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am i awake? major TW

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am i awake? major TW

Postby slugs » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:07 pm

No idea if this is the right forum to post in, but since things shifted after I experienced a traumatic event then I guess it might be the most appropriate. I'm not sure anything is real. I can't connect with anything... my feelings, other people, my surroundings. It feels less solid than a dream; things look bizarre and fuzzy most of the time. In fact when I dream it's far more vivid and realistic than when I'm apparently awake. I'm almost entirely convinced I'm not actually awake, and I get a multitude of signs telling me that I'm not in the 'real' world and I need to wake up. Like I'm being held against my will in some sort of sedated state, or an induced coma. Or a state of catatonia I receded into in order to escape. I know this sounds ridiculous and I'm capable of rationalising these thoughts as potentially delusional, but nothing looks or sounds or feels real... and I realise the folly of posting this at all if in fact the whole thing is a mental construction as everything in it including this forum would be in my mind. I used to be sharp and witty and coherent and now I struggle to string sentences together. As an artist I used to be inspired and full of life and in touch with this profound creativity that flowed from me effortlessly and now I'm in this insipid mire and everything is without colour.

A few years ago I was gang raped at an outdoor rave by three men and a woman. For reference I'm male. I was 19 at the time. I'd taken speed and was a bit overwhelmed by my emotions and the woman suggested I go on a walk with her which led us away from the bulk of the crowd. After it happened I went and sat in a tent and swinging in and out of a panic attack except I was panicking about having done something wrong, getting really upset for some reason about how I'd done something wrong and I couldn't figure out what I'd done, and whenever I went quiet I could hear people talking about me and taking the piss out of me and saying they should have shoved me off one of the cliffs, so I was convinced they were going to do something to hurt me. I've never felt so confused and embarrassed and scared.

Following that night I couldn't think about anything else for months. Not out of choice, it just kept repeating in my mind, over and over and I'd get intensely frustrated and upset. Everyone from that scene actively shunned me. They were a toxic group of drug users with a strange hierarchy that functioned in a clique, and in some ways I guess it's a blessing that it happened, because it forced me to extract myself from unhealthy people whose lives revolved around using drugs, but I was suffocated for years by this guilt and feeling like I'd somehow prompted the attack. I didn't fight back when it happened. I didn't know what to do. I felt like I should have noticed warnings signs and removed myself from that scene before it happened. The woman once said to me 'if you were older we'd have f*cked you.' We being her and her husband. They were maybe 15/20 years older than me. All four of them were supposed to be my friends. I spent time at their houses. Why at the rave?

And then it's faded into this absence. I'm not really here. I once walked down the canal path and on the floor was spray painted 'wake up'. A few days later it wasn't there. I hear voices at night and experience sleep paralysis and then enter dreams that are so lifelike and vivid and colossal I can't believe that those are meant to be the dream and this strange blank fuzzy non-life is the waking world. I can't feel or care about anything to the point I wonder if it's possible to develop a kind of psuedo sociopathy. I imagine people will suggest therapy. I've been in therapy. CBT. DBT. Dissociative coping strategies. Well, that doesn't turn the colour back on. I just want to wake up.
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Re: am i awake? major TW

Postby salted lipstick » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:09 pm


I'm really sorry to hear that happened to you. That was so wrong of them to do that.

I don't think your reaction sounds too unusual to be honest. It sounds like the circumstances of your rape have triggered the reaction in you a lot. It is normal to feel guilt and anxiety that something you did "caused" what happened. They were responsible for their behaviour, not you. But unfortunately our minds will search for reasons, trying to make sense of what happened, when it's actually impossible to make sense of what happened because you can't know the mind of someone who was prepared to make decisions to abuse you- that just doesn't make sense and isn't right of them.

It sounds a lot like you are really struggling with the dissociative aspect of your symptoms. It sounds fairly overwhelming in that flat, colourless kind of way. Personally, as someone with severe dissociation, I have found psychoanalysis more helpful than past therapies I've done. Psychotherapy was also helpful to me but I found CBT was a complete waste of time because I felt so disconnected from my thoughts. I get that you just want to be magically able to wake up from the problem but I also think that you seem realistic enough to know that wishes don't magically come true. Perhaps instead put your effort into thinking what you can personally do differently to approach your problem or into thinking why you don't want to approach your problem differently (if you don't wish to do something different that might lead to the resolution of your trauma)...
In a way, I am not defined by my dissociation. In a way, I am.

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