[CN: mental illness, trauma, codependence, addiction, fragmented consciousness, DID, ephebophilia]
Alright buckle up, everyone. You ready? This is a long one.
And this one’s going to get ugly.
I don’t know what spell I cast, or what twin flame step this is (I did just put down a deposit on the production for track 10, so I assume more things are moving), because I haven’t left my house for 48 hours and yet I’m having my ass handed to me once again. Honestly I kind of missed it. If I don’t have stuff to process I end up bored (this may present a longterm problem I can’t worry about in the moment).
I have an entirely new appreciation for and understanding of mental illness. Especially my own.
Last night I was looking up glossolalia (because reasons) and I came across a woman on YouTube whose decade-old video of her speaking it had racked up over 50K views on her otherwise barely-watched channel. The video showed her filming from a tent, complaining about the lighting and her phone battery and how she’d just been crying, and she didn’t look well. She mentioned in the video that she’d written more about glossolalia on her blog linked in the description. I wondered if she was still blogging and what she was up to now, so I clicked.
I scanned the first entry. February 12! She had posted literally that very day! I wondered how often she posted, so I started scrolling.
And then I saw another entry for February 12.
A whole first page filled with entries – many of them quite long – all from February 12.
I was looking at the diary of a hyperverbal woman that any “normal” person in society would deem mad.
Her writing is quite cogent, if at times stream-of-consciousness. The subjects she writes about are often mundane, but the gravity and descriptiveness with which she writes gives them weight and importance. She is highly analytical, referencing subjects like NLP and socionics with alarming incisiveness. She writes that she is “a ‘targeted individual,’ someone who experiences electronic harassment, mind control, and alternate personalities.” She lives in Pennsylvania, the state where I grew up (although she seems to be located more rurally), and her work has included various low-income jobs at supermarkets, fast food chains, and delivery driving. She is sometimes houseless, and claims at times to feel better – freer – that way. She claimed that she writes this much because the feeling of typing is soothing to her. She wants to start a religion based on freedom, and to financially incentivize her recruits. She has a name for her religion that came to her through her glossolalia.
Somewhere in my search for her posts on glossolalia I came across her writing about crushes.
Scanning through the dates of the posts, I began to see a narrative emerging. Posts from a decade ago see her calmly narrating the experience of seeking out a teenage boy she has a crush on to find the supermarket he works at while herself fielding a panic attack, even after he’s told her to leave him alone. More recently, she knowingly describes herself as a stalker, and tries to advise an ex on what to do to block her communication since she knows it’s likely she won’t be able to help herself during future manic episodes. She also discusses a crush who says his phone number aloud in front of her twice and how she immediately starts saying random numbers aloud in her brain so that she will not remember the number and be able to call it. She always crushes on people she works with; she never gets feelings for people on dating apps. By her most recent posts, she says she knows that being her crush is a terrible and unlucky burden.
Two separate consciousnesses emerge in her awareness: one which is aware on some level that her crushes aren’t interested in her, that she’s gotten in trouble at work for giving unwanted hugs, that she is alone and her feelings are making her desperate; and a second consciousness which she describes as the voices controlling her, telling her that there’s hope, and that she should reach out and get through to those people, because they’re being kept from her. She gets good enough at calculating her delusions to actually be able to time them and anticipate when each one is going to step in. She narrates her experience with stunning self-awareness, all while she’s still caught in the cycle.
These consciousnesses both existed in her a decade prior, too, but they were more muddled. She doesn’t understand a soft “no.” She takes people at their word when they’re just trying to be polite. She knows something is off, and she knows she’s miserable, but she just keeps going, because it’s all she has. No one has ever really loved her, so how is she supposed to know what it looks like?
I don’t know if it’s clear why I’m writing so much about this right now but if you haven’t figured it out already – I recognized those two fragments within myself.
One of them is the ugliest part of myself I have ever encountered. And I’ve spent nearly my whole life using the other one to tame it into something acceptable.
I hope I don’t have to couch this post with a disclaimer that I’ve never stalked anyone or, to my knowledge, caused anyone harm because of my feelings. (Even now I am fighting it, see?)
