The Gap

“What have they done to you?”, he asked.


“What do you mean – ‘everything’?”, he insisted.

“Everything they shouldn’t have done.”, the other one replied.

“I’m drawing a blank here”, he said.

“As you should”, he replied, wearily.

If I was to write a (semi-fictional) novel about my life and the repercussions it produced, this would be the first paragraph on the first page, I think. It alludes to the (emotional) distance between a person who has had the fortune of incarnating into proper, “normal” circumstances and – me. Or anyone who shares a similar fate. “Fate” – Ok. That sounds like giving in to the victim mentality – which I never have, I dare say. Far from it. I think, I’m safe to say in all modesty that I never failed to rise above the make of my life – time and time again. But – that was never enough. Because people really sense on a gut level, whether or not a person is all like themselves or not. If they’re not, society has a primordial, but very efficient tool: Isolation. And that’s when shit really hits the fan…. I can now attest to this from years and years of either finding myself isolated or isolating myself – as some sort of perverted, not-really-working ‘prevention’ mechanism…

What’s ‘the gap’ then? It is this: How can you possibly get to the place of resonating with people when your entire life’s history reads ‘damage’ from the get-go? When you have experienced situations and things so utterly shocking you down to the core of all that’s human and out of your bootstraps that you can’t even think of a way of relaying it to another person, their willingness to learn it and interest presumed in the first place – none of which are really high en vogue in our societies as it is, b.t.w.? In other words: How can you even draw a roadmap of getting to feel emotions almost anyone else takes for granted and where these emotions are basically all that society revolves around? “Things” like … e.g. falling in love, being happy over little – or not so little – personal accomplishments, the new car, the job, the abode you live in, when… you lack the basic experience of … safely being centered in the here and now in the first place? Confident. Self-assured. Not-questioning-your-damn-self-every-step-of-the-way? “Basic trust”, I think is the technical term for what’s being established in the first weeks or months of a human’s life – and we take it from there with all our aspirations, our dreams, our goals and whatnot. But what if none of those things matter, because a person lacks the very basic experiences anyone takes for granted?

That, I think, is the very nature of “the gap”: “They” never had to be in any of the places I – or anyone with a similar history of C-PTSD – experienced. They – will never understand. Because it takes personal experience with just about any damn matter in order for people to go “I get it.” If they haven’t been there – they won’t understand according to my experience. “We” even have an expression for the nature of this phenomenon of resonance: “I’ve been there, done that.” Well – there you have it! If “they” haven’t been there, let alone “done that” – they won’t get it. Gap. Just like I said.

Is there a way to bridge it? Yes. Acting 24/7. Until you’re caught. Then it’s back to solitary confinement again… Can I get a “hell” from the audience? Thank you. (in all modesty)

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2 thoughts on “The Gap

  1. OMG Wes…YOU knock my socks off! For those of us with PTSD, what you have written is a “tell” of a situation which confounds the life right away from some of the harsher cases, my dead partner for instance. Damaged out of the gate and for 63 years afterwards till he was able to check out of an overwhelming reality.
    Thank you Wes, from one who has been dealt with blow after harsh blow but is spared and for what I ask? For more blows I’d imagine. Rex bishop

    • I had a feeling that this might resonate with you, Rex. From what I hear and read and see in others living with this brutal thing, I’d take it it’s somewhat similar for most of us. Bottomline: Our horizon of perception is always confounded – nice term that you introduced here! – from whenever trauma happened. It’s literally impossible to get to those feelings most people take for the normal modus operandi as many of us have …. actually never been there. But stubborn me, I am still here, dead set on finding out, whether I can get there. 😉 Let’s press on for a while longer, my friend, shall we?

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