Dragon. And not the good kind.

Okay, first we start off with a happy pic, even if the focus is too soft and the exposure something awful.

Working upwards:

Lulu is in the towel (she does the wet work, and is often wet, and she kills nightmares with smiles).

Large Round Cow and Cozy Cow have been serving as my main bodyguards, so to speak, and I should have known things were going to go wrong when I didn’t frame myself between two of them. I was feeling ill from a cold, and didn’t want to throw up on a cow while getting to the puke bucket, even though Cozy Cow is designed for children of young ages and can stand a little throwing up on.

Ike is sitting with his arm around the Overcow, and between them is Valencia, who is not a baby cow or calf, but her very own self, even if she is tiny. She’s named after a type of orange, and is actually a coin purse; she has a little chain in the back and dangles well from my apron strings while I’m cooking. She needs an Arrival Post. That’ll come later.

Right now I’m still recovering from a very bad set of nightmares and resulting partial flashback. You can see the panic I was having on Twitter, although that is hilariously-in-hindsight interspersed with the time when the JavaScript injection attack was occurring in every other tweet, so. Many people @-replied and a few DM’d and I chatted with a few people over IM and IRC. And I would like to thank them for taking the time to connect with me. For a while, the laptop was the only indication I had that my bedroom was not transported back in time to the bad place.

It was all driven by two horrible nightmares, and one nightmare about a gluten-free pie crust recipe that leaped out from the comments section of Mark Reads Harry Potter ((A very good blog about someone discovering the Harry Potter series for the first time. I love that series for so many reasons, and some are tied to childhood traumas of mine.)) and ate people’s faces.

The first horrible nightmare was about being transported back through time and space into my bedroom at my parent’s apartment. ((For a while during IM conversations I kept typing in “home” and had to keep deleting and reminding myself it wasn’t my home anymore and hadn’t been for many years, usually a sign that some of me is stuck in the past.)) My father was raging behind the bedroom door; I could hear him, and for the first time in years I remembered the horrible little room… and my father burst through the door, like he always did in the end after working the terror up some.

I had my iPhone with me, and I called 911 as he broke in, but no one was there. I desperately tried texting 911 and then my father caught me. And proceeded to do bad things, which I don’t remember in detail, but I do remember it was bad. Except for the iPhone, this was all too realistic.

And then it all thrust me into another nightmare, where—well, there were a lot of very fine details that were extremely realistic, down to wet concrete stairs with moss in the cracks that were slightly too tall for me to step over/down comfortably. In it my father had murdered my mother, cut off her head, attached it to skeletal chicken feet, left it in someone’s closet to find (was it mine…?), and melted her body in a lime pit that was also a tool box. You could see the body bubbling through the clear toolbox lid.

So yeah, um. Then the third nightmare of whatever.

And I woke up and I couldn’t tell the difference between reality and dreams. I didn’t know if the present was real or if this was a dream, and when I opened the bedroom door, bad things would be on the other side. It was of course dark, too.

The first thing I did was turn on the Ottlite full spectrum light next to my bed, which very closely mimics daylight, although not well enough to ward off everything. And then I reached out to people through Twitter with very desperate cries for help, because I was very scared and nothing seemed right. I knew I was going through a partial flashback, but at the same time I couldn’t pull myself out of it. My brain really did believe that on the other side of the bedroom door was the body of my mother and my father waiting for me, and the wet cold cement steps leading down to what I realize is now one of the many hells.

Many people helped out, even if it was just good wishes. Some cheered from the sidelines, and encouraged me to go explore outside the room a bit, to try to stop the feedback loop of the flashback or whatever the hell was going on with my brain.

I succeeded in opening the attached bathroom door, which was easiest, because bathrooms are small. But when I opened my bedroom door, all I could see were the steps, and overlaid on top was the portal to a cold, dark hell. In the shadows I knew my mother and father were waiting for me. Even though obviously they couldn’t be there.

I shut the bedroom door and pushed a chair against it, back to the door. And then a laundry basket full of clothes I had forgotten to fold and put away. And my laptop bag. I didn’t add anything else because it was either too heavy to move or too light to make a difference.

I opened the window blind as an easy way to see the present outside, but there was nothing but pitch blackness out there. So that didn’t work at all. And I closed the blinds.

I spent the next few hours online, and surrounded by cows and everything that really, really mattered to me dragged onto the bed. At some points I had all six cows in contact with me, and oh my gods. If the bedroom door led to hell, the laptop led to a world where there were real people who were never part of the sickness that was my parents’ insanity. It wasn’t physical, but it helped so much. ((This is why I get upset at people who say the Internet isn’t good for anything. It’s good for keeping my sanity when I can’t leave the bedroom, you bastards.))

Anyways, eventually I fell asleep (I had to) when the dawn came… sort of, full of mist, and the ferry horns were starting to sound on a regular basis. I could see outside anyways, and left the blinds open. I was able to go downstairs briefly and see that there was nothing but my house there, and also grab some gluten-free snacks. ((Envirokidz stuff. I want more of it.))

Then I curled up on the bed under the covers with the two Overherd bruisers behind me, Valencia and Lulu guarding the snax, and Ike and the Overcow in my arms, facing the laptop.

It’s kind of strange, but in the resulting dream, I could hear the little sounds that Adium was making as people logged on and off. And I knew everything was okay. And the dream was… well, a very strange work dream, of the settling kind. There was sunlight in it, too, and when I woke up there was sun streaming in through the window—which is kind of rare for the Pacific Northwest this time of year, and therefore magical and a sort of omen.

And then I stepped (really, really slowly…) through the rest of the day. Though I missed the boat into work, and am working from home again, so… sigh.

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6 thoughts on “Dragon. And not the good kind.

  1. I am thinking that maybe you could use a big, reassuring sign that says, “Your Parents Are Not In Your Life Anymore”, or whatever other wording that sounds meaningful and true to you, so that when you wake up from your awful dreams, you have an instant signpost from your not-triggered self.

  2. “one nightmare about a gluten-free pie crust recipe that leaped out” ?! That is just wrong. Gluten-free baked goods should not be aggressive. Actually, I have trouble thinking of any baked goods as aggressive, but gluten-free in particular is supposed to be benign.

  3. Trinker,

    That’s been an idea sort-of proposed by my bartender in the past. I don’t know if it would work; my nightmares have been known to swallow all goodness and turn it to evil, except for the cows.

    Wogglebug,

    With some of the rising I’ve seen over the weekend, benign is the last word I’d use to describe it. ^.^

    Cori,

    I hadn’t realized there was a sentient potato salad anywhere in fiction. O.O Although in Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany series, there is a talking, fierce blue cannibalistic blue cheese (it eats other dairy products).

  4. Arachne – Oh, how I understand all-too-well what happens when your coping mechanisms become muddled with the triggers, so that everything is a new mess to deal with, on top of the old mess that one had finally thought one had a handle on. Yuck.

    I am glad that your cows are on guard for you.

  5. Trinker,

    Indeed, sometimes I think brains are very stupid. But they’re built to make associations like crazy, so….

    Everyone should have an Overherd (or Overpride, Overflock, Overpack, etc) of their very own. ^.^ It somehow helps to have a totem animal, and somehow that gives them a very strong symbolic power.

    Moo.

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