But I do know what it’s like not to hear a soft “no,” because you’re focused on the words and behavior of the (usually neurotypical) person who’s just trying to let you down without it getting awkward. When this woman describes stalking her crush at the supermarkets, she tells a story of finding his MySpace profile and writing him there, only to hear back a terse “Leave me alone.” When she finds him and confronts him in person, she asks him if he sent her that message, and he laughs and replies that he doesn’t even use MySpace. She takes this as confirmation that he likes her, and that their relationship is being interfered with. She describes being scolded by HR for hugging a crush, claiming HR is abusing their authority by taking him away from her when he’s “said and done a lot of things that signal to me that he enjoys it.” Immediately I recalled to mind the man I lost my virginity to, at the ripe age of 22 and a half, sighing a month later about how he was just too busy to be anybody’s boyfriend – and how I thought he was really talking about his schedule, a solvable problem in my mind, and how I failed several times to take the hint. Nobody had ever loved me before – how was I supposed to know?
She writes long and detailed entries about the lengths she goes to to find the object of her affection – checking social media profiles, looking up store directories online, going to where she thinks may be his place of employment while having a panic attack. The tone she writes in was horrifically familiar – it was almost exactly like my journal entries in high school, describing whether my crushes had shown up at the weekend’s speech and debate tournaments (the only times I’d likely see them) or whether I was heartbroken because I’d dressed up and won the tournament for nothing.
She describes sweeping mood swings happening when she thinks she hears her crush talking about someone who might be a girlfriend, how it plunges her into a physical depth of despair, and then later on when she realizes she misheard the conversation, how she elevates into a state of ecstasy, feeling intense love and adoration for him, even though she lucidly describes knowing that he might still have a different girlfriend and that she has not gained any actual data just by mishearing a conversation. I recalled this feeling too.
Rather than seek out a person who reciprocates her feelings, she begs her crush to set a strong boundary with her so that she can know what behaviors are and are not permissible. “I needed to know what kind of relationship I could have with him,” she writes, “and I told him it was very important for us to talk openly about this. He never did. ‘They,’ the voices, the murderers, REALLY ARE forcing me to be obsessed with him… This is the reason why I insisted that he please, please tell me a clear, direct answer to my questions, so that I could be strong, and I could fight back against the murderers if they forced me to keep bugging him when he wanted to be left alone. That is the reason why I begged him, several times, *PLEASE* make a strong boundary, TELL me the exact details of what I can and can’t do. Is it okay to touch? How often? How much? Where? Can I talk to you in front of other people? Can I talk to you at work? Can I call you on the phone?”
This need for a strong boundary, to know from the other person what is and is not acceptable behavior, what is okay vs what will lead to their discomfort and our eventual rejection… if you’re thinking about my history in BDSM as a submissive, needing clear guidance and structure so as to avoid displeasure and resultant abandonment, we’re on the same page.
This woman who lives in poverty, hears voices, claims she is being mind-controlled, writes like a madwoman, and obsesses over people who aren’t interested in her – she and I have nearly the same brain, and, to differing degrees, the same fragmented consciousness. I’m just… a lot better at managing mine, because I was lucky to grow up with a certain degree of class privilege, financial stability, and enough social belonging and positive environment at school to foster self-esteem regarding my intellectual worthiness, and for the most part I understand when I’m doing something socially unacceptable, and I have the wherewithal to course-correct. There’s obviously a large difference between stalking someone at their workplace and not hearing a weakass “no” from the man you first had sex with, who didn’t have the stones to either properly dump you or just not touch you in the first place.
But I recognize the wiring. I know it extraordinarily well.
I’d put serious money on her having autism and ADHD-related dopamine deficiency.
Historically, people have wondered why I have doubted my own attractiveness, why I felt the need to overcompensate so strongly, why I turned myself into a caricature of desire in my 20s, why I put so much effort into creating a persona designed to earn love, especially when I have plenty sufficient beauty privilege to get by normally. You’ve probably seen the comments on my posts if you’ve been here long enough: “girls don’t need to be PUAs,” “why are you overthinking everything,” “I don’t know, just find some guy, can’t be that hard right?”
