I have this eerie recollection of a – telepathic? – conversation: (Me) “I don’t want to do this.” (i.e.: This life on earth). (Some unseen entities) “You don’t have to. You can come back and not do it. But if you do, you won’t ever have to go back. (i.e. reincarnate). This will be the last time you were in the flesh. And you’re going to come back here and won’t ever have to leave again.” (Me) “Alright then. Let’s get it over and done with as quickly as possible, shall we?”.
My mother told me when I was old enough to understand that I “couldn’t wait to get delivered”. Between her going into labor and undersized, underweighed me poppin’ out were only a few hours. When I did, the midwife greeted me with the words “Dear Lord, he’s got a neuropath’s hair.” (that was a reference to what little hair I had stand up on ends on my tiny head). The usual procedure was performed then: Slap on the back to get you screamin’ and fill your lungs with air, cut the umbillical chord, rinse off all the childbirthing gore, dry, clothe and – take away to a different room filled with newborns.
Fast forward by two weeks: I seem to be too weak to “milk that tit”, they give me formula, I keep throwing up and – lose weight. At the meager weight I was born with – some 4.5 pounds -, losing weight means impending death from malnutrition. (if I had to give a time frame for above eerie conversation, I’d place it somewhere there: Anywhere between day 1 and 10.) The pediatrician’s words: “He’s got to go to hospital or he’ll die in your arms.” Full score for medical analysis, zero score for “charms”. So they take me there the coming week. I’ve been living for two weeks by that day. Now I’m going to a totally foreign environment – alone. No “rooming in” at the time, no extended visiting hours upon delivering me there. I’m two weeks old and I’m on my own. (A feeling that has proven to be the underpinning first feeling above any other to this day, after having lived half a century in survival mode).
I don’t have “conscious” memory of that time, whatever the first means. But my body remembers. It remembers the giant needles that went into my spine for reasons of performing a spinal tap – twice on two different days. The academic consensus of the time was that babies this young haven’t developed the neurological “infrastructure” yet to notice pain. Ah! Those genies! It must be for that reason that they also decided shoving a hose down my nose into my stomach to artificially feed – warning! Very graphic content! – me was the appropriate measure to take back in those days. Not once, not twice, not three times. No. For weeks on end. And my body remembers it all. I can’t sleep right, I don’t eat right. The only time I feel safe is when I’m by myself. Out there. In the wilderness, where chances to run into someone are small, next to zero. At all other times – I feel as if I was charged at, attacked, hurt, mutilated. That’s been my feel to life – to this day.
Let’s just say we know better today than to put children somewhere they shouldn’t be this early into their young lives… I still got to keep the questionable reward of having known better for all of my life for reasons of needing to live with the outcomes of this weird “school of thought” back in those days. What was I talking about? I’m talking about complex post-traumatic stress disorder having found ideal “breeding grounds” right there in my early history. (and for other experiences following suit, I take the liberty of regarding myself a “textbook case” of C-PTSD).
And why the hell was I bringing this same old lame story up like a broken record? I keep bringing it up, so that others, who may not be so sure as to what exactly it is they were suffering from, might get a clue. I keep bringing it up for the average of 20+ vets who commit suidice every day for reasons of not getting to settle back into their lives they led prior to their assignments (and for many of those “cases” PTSD being the reason for the first! And yes, I’m aware: There is debate over whether or not this figure is accurate; for the record, let’s just say that number crunching isn’t exactly what we need here, o.k.? Any one fucking suicide based on being deprived of the help these brave men and women need is one fucking too goddamn many! Can we agree on this?!)
That’s the context. On a more personal note: I’ve been living with this thing. For 50+ goddamn years. And yes: “Living” is quite the exaggeration here! I have survived. Some days more comfortably, others not so comfortably. Speaking of which: I don’t know what exactly a “comfort zone” feels like. I’ve had some experiences that were less bad than the ones I describe at the onset of this article. For the most part, I’ve felt like a hunted down animal evading gun fire from all four directions.
But now… there is hope for many of us. Better than hope: MDMA assisted therapy can actually amount to a 100% cure of this debilitating condition. I contacted MAPS a couple of years ago and upon finding that I’m exempt from any specific help here in my country of birth (and after having paid my health insurance premium for all my life and having paid taxes since the age of 14). They put me on a wait list for their Boulder, CO phase III study. However, it seems to be reserved for veterans of war. Hm. I wonder, if I get to convince them that I’ve been living the equivalent of that for 50+ years, thus having survived about half a million soldiers. You think, I might have a shot? Wish me luck.
(Oh, and P.S. and as to “Self Compassion Redefined”: I will find me a “cocktail” to give myself the ultimate break, if all else fails. I really owe this to my child self.)
Update: I’m going to talk to the study’s co-investigator some time tomorrow or on the weekend. This is exciting! Wish me luck!