Although we’re apart, you’re a part of my heart

Long after he left me for good, I’ve spoken with him. I’ve cried on his shoulder, long after I knew that would never happen again. I’ve lain in bed with him in a home he never entered.

These visions became a torment I did not understand. I called them flashbacks. But I was not reliving traumas, not exactly. I was living new traumas, or new versions of old traumas, and I didn’t understand how it could be possible.

I began to fear the space between sleep and wake. A space I didn’t realize not everyone even experienced. Before and after sleep I’d lay my head on his shoulder again and listen to the horrible things he thought of me. As I’d slowly fade into full sleep, I’d absorb his words and feel his chest rising and falling under my cheek.

Sometimes even I wouldn’t realize I was in the space between. I’d have terror-filled visions on my commute home of him getting on the train and casually standing beside me, ignoring me but invading my safety nonetheless.

When I consider my recovery from the gaslighting I experienced at his hands, I think – I know – that these unwelcome visions just furthered the gaslighting for me. The purpose of gaslighting is to convince the victim that they are insane, and I truly believed that, if I hadn’t been insane before I met him, I was absolutely insane after. I believed he had caused me to detach from reality.

Thinking about these times makes me so angry. I think about how, if I had only known that I had narcolepsy, if Ihad only known, I might have been able to make peace with these horrific visions. At least I would have known that he had not succeeded in driving me mad. It would have helped to know that what I was experiencing was not a result of anything he’d done to me, but a result of a neurological condition. Sure, I was probably hallucinating him in particular due to PTSD from the abuse at his hands, but the hallucinations themselves were not caused by his torment.

I fear constantly, though, to this day, that I will be visited by him again. I still see him, on occasion. I still fall asleep sometimes convinced I am wrapped in his arms. Sometimes I myself can’t tell the difference between a flashback and a hallucination, because sometimes I can’t remember if something had happened before or not. Narcolepsy has blurred the lines of reality in my post-traumatic stress disorder, and that is a terrifying fact to behold.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have a life where I know I’ll never see him again, even in my dreams. On a level I am resigned to it, and on another level, I am angry, incredibly angry, and afraid. I feel helpless against the half-sleeping dreams that plague me, and I do not know if I will ever be free.

Mara Passio
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Smiles await you when you rise

This is a response to: http://www.lifenews.com/2015/11/12/why-disabled-people-like-me-fear-assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia/

I’ve always been a staunch activist for assisted suicide. I believed aggressively that assisted suicide should be available to pretty much anyone who is of sound mind to choose it.

This article made me question some of those things.

I wondered, for example, if my grandmother, who I think would have chosen assisted suicide, would have been “of sound mind” by the time she got to the point that she desired that option.

I wonder if I could ever choose that option and be of sound mind.

I remember when I was 16 and my grandmother was dying, she couldn’t remember who her children or grandchildren were, and she was in excruciating pain. I said to my sister that if I ever got like that I would hope someone would kill me.

I wonder, now, if I had known how my body would feel at age 24, if I would have wanted someone to kill me now. Right now I don’t want to die, despite the pain I’m in on a constant basis. Despite the neurological and psychological difficulties I face on a daily basis. But if I could have requested suicide in advance, would I have, knowing my current situation in advance?

Another question that plagues me, is what would have happened if I was so disabled and I was not in as supportive of a family. Would I be more likely to choose assisted suicide, or worse, be seen as a burden by a less-supportive family or system and coerced into suicide? These are things I never considered when I first made my pro-assisted suicide stance.

I believe, for example, that my grandmother should have been able to make the choice whether or not to receive assisted suicide. However she had Alzheimer’s, and I don’t know if she would have been considered of sound mind, and whether she should have been. I don’t believe my family capable of coercing her into such a thing, but how are medical professionals supposed to determine that?

I wish I knew more about how medical professionals determine whether someone is being coerced into a treatment, as this is a venue in which I feel under-educated. It may very well be that there are not a lot of stop-gaps in place to avoid coercion, but if so, then this is a much wider problem than just assisted suicide. How does one determine if a person is being given or, alternatively, refusing life-saving treatment due to the will of an influential family member? These are issues I have never considered and I grow increasingly worried about as my own health deteriorates and as I become more concerned with disability issues.

Mara Passio

Heavy thoughts tonight and they aren’t of Snow White

This a non-narcolepsy post and is a response to:  http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/11/10/the-righteous-rage-of-margaret-cho/

My philosophy is, “murder the rapist in your mind so you stop killing yourself.” I’ve seen, in my lifetime, that sexual abuse has turned into self-abuse. When I kill the rapist inside of me, I will stop killing myself.

I want to murder my abuser. I want to cleanse myself of him. I’ve never been the kind of person to fantasize about harming another person, and I’ve never gotten to the point where I thought about how I would kill my abuser. If I could wish upon him a heart attack, though, I would in an instant. Without hesitation.

I’ve never viewed it before as him being inside me though. I’ve always viewed it as him being an outside force that is just constantly present around me, suffocating me, like a bag over my head. But when I look at what she writes, I realize he is inside me, because I let him in, over a year ago, and I want him to die because I’d rid myself of his influence.

I recently started thinking about moving to a new city, and I still think it’s a good idea, but part of the reason I wanted to, was to escape him, escape the memories and the fear and the possibility of meeting someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows him. I want to exterminate him from my life because I cannot exterminate him from the planet.

In the video, there’s a group of girls and women who are learning to fight and are chasing down their rapist. I want a team. I want a team of powerful women who’ve survived hells like mine and who can teach me how to survive. I feel like, despite my many traumas, I am still a novice survivor. More victim.

I am killing myself with self-abuse and neglect. I don’t consider myself worth caring for because he didn’t consider me worth caring about. I need to destroy the abuserv that has remained in my head, that I didn’t even realize was there. I need to destroy my abuser turned inward. I need to take my bag off of my own head.

Mara Passio