life-blog My ex part 1
My ex … where to begin? What to say? Why write this? (sigh)
We met, that is my ex and I, in 1991. It was just as I started what I thought was my dream position as a nursing auxiliary; and at the same time finding myself labelled with a disability. That disability being epilepsy.
The diagnosis is in fact, and let me be precise about it, “Temporal lobe epilepsy”. Temporal lobe epilepsy is where there is a burst of “abnormal” and powerful electrical pulses, that are discharged from the temporal lobe region of the brain. The temporal lobe is to be located around the lower left and right halves of the brain, (I am no brain surgeon, or specialist, I simply see and saw scans: x-ray pictures of jelly grey matter and gently nod, while erstwhile and passionate doctor’s; specialist’s in this chosen, specific field, tell me that this is what it is.) and is, by the nature of the brains design, has a connection to the visual cortex, the senses, as well as the dream state; thus controlling both the inner visions and the outside visual world that any individual perceives. As it is the temporal lobe that has a direct connection to our perception of reality. (or the external world, that we as individual’s experience.) I have to admit that it is fair to say that the seizures I have experienced have had an impact upon my perception of reality.
In recent years, they have had an impact upon my mood, my ability to control my food intake, my short term memory and, not only how I visualise myself, but also how I have experienced or interpreted the external world internally. Epileptic sensations, or those that I experience prior to a seizure, include smells, such as oranges, or lavender, the sound of the sea rushing in my ears, hallucinations, such as faces in trees lumps of wood or flowers, even cars houses and food cans. disorientation, giddiness and what I have termed “the jolts”, where I have muscular contractions, that start at about ten to twenty minutes apart, but get closer and closer and closer together, similar to an earthquake, until I fade into a comfortable darkness. Some exterior factors that pertain to an attack are huge bouts of anxiety, deep personal trauma or stress. The rush of adrenalin, caused by the flight of fight response, far too little sleep and over excessive amounts of sprit based alcohol.
Post seizure awakening has some factors too. My hair feels spiked like it is full of static and soft to the touch. Bruises to the face and cheeks are common. I had a black eye once. Also tongue lacerations, where I clamp down and take a chunk out of my tongue. I have also lost control of bodily functions. I also cannot drive. This has had a huge impact upon my confidence, as I have to think about public transport more than other’s; also being able to drive, or even ride a motorbike or even a moped has been a deep wish since my twenties. Perhaps, it has more to do with wanting something that I cannot have. I don’t know about that to be honest
Having given a brief outline of this, it has to be said, debilitating condition; I now feel I ought to give a brief outline of who I was at that time and my early youth.
As a child, I was an unusually imaginative and from as young as I can recall, always preferred the dream state of consciousness, then being here in this tangible world; At school, both primary and secondary this preference towards the invisible led me to being isolated and rejected by a great many of my peers, some who tended to bully me a lot. This had an impact both upon my self-esteem, and my perception of the world around me and led me deeper and deeper into my own private world, where the story or the fantasy novel became evermore relevant against this waking world. This is also made me painfully shy, afraid of people generally and unable to maintain close personal friendship’s. As I grew up I began experimenting with reality in different ways and this experimentation took me through narcotic, use hallucinogenic experimentation, music, and an awful lot of reading, usually science fiction or fantasy, and into Horror novels as well, as the end of these texts, with the negative ending, underpinned my experiences in the world that I visually perceived. It was here between the ages of 16 and 24 that I made some of my closest friendships, both through a motorbike group and into a church that I became a member of. Maybe I am seeing this time in a more romantic way than it was; I just recall it well and as Just as happy as my early childhood, in a small village called Billingshurst in the 70’s. In truth many of those friends only know of a painfully shy child, who was riddled with self-doubt and anxiety. I know I tried to be like them and failed bitterly.
It has to be said here, there is a certain irony in the fact that Epilepsy helped me release myself from some of this pattern of fear and anxiety; and though this introversion is still a part of who am, I am not silent as I used to be. Perhaps recognising it has been half the battle. That aside, I am giving this preface to give insight into the person I was at1991. The person I was in 1996, is little different to who I was then, but not much I have to say. The real changes took place after 96, because it was then that I lost a part of myself that has never returned.
