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The Astral and PTSD

24 Jun

I am pretty sure by this point, almost everyone has heard about the new movie Jurassic World. I’ve heard almost everyone I know (that is under the age of 55) talk about it in some capacity, and it’s even made its way into our Kemetic Fandom over on Tumblr. It’s so popular that it’s even made it into my workplace. I distinctly remember listening to my coworker talk about this movie last week, and referring to it as nothing more than, “A movie about dinosaurs eating people.”

You’re probably looking at the title of this post and wondering what the hell Jurassic World has to do with the astral or PTSD. And truth be told, that’s kind of the point. On the surface, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with PTSD or the astral. It’s “just a movie about dinosaurs eating people,” after all.

But that is the beauty of PTSD, triggers, and sketchy brain functioning. Sometimes the most tenuous of topics can set you off. Even movies that are about dinosaurs eating people.

Over the years I’ve tried to warn people about the dangers of jumping head first into the astral. I’ve tried to illustrate that the astral fucks with your brain a little bit, and that even those who have the best lives ever Over There can end up with a few mental quirks. And so you should be careful before you sign your life away to the astral bank because you never know what kind of mixed bag you’re going to be handed on arrival. You never know if the astral bank is going to charge you a 5 cent monthly fee or a $5,000 monthly fee, so you better make sure your pockets are deep enough to handle whatever comes your way.

I’ve talked about these “fees” and things like PTSD in abstract terms and hints and concepts, but I’ve never really laid it out in specifics before. I’ve never really sat down and talked to all of you about any one particular instance where my brain short circuited and I was left in a ball on the ground (it has happened a few times).

Today we’re going to talk about an incident more in-depth. If you don’t think you can handle discussion of a dinosaur movie causing a PTSD flare up, then you may want to skip this post. For the sake of those who haven’t seen the movie yet, I will be doing my best to ensure nothing overly specific is mentioned, so that nothing is spoiled. Please proceed beyond this paragraph at your own discretion.

The truth of the matter is, I wasn’t overly interested in seeing this movie. Dinosaurs are really not my jam, and I expected to spend two hours staring off at the wall out of boredom, not staring at the wall because looking at the movie screen was just too painful for me. I can’t even begin to express my own surprise and disgust that I felt towards myself when I realized that my mind was running itself through the ringer, and bringing up all of these images and sounds and feelings that had absolutely nothing to do with dinosaurs, especially given my sentiments about the movie on arrival.

The thing I’ve learned about having weird trigger moments over the years is that there is rarely one single thing that sets them off for me. There are times when I have been set off and I couldn’t tell you what exactly about the situation made my brain make a connection that caused me to be curled up on the floor. There seem to be some people who know exactly what their triggers are, but I don’t really seem to be one of those people (with only a few exceptions). There are times when I can see something and be okay, and then other times it sets me off; and who knows exactly why it happened as it did. All I know is that it caused something to snap inside of my head.

Jurassic World was no exception for me. I can’t tell if it was my connection to a species that had been wiped out, and was then brought back to life simply to be exploited and studied by foreign captors. I can’t tell if it was simply seeing dead or dying things that did it for me. Perhaps it was the volume of dead things that bothered me. Or maybe it was more about sound and ambiance, and maybe they used the right mixture of gun shots that made my brain snap. Maybe it was all of these things. Maybe it was something else entirely.

It can be frustrating not to know what exactly it is that caused my brain to slowly fracture and break into pieces, as I have no clue what to avoid in the future so that I don’t set myself off again. Do I need to start avoiding dinosaurs all together? What is it about this movie’s portrayal of violence that was so different than all of the other action movies I have seen? Do I need to be avoiding this director or soundtrack composer instead? What exactly caused this?

Not knowing what exactly caused this to happen made me feel even worse as I closed my eyes and watched the gunfire through my eyelids, because all I could then hear in the back of my head was my coworker chiding this movie for being nothing more than “dinosaurs eating people.” Nobody else in the theater was having problems. No one else was crying because dinosaurs. (I used dinosaurs because I didn’t really know what was causing this reaction). And all I could think to do is waffle between “This is all I see Over There” (‘this’ referring to violence and death) and “How the hell can you be so stupid to get upset over dinosaurs?!”.

Going through such an episode was a very surreal experience. In a way, my brain felt like a cacophony of thoughts and senses. On one hand, I was caught in the past, inside of memories of standing amongst a sea of dead people. Feeling blood dripping down my hands and the dirt under my finger nails. The drag of dirty hands across sweaty and dirty hair as I tried to calm the person dieing on the ground. I was caught in the smell of death and the unnerving silence that falls after the guns quit shooting. It’s like you’re simultaneously caught in the middle of the past, wallowing in the hell that your brain is putting you through, but at the same time, I could hear the very logical and reasoned parts of myself trying to tell me that this is just a movie, it’s fake, it’s not real. I could hear parts of me trying to calm myself down. And at the same time, I could also hear my very chastising self getting irate over the fact that I was “freaking out over dinosaurs”.

