Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about hallucinations or visions - the harmful side, which sadly can turn lethal.
This is the side that is usually more known and also quite often seen in the media, often accompanied with the question: How could this happen? Well we will talk about that in this episode.
This has to be the most heartbreaking outcome and one of the paths this illness of a nightmare can kill you. The outcome usually is devastating for those involved.
But this is avoidable and if it did already happen, I want to explain how it could come so far or at least try as best as I can.
This is one of the escalations that we talked about. Often people suffering from PTSD can find themselves just a few seconds away from death. But we take it one step at a time.
First we are going to talk about the escalation of PTSD, loosing grip on reality , then the lost grip of reality and hopefully some words of comfort.
Escalation of PTSD
I think everyone was in a situation where the situation escalated. Be it as a bystander or participant. The situation escalated if at least 2 participants keep adding at least one up what the other did.
The cold war would be a nice example. Usually it is more than just 1 and those involved rapidly increase the stakes… until it finally collapses… on a person or more.
The escalation of symptoms for PTSD works in a similar way. Usually you experience the symptoms in waves. Up and down. The more unbalanced you are, the higher the ups the lower the lows.
The more balanced you are, the more smooth the waves are, until they are even barely noticeable. Now similar to a trend chart, the waves have an up or down movement.
Now imagine there being several horizontal lines, which stand for a new level of the symptoms you are experiencing. Now the waves might go over that line and you experience for a short time worse symptoms.
Healing isn’t a straight line, so even the overall healing line has its up and downs. But if PTSD is not kept in check your trend will tend to go towards worse and worse symptoms.
Now specific events and things might kick the healing line in one direction or another… which means you might suddenly go from mild symptoms to extreme symptoms.
That is the reason why the importance of stabilizing can’t be overstated. Please do all you can to stabilize yourself as much as possible.
Loosing grip on reality
Now that we have established what the escalation looks like overall, lets us go into the vision specific version. This escalation leads to an increased loosened grip of reality.
We talked in the last episode about how confusing, frightening and unsettling the appearance of hallucinations is, but in that stage they were just a part of the bigger picture.
The next step of escalation is the increase in size and your time being lost in it. Keyword is lost. You might snap back to reality or just be confused for a bit. VERY strong warning signs.
Those phases will take longer and occur more often. This will lead to an increased confusion of the brain - as it now gets mixed reports when and where it is. Yes, the brain is basically confusing itself.
We all were in a position where we were lost in time and/or space, but a short look on the clock or asking where you are, usually helps resolve those feelings of confusion. That is now less and less the case.
The brain sees not one watch, but several… and which one is the correct one? The one it sees now? The one 5 minute ago? The one in the air? The one the stranger is having? Which is it?
The more often those information prove to be false, the more the brain is reluctant to trust that sort of information. Which means it is getting more and more confused, without getting any correcting information.
When is it? Where is it? Now if that isn’t bad enough, now add the nightmares and other horrific visions to the mix and the whole situation is just … a living nightmare.
And the more and the longer it goes on, the dreams and reality become more and more mixed together. Until one day, the brain lost grip on what is real and what is not.
Lost grip on reality
Now we are in the final stage, the brain now no longer knows where and when it is and if what he sees is real or not. Like said in the last episode - something is real when you brain believes it is real.
That is how placebo works and so many other things. You WILL suddenly feel the sun on your skin or a howling wind. And the threat of the monstrosity that your brain came up with.
Now for most civilians that means we get a person screaming at nothing, hides in a corner, while hopefully professionals help that person to find its way back to reality.
That is often not the case for soldiers or people with soldier mentality, who rather fight the enemy instead just to be taken. As far as I know there are no numbers, how many reached this stage and reacted how.
The fighter will try to fight the visions he sees or will be transported into another location. Where he was stationed maybe. Or worse things he might see or be. Imagination has no bounds.
Since now the brain doesn’t know anymore when or where it is…. It will interpret impulses like what it sees, smells and hears differently. Like a door opens? Are you outside? Inside? Close by?
Everything is now up for interpretation… everything is lost in time and space. Now it takes the time just one serious trigger or several smaller ones, to convince it, that it is in a state of live and death danger.
The brain knows that something is wrong and desperately tried to erase the cause of this… but it lost the control of the situation and what is going on. Still the brain will try to survive. It knows it is close to dieing.
Now everyone will be seen as a threat or at least potential… now if you are surrounded by several you can take many paths, be it planning to take as many as you can with you or just fighting your way through them.
Either way, in the reality this ends up being fatal. In the end most of the time for the person itself. Maybe even after he woke up from the nightmare, to find himself in another one.
This is an unnecessary tragedy that can be avoided, which just makes it worse. I hope anyone who suffered through this now has their peace - no one deserves this.
Words of comfort
I wanted to have the final chapter of this be about some words of comfort. I know that many fear the outcome above and/or have suffered through it. It’s like an abyss that is in the back of our minds.
First off, that is not your inevitable fate. That is a situation completely out of control. Stabilize yourself as much as you can and have as much routine as you can. That will at least keep your symptoms stable.
And secondly, it is not your fault. We can control only so much, but we are only humans. Some things are not in our control. My heart goes out to anyone who lost anyone though this.
Thirdly, you are not weak. PTSD is like walking in a storm… with the occasionally item hitting you… you prove incredible strength just by keeping on walking. It is hard to do anything under those conditions.
I am in the firm believe that everyone can escape this storm, if they know where they are heading and stop walking in circles. Once you know where you are heading, you can even brave a worse storm than that.
It is completely normal that you have trouble in the storm, if you are confused, disorientated, hurt and just lost. How can you get anywhere under these circumstances? That is why a direction is so important.
And lastly I want to add a positive affect of visions, that I haven’t mentioned in the last episode - how visions help us to find closure - which is so important.
Visions are that we see what the brain wants us to see… and sometimes we miss a person so dearly, that we seem him or her. This is an attempt of our brain to comfort us.
This way we might be able to say our goodbye and find closure with the death of someone, we didn’t had the chance to. Visions can help us find peace.
So if you see a vision of someone you know is dead, don’t be afraid, just think about what you might have wanted to say to or do with that person - and find peace and closure.
I still can’t regularly go grocery shopping and I have to admit I grew rather fond of the one who delivers them and the lady, who I tell my order on the phone. Yes, the phone. This is Germany for you.
Many places do have ordering via the Internet, but the area I live in apparently didn’t get that memo. Either way - ordering via phone has it’s weaknesses.
Recently I ordered yogurt, 3,5% … but I got 3 yogurts… a 3,5% but, a bit too much. I accepted it, because I didn’t wanted to punish those 2 for a misunderstanding. Trying to find dishes now with yogurt.
There have been a few instances like this, but I do feel like those little things are just give live its charm. Those very little moments that stick in our memory and become the stories we tell.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you made it trough it alright and that it helped clear the fog. And please - don’t hesitate to ask for help, in any way, shape or form you need it.
If you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at email@example.com.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.