He did free tattoos, was getting better at doing them, would I like one ?

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Whoa!.”
What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?

 

My most surreal experience was a particular moment when I was in a psychiatric ward. Being there had felt surreal, but in a fuzzy detached way. More unreal than surreal.

I had been in this ward for a few days and was encouraged to go out on a trip to a local coffee shop in a  minibus with other patients. I was very compliant and just went along with it all in a bit of a daze.

I got into the minibus with a group from the ward, we were all there in various states of distress / confusion / fear, I had not really spoken to anyone yet. The person next to me a man in his early twenties started chatting to me.

He had been kept here for 6 months for absolutely no reason at all and the consultant was the devil
– ok well we have different perspectives here…
He did free tattoos, was getting better at doing them, would I like one.
– that was very kind……

I had a sudden moment of clarity and presence. What was I doing here – how did I get here. This man was clearly seeing the world very differently to me and the others in the minibus all felt equally alien to me. This was my surreal moment.

The thing is, it was surreal when seen through the eyes of someone from outside the ward. I momentarily had used outside, ‘normal’ eyes. But the feeling of being an outsider, not belonging, not safe. I have experienced and recognised that back in the ‘normal’ world many many times since.

SELF HARM IS SOMETIMES THE LEAST BAD OPTION

…. A bit of a Trigger Warning here……

I don’t condone self harm, this post is an attempt to clarify why I do it. To myself and anyone that chooses to read this.

Some films like Source Code or The Matrix play with the idea of alternative realities and asking which is ‘real’.

-Spoiler Alert – for Source Code.
The protagonist experiences life in the ‘real’ world but we discover that all is left of him is a damaged torso and a head kept alive in a box so that his brain can function. The brain is unaware of this.

So what does this have to do with self harm?

Well, I do suffer from depression, it has been quite extreme. I can see now that the darkest times have been when my experience of life has been in the ‘real’ world. Vague shadows flickering at the edges of my ‘perfect’ life.

Only in hospitalised in a psych ward did I have the realisation that my real life was the brain’s construct, that really I was damaged in many ways. That might not sound very positive – but actually, seeing myself as having been ‘damaged’ in some way explained why life felt the way it did. It explained why I felt so awful when I felt pressure to be happy.

So actually I felt permission to be sad, depressed, unhappy. I could also find some element of self love when I could see myself and my experience in the context of early trauma.

But I find it hard to hold that permission for long.

I sometimes cut myself.
In the moment that I start to cut I suddenly can see that I am that head and torso in a box, very damaged and suffering. It is clear I have reason to feel as bad as I do. I take myself seriously for that brief window of time. Ironically I feel my most sane at the moments when I am doing something so damaging to myself.

It may sound crazy and you may wonder why I can’t hold on to the ‘sane’ view of myself and know that I do feel pain, and have reason to, all the time. But the habits of a lifetime are hard to break. For the moment I have some unhealthy strategies. I have to be very pragmatic, what does less harm, self harm or suicide ?

Put like that, self harm is the least bad option.

I USUALLY CRAVE LOVE BUT FOR ONCE I WAS RADIATING IT

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

I had a bout of depression a few years ago, was hospitalised. It never really left, now I live alongside the depression better. I can’t say I’m happy, but there is a depth to life that there wasn’t before.

I had a very interesting meditation experience at about this time. Everything was so weird and intense, my mind was all over the place.

This experience was so blissful. A sensation of feeling pure love. Not coming in my direction, but from me. Most of my life I spend craving love, but for once I felt I was radiating it towards everybody and everything in general, it didn’t have a specific target. It was the most pleasant sensation I have ever had. It also felt like something that I had always known but perpetually forget – so familiar, how could I not remember this every minute of every day.

I had a sudden memory of being 5 years old again standing in a garden and feeling happy in the uncomplicated way that children do. They know the simplicity of love. It was so clear to me that this was my default setting and I had just forgotten it. It stayed with me for days.

I would like to say that I was permanently changed for the better by this experience – but in reality I forget. How crass is that ! My neuroses and fears cloud my memory.

Just sometimes it comes back to me as fresh as that day, utter joy, utter love.

MY DOORS

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”

You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side.

Trigger warning  – mention of suicide

This happened. I had to make a choice to leave a life that frightened me, I was awake it was real.

It had come to the point that my ‘perfect’ life was driving me to suicide. I didn’t know it for a while I just kept trying harder at the perfection.

Doors were the possibility making big scary life changes. How come I never saw those doors before?

I found myself in a psych ward.
Safety.

I owned my own life and at last I saw the doors.
It was suddenly so clear. Make a choice – go through.
Choose a door.
Any door.
They were all my doors and I got to choose. They would all take me away from the nightmare.

Safe on the other side I can now see the nightmare I had left.
Good job it’s a strong safe door.