The other thing worth mentioning is that sometimes there were no overwhelming visuals that coincided with my meltdown. Sometimes I would close my eyes and simply see black. But that didn’t stop my body from tensing and tightening up as though I was in the middle of a war zone trying to stay alive. You don’t always need to see something, apparently, to experience it all the same. I think this is particularly worth noting because there are many times when I wake up and don’t consciously remember a single thing I did Over There. But it would seem that even though I am not consciously remembering things, that doesn’t mean my body isn’t still taking notes for me. I’ve brought up the fact that bodies are like libraries and indexes of what we experience throughout our life, and this can include things you don’t remember. Repressed memories and experiences that lay dormant in your brain meats can be brought back to life if the right buttons are pushed. And if I wasn’t punishing myself for getting worked up over dinosaurs, I was punishing myself for getting worked up over memories I can barely even recollect or see.

For those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing something like this, the end result is a complete and utter depletion of your energy. My hands were rather numb. I was shaking and couldn’t find a way to stop. My stomach was so upset that I was on the verge of vomiting (something that rarely happens). I can only imagine what everyone else in the theater thought about the weird chick who “cried over dinosaurs.” And when I was asked about it by the person I had gone to the movie with, the first thing I could bring myself to utter was “You’re going to think I’m incredibly stupid.” (btw, they did not think I was stupid).

The thing is, PTSD doesn’t give a shit about what sets it off. Your brain doesn’t care if it’s dinosaurs, or crabs, or penguins, or eggs. Sometimes it’s a smell or a song. Other times its a facial expression or the way someone’s hair lays that day. It can be literally anything, and it isn’t always consistent. It’s not logical, and that’s the point. When brains break, they lose their ability to be 110% logical. The whole take home message of mental illness is that it is out of your control, and falls outside of the realm of logic.

When you read people warning you about going onto the astral because you never know what will happen to you, we’re warning you because of moments like this. Imagine yourself going to a movie and freaking out to the point that you’re barely able to keep it together until it’s over. Imagine if you’re with friends or family, and can’t explain to them why you’re freaking out, because if they knew that you were caught up in some sort of war zone in another plane of existence, they’d look at you like you needed a padded room and medication. Even if you go by yourself, imagine having to coast past the fact that “yeah, that movie gave me a mental breakdown so I don’t want to talk about it” when someone asks you if you liked the movie. Yeah, you can just brush it off, but it can be challenging to do that when the mere thought of the movie brings all of the memories of your episode back to the forefront of your mind.

The worst part about setting up an account with the astral bank is this: even if you aren’t sure if all of this is real, the astral will prove to be real in very real ways.

Even if I’m just playing around in my head, the breakdown that I had this past weekend was very very real. It can’t be denied. It manifested in such a way that I was physically ill and it left me pretty useless for quite a few hours after it happened.

And what’s worse is that you will spend the entirety of your life being told directly and indirectly that you’re only traveling to garner attention from everyone else. That you’re delusional and making it up, that you need “help” and that you’re just trying to lord this over other people or use it as a power play. You will spend your life wondering if you’ve lost your mind, and plenty of people will gladly jump in to tell you just how not-sane you sound.

And despite that, you will have moments like this that are so real that it’s really hard to believe that you’re making it all up. Of course, you can’t really talk about those moments, because people will really begin to question your sanity because now it’s making you cry in the middle of a movie about fucking dinosaurs.

This is the trade off that Unseen travelers and workers have to deal with. When I tell people to please be careful, this is exactly why. This is what you’re possibly looking at for the rest of your life. You never know what lies on the other side of that door, and once you open it, there is no going back to who you were before. Sometimes you’ll walk through and nothing major happens, and it’s kittens and rainbows and life is great and the astral bank only charges you a .05 fee every month. But you’re also just as likely walking into the middle of hell and everything that you thought you were is going to change into something else completely foreign and the astral bank wants to charge you $5,000 a month, and you have to learn to contend with that.

No one seems to want to associate PTSD with astral, but I’m hear to tell you, you can only see so many people hurt and killed before it takes it’s toll on your mind. We all want to believe that the astral is only “sorta real”, but your brain doesn’t make that distinction even if you consciously try to do so.

For those out there who like to constantly remind everyone that “people who ‘travel’ to the astral are full of themselves and delusional”, I ask that you reconsider your stance, or learn to keep your stance to yourself. Even if the thought of traveling to the Unseen somehow seems too far fetched for you (even though you seemingly think that gods can be real), no one who does this kind of work is dumb enough to not know how crazy it all sounds. You’re not telling us anything we haven’t told ourselves.

For those of you who are considering astral travel as a “thing”, please consider heavily the price that you may have to pay if you are successful. Make sure it’s really worth it to you before you try to open that door.

And for those of you who are in the same boat as me, you have my sympathies and remember to take care of yourself, because I know how challenging this lot can be.

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5 responses to “The Astral and PTSD

  1. cleargreenwater

    June 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    None of this is astral related and for that I’m sorry, but I have so hugely much to say about (mild) PTSD, Jurassic Park, and this movie. I have been stressed and emotionally overwrought since seeing it. I just need to say it somewhere.

