For context, before all this stuff happened I’d had my hallucinations my whole life, ‘seeing things’, or ‘visual hallucinations’ can be anything from light spots in your vision or things appearing much larger or smaller than they actually are to stuff that just isn’t there, in my case it’s the latter; either way, the brain is crazy sometimes. They can be caused by anything from a mental illness to problems with your nervous system, I’ve been told it could be something called “Todd’s Syndrome” but of course when it comes to the brain, it’s very complicated and difficult to figure out. My symptoms began before puberty, they manifest as auditory (noises) and visual, and reflect what my subconscious expects to see, I suppose. They happen when my body is under stress, most commonly when I’m extremely stressed, hot, tired or similar ‘information overload’ type situations, and preceding this story I’d been in a happy relationship for two years which over the last six months soured real fast, and since I was living with her it wasn’t an option to escape the real nastiness except to go to a bar.
Long story short I left her and left the place we lived, and a few months later met an old high school sweetheart, and we hit it off great, and started seeing each other. The first time we went to bed however, she said something that immediately put my ex in mind and naturally flashbacks occurred and I recoiled pretty fast, a panic attack started to happen and she crowded me a bit, which stressed me out more. I started hallucinating and immediately lashed out, throwing everything nearby at what I saw as a distinct awareness of something insidious in the corner of the room. Eventually I calmed down and chilled out and we slept, and naturally halfway through the night she woke to me standing over her (starkers, poor girl) ‘growling’ at the same corner of the room, and she calmed me down again. Obviously that relationship died fast, as did the one after it, and as the flashbacks lessened it began to be the intimacy that started causing the panic attacks and hallucinations, which was alarming. This continued for a while and cost me several potentially lovely encounters until eventually I just gave up and swore off sex.
I told my friends and they obviously began by taking the mick, but later began to help out. They’d notice the signs that I was about to hallucinate or get aggressive toward the hallucinations and take me to one side and calm me down, which was a godsend. As I’ve grown stronger as a person with their help I’ve gradually chilled out a lot and now when I hallucinate I recognise and can control myself, which is obviously amazing for me, and as time went on my issues with my ex and intimacy died as a new, more confident self emerged.
Now I’m happier than I ever have been, I’ve gained more self-discipline; my hallucinations have lessened to be momentary worries on a night out, or humorous incidents where a road will seem to stretch to the horizon or a rock will seem alarmingly close, but all of this I can deal with. I’m not at a point where I’m ready for someone new, but it’s pretty great that my brain will allow me to pick someone if I want to.
The point I wanted to make when I chose this story is that I got hurt really bad, and that made an already weak point in me into a fracture in my life, something that seemed at times not worth living with. But with the help of my friends and the time taken to improve myself and get to know who I was when not constantly threatened or scrutinised has now left me a better person, more understanding and happier and honestly although it was painful I feel better for it happening. Go team.