fear of being suffocated, buried alive, or locked in the dark came out again when I was locked in the bathroom with my mother's sister's stepdaughter in the dark. The scream of terror came out of me without any control. The horrible woman's response at my fear - no comfort, no care, just anger at the inconvenience of dealing with a loud child - didn't help.

So it goes.. so that now I'm 40. I can't watch anything on television that deals with the subject. If I do I end up awake at almost midnight, like right now, trying to deal with the pain. Trying to come to terms with the fact that the information my husband found was about the training of young Flutterbies. Apparently they'd be buried alive. Knowing that isn't the comfort; understanding this might be the source doesn't help because in your head is a lack of information. There's a black hole where the offending incident or incidents might be, and so long as you can't remember them you can never come to terms with what has happened. If it happened at all.

At the hint of the situation - even knowing the main character will be alright - my heart pounds as I stare at the television, mewling like a frightened animal. Sometimes all you can do is revert to being that small child again, bounce off the couch, and run to the wall with your back to it as you watch the entire room in your terror. In your mind races all sorts of scenarios: you're in a car, drowning in a river. You're buried in a coffin. Your lungs are filling with water from being sick and nobody will do anything to stop it.

Your mind is racing with escape scenarios, too. Maybe you can kick the glass out of the car door and swim to the surface - but oh gods. Your children. How will you save your children? So that for all your intelligence, nothing can save you.

That, my friends, is PTSD and being a Flutterby - probably of the last generation to be taught in the old-fashioned manner. It's not sex: it's not thinking about some abusive figure on purpose so you can rant in your journal and get a little attention. It's not bright lights: telling people some Fourth Contact scenario again and again. It's trying to hide from the fear, the darkness, the terror. Trying to avoid situations that trigger the feelings. Of not talking about it. Of long nights being unable to sleep no matter how tired you are and finally coming to your computer to blog about it. Of knowing that your shell shock isn't the kind anybody at the VA will ever care enough about.

I have PTSD. I have many triggers. Some, best I can tell being as I have to treat myself and handle things by myself, stem from the waking world and everyday mundane things. But then there are others that set my mind into motion, and there's no explanation for them at all.