    I was one of those kids that loved dinosaurs, and was 11-12 when the original came out, at a very crucial time. I was loosing my connection to dinosaurs and youth and shifting to survival mode. My parents marraige was falling apart, my father had one foot out the door, and his mistress went “Fatal Attraction” on my mother and I, stalking, harrassing, *hunting* us, sending my mother to psych ward for a week, until the divorce was finalized and she “won”. I mean, we were under almost constant survellience, she got my mother’s medical records somehow and started harassing her therapists, it was awful. Jurassic Park became my refuge–the place that dinosaurs lived and I could still think about them–and my family: I’d wanted to be a paleontologist and the character of Dr. Grant became surrogate role model and idolized and the other characters my family. While this was happening though, my mind somehow connected the ever-present looming threat of my (now) stepmother with the Velociraptors in my favorite movie. That has stayed with me for the last 2 decades; up to a month ago, even seeing stills of raptors in the first one would give me a nightmare about being hunted by them.

    I knew going in to this one that velociraptors were triggers. I went in knowing only that Chris Pratt’s character wrangled them, and hoping, just hoping that there would be enough humanizing them, taming them, to settle that one.

    My mind was so much on the raptors, that it was blindsided by…whatever the fuck it is about this movie that’s so goddamn awful and upsetting. The humanity wasn’t there. The reverence for anything other than pop culture film history wasn’t there. There was no focus or respect given to the dinosaurs. The screenwriter hates women. And then they throw so many reminders of the first one in there that the contrast smacks you in the face. It’s like the most dramatic thing on earth but I’ve honestly been going around the last week since I saw it just feeling like…I don’t want to live in this world. It’s so different from my heroes, from pathos, from the life the first one left me feeling like I was inheriting in the mid 90s. I cried in the theater hearing the theme music; I’ve been crying over my old action figures ever since for the wholesale incoherence and waste.

    Maybe it’s just a gigantic midlife crisis. But I am SO HAPPY to hear that someone else has had a deep and VISCERALLY bad reaction to this film. I’m a JP fan. I really want to like it for the nostalgia. There’s something just so friggin triggery about Jurassic World, and I can’t even see/place it.

    And it isn’t just grief over a terrible sequel either, the second and third Jurassic Parks were ridiculously terrible, lol. But….they were ridiculous, they weren’t devastating D:

     
    • von186

      June 27, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      I felt like the movie was a big case of “everyone here is a victim of circumstance”- with the exception of the military people. But the woman is removed from the dinosaurs because of Caplitalism and pressure from work. The scientist was a victim of the same. The “bad” dinosaur was a victim of isolation and greedy humans. All of the other dinos were victims of being locked in cages and stupid humans tinkering. Like everyone was screwed over by everyone else because capitalism is bad, I guess. But that hurt to see, too. Particularly when you watched them send the velociraptors out, and you /knew/ they were going to likely all die. And no one seemed to care.
      I had mixed feelings about their treatment of women in the movie. Some things were nice- such as the climatic point being “ruined” when the HQ guy expected his coworker to love him when he chose to stay behind. That was probably my favorite part of the movie, honestly. But there were so many other elements of the movie that played into sexist tropes, especially the ending. So it felt… lackluster or disingenuous I guess.
      I only watched the first movie once, so it’s hard for me to compare the two. The person that I went with told me that they were vastly different, and that the first movie was still much much better. I guess it was disappointing for him as well, though he wasn’t set off in any particular way like I was. I’m sorry to hear that you had a bad reaction to the movie as well :< I still don't know what it is about this movie that set me off so badly. Buh.

       
  2. Jose

    June 26, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Hello, I’ve been reading your posts and you seem like a decent person. That’s is the reason why i will tell you the following: there are entities from the astral, that live physicallly on earth among us, they are sort of shapeshifters and are able to incarnate and live human lives because of some really old blood lineages that are connected to them. I think (and in this i can be mistaken) some of them have a connection to dinosaurs and life on earth alot of time ago). They utterly adept at deception and this is why even really learned masters have not known about them.
    I know you are connected to this realms so don’t take my word for it if you’re willing to discover this truth go ahead you ahve more resources than me to confirm what i am saying.

    Go in peace,
    if you wish to contact me it would be a pleasure!

     
  3. Senneferet

    July 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I’ve just got back from seeing it and I’m a bit of a mess. It was brutal and I can’t figure out why either. I loved the first three films but I’m not sure I could watch this one again. I tried my hardest not to cry in the cinema but blubbed all the way home. All I could say to my husband was I didn’t like it and why wasn’t he upset too? Strange thing is, I’m not aware of ever going to the astral. Your talk about dead bodies and war strike a nerve for me but those dreams are a different story. I need to go and calm the smurf down or I’ll never sleep tonight!

     
    • von186

      July 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      I wonder if the dreams could have enough of an impact to cause such a reaction? A lot of what I see is also in dream form, and it can be just as unnerving as the stuff I see while awake :< I'm sorry to hear that you had such a violent reaction, too. It really makes me wonder what it is about this movie that has set so many people off.

       

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