Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Been Away Chasing Ghosts and Facing My Past

I don’t have the energy to post something that makes sense right now. I’ve had a lot going on but the stress and discomfort has been worth it. I’m finally contacting my father after three years. I’m still decompressing and processing and my mind is a little numb, but here I go-

I’m terrified as I have not officially mailed the letter and that’s what I’m heading out to do now. However, I feel strangely giddy and I can finally take deep breathes again!!! Holy shit! I remember the exact moment my lungs opened up and took in a significantly larger amount of air. Had I really been holding my breath for that long? My brain has been hyperventilating, I’m sure of it. Wow! I don’t know what to say. I feel so much relief. I feel proud of myself for following through on something for me, and not because someone else told me to. I can’t tell you how many times I heard from those who were aware of my paternal exile to just “call him. He’s your father. He’s not mad at you.” First of all, yes, yes he is mad at me. Now, he’s unfairly mad at me and he’s not taking any responsibility for the state of our relationship. However, these people do not know my father and they really don’t know me. There are a lot of factors involved- no abuse, nothing scandalous, no skeletons in the closet. Well. Except for mine.

I do have skeletons in my closet but not of the shameful, hidden kind. I shared all my secrets and begged for help as a child (and as an adult). You see, my skeletons where the kind that make up nightmares- literally. As some of you have read, I have a peculiar condition that has caused me to regularly experience sleep paralysis and other associated parasomnia experiences that create a lucid nightmare- a conscious but altered state that can wreak havoc on the sanest of minds. A little dramatic, I know, but please hear me out. Imagine having to navigate two realities in which the senses do not differentiate between real and dream, even when one realizes it’s a dream.

It’s hard to explain but if you can understand that the brain is what tells us what we are feeling, ultimately. Because senses can be shut off and do so naturally. For example, when most people fall into a deep sleep, they may not sense someone touching them, hear the dogs barking nearby, smell the neighbor smoking outside, or see the flashing lights that bounce off the walls even though the lights are bright enough to penetrate the eyelid. I think people would be surprised to find out what they’re able to sleep through. I would be surprised to find out that I ever slept through anything at all. The stimuli is strong enough during the waking state, but the brain shuts down to rest, including “detaching” the body and mind during sleep (I rarely experience this detachment or rest during sleep as I cannot sleep through anything).

This is what happens to me-

My brain becomes conscious during REM. This consciousness lies on a spectrum and it’s a dynamic consciousness. I’ll leave it at that for now. When I become conscious during dreaming, the part of the brain that activates the senses becomes part of my awareness. If something appears to be crushing my leg, I will feel as if something is crushing my leg. My intense focus and my awareness will magnify the sensation and I have felt pain that is only imaginable. A good analogy would be when someone sets their hand on a stove eye or iron and for one split second, believes it to be hot; the person will often feel heat and some will even see redness where they thought they were burned. This can happen on all levels- from the very subtle to the alarmingly extreme. Pain is a warning and pain, in and of itself, is not harmful.

Basically, the majority of my REM experiences incorporate distorted messages to my brain, causing me to sense things that are occurring in the dream (this is internal stimuli). Also, external stimuli- noises, smells, vibrations, etc- can be incorporated into the lucid dream state.

What’s the point of all of this? Well, what I’m getting at is that I have spent my entire life dealing with these experiences on my own. No one could understand what I was talking about and it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I started finding information. I’m not complaining. Honestly, I’m glad I’m the way I am (and maybe that’s my sickness). But it alters the course of one’s life and it greatly interferes with relationships. My obsession with finding answers was because I was desperate for help. I was being told I had a psychiatric condition, and I understand why. But they were wrong and the medications interfered with my sleep. Also, I was always “encouraged” to not talk about my dreams or the sleeping experiences. I understand they thought it was an obsession, but they did not listen. That’s ok because I think this is a personal journey and even those who want to help may have led me down the wrong path. I am thankful for this because for whatever reason, the struggle has made my life have deeper meaning. The isolation- both the self-imposed and the times when others chose to ostracize me- it was exactly what I needed. I don’t fault those who pushed me away. Everyone is just trying to find peace and happiness, and most people are faking it.

Once again, I’ve gone on too long, but I don’t care. I’ll probably come back and clean up this post a little, but I see no need to wait to post. I've got to complete my final mission and mail this thing.

For those of you that are interested, I’ve posted the letter to my father on this page. Feel free to comment here about the letter, if you’re so inclined.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quick Post and a Quick Preview

Hi All!!!!

Again, I want to say THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you to all the support, advice, and good vibes you sent my way while I was dealing with my social crisis. I don't think I can fully express in words how much I appreciate the blogging world and all the great people I've met on here so far. I can't wait to meet more.

I will hopefully be posting again later today so I can update you guys all the happenings in Amelia's world. My blogging has been delayed because I sliced my thumb knuckle with a newly sharpened carving knife while doing the dishes. Yes, I should have gotten stitches, especially since 3 days later, it's still splitting open and bleeding a little. The good news is that both the knife and my hand were clean at the time of the accident and the scolding hot water, I'm sure, helped to eliminate germs. So far, no infection and no weird swelling or coloration. It was a clean slice and it should heal but I think I needed stitches. No insurance, no money but I think this should have been my one time of going to the ER just to be on the safe side. I'm concerned about infection and I'm also concerned that the scar may form in a way that limits the range of motion. However, I'll live and I can appreciate a battle wound.

BTW- It's very hard to get along with your day when you're down a functional thumb. I never knew and now I shall treat my thumbs with more respect. Maybe I should name them.

Anyway, I've got to catch up on some cleaning but I can't wait to post pics of my awesome canine boys and share more stories. I also need to catch up on some blogs. Here's a quick preview and a teaser pic of one of my wonderful pooches. Darryl is the youngest of the bunch and the last one we rescued off the streets. He weighs about 80-85 lbs and sleeps between us in our bed.

Cheers and I'll be seeing all of you soon!!!