The Mystery of Scary Me

As I’ve talked about here before, I occasionally have full-fledged flashbacks. During these times I say and do things I don’t remember. I’ll definitely have remembered the trigger, and then after that it’s like a skipping movie until I wake up again.

Of course, not only do I say and do things I don’t remember… they’re sometimes executed very… well with attention to detail, which one wouldn’t normally expect from, you know, someone undergoing a flashback. For instance, I’ve been known to drive safely home and park perfectly in difficult parking spaces after an episode like That One Flashback.

And to be frank, there are a lot of times during the Years of Zorn and Tharn when I’m sure I shouldn’t have been able to react as quickly as I did when my parents were on the cusp of finding me various times. Mentally and emotionally, I was bowed down by memories and the constant paranoia of my parents finding me and killing me, boosted by the times when they nearly did so.

I shouldn’t have been able to do what I did when I spent most of my time tharn. To me, it’s ultimately the mystery of the Years of Zorn and Tharn.

But there might be a theory, at long last. I was discussing this with a couple friends of mine, and the theory runs like this: when I black out, it’s not that I lose consciousness or flip to another personality. I’m still me, and still conscious, but I’ve gone into some kind of hyper-survival mode, where I push down or away or compartmentalize all the pain and trauma, and end up doing strange things that couldn’t be done while under crushing terror.

And this little period of invulnerability, or whatever—I’m thinking in video game terms, I know—finishes when I’ve gotten somewhere safe and fallen asleep.

Then I wake up, and don’t recall anything except for a lot of emotional pain.

This kinda sounds normal for severe PTSD.

I used to ask my bartender, when he suggested that during these rare times… pretty much exactly the above… the pain was just too much for me to consciously bear. And I wondered, what possibly could be that painful? What pain could possibly exist beyond, let’s see, getting strangled by my father, nearly getting knifed by my father, being threatened with a knife close to my face, being threatened with a match next to my face, watching my mother’s head get punched through a wall, watching my father rape my mother, getting death threats from my parents, on and on and on for fucking decades… what could possibly be worse or more painful than any of that?

As it turns out, this is probably what my blackout self has to face. And fuck. Just fuck.

You know, this is turning out into the kind of puzzle where I’m sure I don’t want to find out what the picture is, because there are a hell of a lot of tentacles in all these pieces.

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2 thoughts on “The Mystery of Scary Me

  1. “they’re sometimes executed very… well with attention to detail, which one wouldn’t normally expect from, you know, someone undergoing a flashback. For instance, I’ve been known to drive safely home and park perfectly in difficult parking spaces after an episode like That One Flashback. ”

    About these things that are executed meticulously during a blackout; are they always routine things like parking? Never creative tasks that you’ve never done before? Because I see two possibilities: one is that you’re following routine habits while most of your attention is taken up by [the distress]; the other is that you are concentrating on what you do, but that when your brain resets during sleep, it dumps those memories instead of tranferring them to long-term storage.

  2. There are a lot of possibilities as to how/why these things are happening; I don’t think this is a normal “mind is just ticking over” or a simple full reset going on.

    First of all, some the things I’ve done during a blackout that are routine tend to be executed with a perfection I wouldn’t do at other times. I’m really awful at parking, actually, but somehow I managed to center the car perfectly in the too-tiny car port that eats sideview mirrors, or parallel park—which I actually can’t do at all while I’m conscious.

    Secondly, some of the things I’ve done during a blackout aren’t routine at all—or at least, not to me. Piecing together what happened after a couple escapes seems to point to some genuine creativity happening during this time—just not the kind of happy, benign-and-or-positive creativity one would usually think of.

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