I think it’s very difficult to feel attractive when you have this brain in your head, one that remembers everything, that naturally catalogues all the details it considers important and therefore just has a lot more information on your crushes than is considered normal, even without trying, one that writes too much because it feels good, one that doesn’t inherently understand that anyone who isn’t actively saying yes to you is saying no, because all you’ve heard is no your whole life, and you wouldn’t know how to recognize a yes if you saw one. One that creates a rich fantasy life and tries desperately to make it come true even in the face of massive trauma and systemic oppression, because what else is there?
I went into PUA culture because it was the first time in my life that it was actually socially acceptable to discuss how you were going to plan to give yourself your best possible chances with someone you had feelings for. It was the only place where talking about it strategically was considered a skillset, not a character flaw. It was understood that there was never any guarantee of reciprocity (nobody is obligated to love you just because you did everything right, and even if they do love you it’s not a guarantee that they’re capable of treating you well), but talking about how we were going to take our best shot and let the chips fall was a way of life. I remember as recently as 2014, sitting with Adam Lyons and one of his trainees, discussing the emails I’d written Joss while he was away filming Ultron in the UK, and the contingency plans I had for all his possible responses (or the lack of one). Adam turned to the student he was with, nodding toward me approvingly, and said, “You see how far ahead she thinks?”
Two nights ago – the night before I came across the glossolalia woman’s blog – I had been lying in bed post-meditation and decided to do some internal journeywork around my former submission. What had happened to that piece of consciousness? Where was she? Could I ever get her back? Would I want to? What if I could choose a healthy partner, but that hypothetical partner wanted to attempt power exchange? Would it be safe for her to come out?
I checked my brain and I found her. She exists now as a set of learned behaviors and emotional responses, a set of neural pathways, all of which are now blocked off in my mind with giant ROAD CLOSED signs. I put those up in summer of 2016 and I haven’t been back since – I don’t know how I did it, but I GREW myself a new personality and somehow the person you see today now exists. I wondered if I could get her back somehow – and I heard yes, there is an anchor that I could use that would bring her back if responsibly activated by a partner.
A few facts about her: She doesn’t have a name. She’s only ever named by the person who owns her at the time (there have been two, though at times in between she’s wandered around driving the body, lost and looking, and has projected ownership onto other people). She filters every bit of information she takes in through a singular binary – whether she is being approved or rejected by her person. She is extraordinarily capable of executing tasks under clear guidance, to the point of superhuman ability. She can and will do anything to be pleasing – even tasks where she’s set up to fail, she historically aces. “Needs” register in her body as extraordinarily dangerous. “Boundaries” – for her, anyway – are unthinkable. She is only permitted to do what pleases her person. Needs and boundaries render her burdensome. Her greatest fear is abandonment. If she senses a need coming up in her that runs contrary to her person’s convenience, she will collapse in on herself and dysregulate. She will not be able to express what she needs, because this runs counter to her programming of being pleasing. Once she dysregulates, she spirals, because to dysregulate is to be displeasing, and the knowledge that she’s being displeasing causes further dysregulation, and so forth.
In other words she’s a fcking nightmare. She will do anything you tell her to – spectacularly well – in order to avoid abandonment. There’s no getting rid of her without causing her extraordinary pain. She will internalize any rejection into a failure on her part, and she will dysregulate into infinity.
In my journeywork I learned that I could feel confident enough in myself today to know that I wouldn’t get stuck in her, so to speak, but I also learned that if she was de-anchored without proper care and expectation management (which she would interpret as rejection), I would be coming back into an extremely dysregulated body, and I’d be risking a fragment of me being stuck in eternal agony, Black Mirror-style, just as she was after my breakup in 2015.
In fairness, she was also a victim of mind control – and not the remote, electronic kind described in the blog. My ex (before Joss – the dungeon owner) and I had gotten our NLP certifications around the same time, and I knew he was experimenting on me, because he also admitted to experimenting on others (he openly studied mind control – JK Ellis, Cathy Browne’s Trance Formation in America, etc). In the journeywork, she kept saying how she didn’t do anything wrong, and I can’t argue with her – she did exactly as she was programmed to do, and she suffered immensely in it. So in her defense, being a survivor of daily mind control tactics designed to keep her compliant – and to make her feel that her needs/boundaries are landmines that will trigger her greatest fear – would make anyone unstable. (And here I am writing a terrifyingly longform post about being mind-controlled. I am not unaware of the irony.)
