“Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and hereafter she may suffer–both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams.”
Bram Stoker, Dracula
Some of the topics I will discuss here go to very dark places. If you are affected by any topics concerning self harm, suicidal thoughts, torture, rape and other not very nice things they will be talked about here. You have been warned.
An Enemy In My Head
This is the section that was cut from my last post about my current mental health state. This post will cover some of the wonderful ways my brain decides to fuck with me, awake or asleep.
I briefly mentioned last time that I was having nightmares about my past, but it was only the rotting cherry on the shit filled cake. After being dropped by three sources of support my subconscious was clearly coping as well as my conscious mind. As I write this I am still having multiple nightmares a week that usually revolve around some of the topics talked about below.
Dreams that I am being brutally tortured in ways that would make Lovecraft turn to not see it are a frequent visitor. The worst of these dreams are when I am not just in excruciating pain but I am just accepting it and in some cases actually asking for more since I deserve worse than what is being dished out.
My particular favourite one from recent memory is having my teeth forcibly removed from my jaw one at a time with white-hot pliers but only after the had been shattered or crushed on the surface, sending all the nerves in them ablaze in agony. Then the torturer to slowly tear my lower jaw from my head, feeling every nerve sever and the blood fill my throat. What a wonderful ally I have in my own brain.
Another classic example is being pierced with needles that gradually get thicker as they go. The dream I vividly remember involving this was the needles piercing my kidneys and bladder causing me to not being able to stop urinating. The lovely thing about these dreams is waking up convinced I have pissed the bed (I haven’t to date thank fuck) and even better, this has now spread to everyday life.
I often have to excuse myself from a room to go and check if I’ve pissed myself because I can feel as if it is all happening. I can feel it coming out and I can feel my clothes soaked around that area, again luckily this hasn’t actually happened yet and it’s all been in my head. But despite it being some sort of hallucination or trick of the mind I still panic every time and feel unbelievably vulnerable and embarrassed because it feels SO real.
A newcomer to this lovely adventure is my partner just casually dropping into a conversation that our relationship is over. This is undoubtedly one of my biggest fears and it is clearly plaguing my subconscious as well. The idea that the life I have built up for myself (however shit) could be taken away in one swoop is a terrifying prospect.
I won’t go into a lot of detail now but here are some examples of what I regularly dream about these days.
- Rape of loved ones that I can do nothing about but only stare helplessly
- Suicide attempts
- Finding loved ones dead and hopelessly trying to resuscitate them
- Watching loved ones slowly die after a horrific accident
- More torture (yay!)
- Drowning but never dying, constantly clawing for a surface that isn’t present
I often wake up shouting/screaming, my sleep pattern (unsurprisingly) is incredibly disturbed and sometimes I can’t tell if I’m awake or dreaming. I find it incredibly difficult to process events and often forget the order of events which causes confusion about where I am, what I’ve just done and what I’m supposed to be doing now.
My subconscious mind is constantly on high alert and clearly thinking danger is near, I could barely leave the house at the beginning of last year an I’m sad to say that hasn’t changed much.
Should I Publish This Post Or Not?
As of time of writing I am still frequently plagued by the lovely topics listed above. I try to carry on as normal, cracking shit jokes (I’m an uncle now so it’s appropriate), trying to smile and trying to be bubbly in social situations. But every now and then I just have to retreat, hide away from everyone else, listen to music at a stupidly high volume through my headset, have a cry in bed and scream into a pillow.
It feels horrible typing all this stuff out, I feel hollow and am shaking while doing so. It’s like admitting to the world that I have a weakness that could be exploited (thanks paranoia), that someone will just use this to make my life worse.
I can’t get the idea out of my head that I will be judged for this, my friends, family that read this will see me as a crazy person who shouldn’t be bothered with. That heading up there, “Should I Publish This Post Or Not?”, was put up there for me to keep glancing at so I could contemplate it and delete it when necessary. I am now going to leave it there as an example to myself and anyone reading, that this is the way I do things.
I always have a backup plan to escape, to not talk and just keep it all buried away. If this post does go live then I will spend days, maybe weeks, convinced that anyone who might read it will soon exile me from their lives and I’ll be left on my own to face the nightmares.
Take A Deep Breath
Fuck me this was a difficult thing to write and now I need to lighten the mood a bit. Luckily I do have a support network of friends, family and my loving partner. I have to cling to the idea that they are not actors who are waiting for their chance to go “HAHA, this has all been just to trick you! Now FUCK OFF!”.
Somewhere deep down I know that to be true and I have to keep trying to push it to the surface. I will not give up yet, I can’t.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health then please please please don’t suffer alone. Use the NHS service finder to find your local mental health services, ring the Samaritans or talk to your GP. One of the worst things about mental health problems is feeling that you are alone and if there’s one thing I can guarantee you, it’s that you’re not.
There’s some lovely, not terrifying stuff coming up over the next few weeks. So until then, look after yourselves. Peace.
Here’s an internet classic to try to bring the mood back up.