There is not one of us on this planet, who likes to think of ourselves as selfish individuals. We all think that we do without for others, for the common good, without realising, that in truth, we are to some degree, simply being vain and lying to ourselves. This is seen clearly in our relationships, either with our friends, or our close friends, with our intimate lovers, and those whom we are the most intimate of all: our family. For they see us for who we really are. On many levels, as individuals, we tend not to see this as a fact. There are many reasons for it; some reasons are nested deep in our subconscious, some are on the surface. Nevertheless, though we are selfish, we are as a species capable of such kindness. We can and we have put other’s before ourselves, in random acts of kindness with little or no knowledge of what we have done for that person. In English we call this “love”. The ancient Greeks understood love and had five words for its complexities. In English there is only one term, and with that a host of emotions; from the spiritual to the emotional to the physical. The ironic thing about this short word with its complex connection is its etymology. For love is a term that relates back to the old English “lufu” a noun of Germanic origin that relates to the word to “leave” or “lief” and old English adverb for happy, therefore, when you say you love someone, you are stating in old terms that you’re happy that they are leaving.
Love and selflessness and self-sacrifice for another individual, occurs because we want it to. For we choose to put that person before our own needs, our own desires and our own sense of self. The problem with this, as a lifestyle choice, is when it becomes a daily event and when it starts to dwindle because it is not being reciprocated. This is why I say we are inherently selfish, we give love because we want to receive love. At the beginning of any relationship this is fine because the emotion is reciprocated. In some cases, though, what starts off as an almost spiritual experience between two people, can slowly, overtime, devolve into a daily grind. Therefore, it is vital that effort is maintained -from both parties- to keep the unity of that relationship going This is because relationships, whatever the gender, are binary. They involve two people, working together, to protect and sustain each other; moreover, if through that binary relationship, the seeds of that relationship- children- arise; (whether through accident or design) then the binary notion of mutual aid and support, should secure this relationship together. However, if one person in that relationship, ceases to support the other, then decay sets in.
This is made even more complex by the nature of our own personalities. If one person in a relationship has a dominant personality over another and knows that the other person is weaker; then the dominant individual, gender aside, will seek to control through language and or the use of para-language (the language of gestures) the relationship from their perspective; in doing so, they become increasingly dominant and from this position take over the other person. My naivety about this, led me into the arms of a person whom both physically and mentally abused me for four of our six years together. In writing this down, I hope to remove not so much remove the past -after all that is impossible- I simply hope to exorcise this toxic person whom still haunts my dreams and my near waking state. Moreover, I hope to help people see their way out of an abusive relationship, if that person is in one.
To those men and women who are experiencing trauma in a relationship: you are not alone. I hope that this brief life-blog might help you to realise that. I also say this: Talk to someone. Anyone. being true to yourself must come before all other notions; for your health is at stake, both emotionally and if it goes to the next step physically; and there will be impact if you don’t. In this closing address of the first part of this experience, I admit this is written from my perspective; which I know makes the reading weak and one sided. I have to state fully I admit to that. However, I cannot get inside my exe’s head and furthermore, I really wouldn’t want to.
Abuse, whether it is physical or mental, occurs throughout society, on every level of the social spectrum. It occurs against any gender at any time and has, it has to be said, nothing to do with real relationship’s at all. It has to do with power. Power control and domination; therefore, if one person can control and or dominate another, moreover, manipulate another: then that person is abusive. This manipulation, also comes in stages. I found it didn’t happen all at once, it began creeping in like a sickness, a malady that infected both of us.
My ex was grounded in true Northern grit. That is not to say I am detrimental to that. In fact, I was deeply attracted to it. She also had a great black sense of humour and we linked on a lot of issues, political issues especially; so it was a mutual and natural bonding, that should have ended in tears. Not violence. It became violent because I made a decision and stood against her on a position that I felt, at that time I could not achieve. Essentially I was scared to make a change in my life and that fear, led to many argument’s. it was these arguments that were very one sided, and that led to her wanting to dominate and to a greater and greater degree control me, and in many ways, prior to that point, I let her, without actually knowing I had.
It is here that I have to be honest too. Up to that point, I had very few relationships. There were many I loved from afar and had crushes on, but felt too scared to talk to, in case I was rejected, and that fear: - rejection; has held me back from making many decisions in my life. When relationships occurred, the women I ended up with -on the whole- either became bored with me, and said bye or became verbally violent, because I genuinely lacked then -and now as the issue is still there, the fear is still there- the ability to be decisive. This indecision can be considered as weak in the eyes of some, who consider power and domination key to maintaining a long standing relationship. So when I say, I gave up a lot to enter into a long standing relationship with her. (six years is the equivalent of a secondary education) it is true. I gave up meat, because she was a vegetarian, and there was no meat allowed in the house. Tofu became the protein food of choice. For those who like Tofu fine, I simply had a hard time making it taste like anything. Then there was the milk. Not skimmed milk or fat milk. But fat free long life UHT milk. From music to art to beliefs about God, I had to remove them all. Then after a time, there were words that I was not allowed to say, clothes that I had to wear and things that I had to do. So yes, I changed my personality a lot so we could work and live together. I did this because at the time I didn’t know any different; I also believed I “ loved” her.