All of a sudden, diagnoses like schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder don’t feel so foreign to me. I don’t believe that I have these conditions, but I no longer see them as binaries, but rather as the result of a continued set of patterns that causes a fragmentation of consciousness. I have more research to do on this but I needed to write this post first so I can make room for it.
Grant Morrison in their 2000 Disinformation keynote said this:
“If you want to change things, the first thing you have to change is yourself. Because if you don’t change yourself, you will take on the world as if it is yourself – and fck up. You will really fck up, because you don’t understand your own dark side. If you don’t understand your own weird, shtty side – if you don’t understand the fact that there’s someone in there who will kill your mother, if need be – if you can’t take that on; if you can’t take that on board and realise that Charles Manson and me and you are not much different; that John Wayne Gacy and me and you are not much different – except that he did it. Y’know, there’s those days when I’m gonna kill that motherfcker over there – but we don’t do it. But it’s in us, and it’s there. And so much of this is denial. That we have no dark side. You know: the hippies, and those lovely people in the rave era who were all on ecstasy – they tried to pretend we have no dark side. And what happened was they got fcked up by their own dark side. As will always happen. So let’s kiss our dark sides; let’s fck our dark sides. Get him down there where he belongs. And he can tell us stuff. Y’know, that thing’s useful.”
Grant also talked about the dissolution of the individual, and while their take on Multiple Personality Disorder may be a little glamorous (and it’s now called DID), they have a solid point about the usefulness of the viewpoint that we are capable of being complex, superplex humans, with multiple facets we can lean in to or away from at will.
I grew myself an entirely new personality, because a fragment of consciousness in me that recognized that there were flaws in the logic of the person I’d been for the last decade somehow managed to come through, take over, and start driving the body. So much so that the person I was back then feels much more like a “her” than a “me.”
In another set of circumstances, this woman with glossolalia might have been able to heal herself too, if she had only been born into more resources or belonging. Given the right information, she might have actually created The Re-Patterning Project. Her longform hyperverbal posts might have built her an audience. Her brain runs on almost nearly the same functions.
And I could have easily been her.
I’m still processing around this but it’s safe to say for now that I am getting to know my own dark side more intimately than I anticipated this weekend. And it’s… not sexy. I’ve done everything I’ve done in my life to avoid this feeling, because it is so, so ugly.
I switched my dopamine source to music and that’s been highly effective (it’s also expensive, and not something I could have done before financial stability). I surround myself with friends who don’t mind that I remember their preferences and their birthdays and the way they take their coffee, who don’t have triggers around receiving, and I check my language and make sure that I’m not unintentionally broadcasting any obligation when I make a gesture. I took my analytical mind and created The Re-Patterning Project. I took my hyperverbosity and wrote a 146K-word book draft in ten weeks. Channeled correctly, this same brain provides my greatest gifts to humanity.
I also fully installed a hands-off practice in my romantic interactions because I am now genuinely curious about what people will do when I am not in any way trying to control anything. And naturally the twin flame paradigm I channeled, with its focus on releasing attachment, is obviously a mathematical solution to the former bad pattern. I may still think and observe at the same rate, and I can’t help but get ahead of myself due to my brain’s capacity for predictive pattern recognition, but I’m genuinely more detached from the outcome, because I have utter trust and belief in the formula.
I don’t know what’s next but I have a feeling that I am coming into an entirely new understanding of mental illness, one that is still supported by the research in The Re-Patterning Project, but which goes even deeper than the current frameworks in the mental health industrial complex presently allow. I don’t know that there’s a neat and tidy ending to this post yet. Frankly I’m still pretty shook.
I do have a new depth of gratitude for the fragment of consciousness that somehow got me here despite it all.
EDITED TO ADD:
HOLY MOTHER OF FCK. I KNOW WHAT SPELL I CAST.
The past two nights I began a 5-night assignment given by my teacher to meditate on the Lunar Feminine, such that the final night of the assignment would land on the full moon. The album I meditated to on their recommendation? PINK FLOYD. THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.
Each night after the meditation I curled up in bed afterwards, and the first night I checked in on the doll formerly known as Tango and the second night I got the urge to look up glossolalia.
I MEDITATED TO DARK SIDE OF THE MOON AND THEN I CALLED IN SHADOW WORK ON MY LUNAR FEMININE. Ok well that explains things.