This piece of art and poetry addresses how it feels to be in a state of depersonalisation or derealisation. I experience both as symptoms of my anxiety disorders (OCD, GAD, CPTSD and AGORAPHOBIA) as well as my borderline personality disorder.
These sensations and feelings of being unreal or not being able to know what is real or not – have been causing me issues since I was a very young child. The worst times were when my voice used to speed up and I would hear myself speaking a million miles per hour, but others around me heard me speaking at a normal speed, or when I felt objects were to large or too small causing me to question all perspective, but by far the most disturbing is when you feel like an illusion, like a left over imprint.
As someone who has a degree in philosophy and who has studied philosophy for over 10 years now, “the theory of mind” was and still is one of my favourite subjects within philosophy. It has simultaneously helped me to accept that none of us truly know what reality is, as well as further perplex me and leave me questioning everything even more.
There is not a lot of understanding when it comes to these disorders, often when people do not understand something or have not felt the things being described – it is easy for them to dismiss. However – why would anyone assume their reality is the same as another? There is evidence that we all experience the world differently without having any kind of mental illness or neurological damage.
How am I to know what you see… and how are you to know what I see…?
When I am touched does it feel the same as when you are touched?
When I eat do I taste the same flavours and interpret the textures the same as you?
Do I see the world as a “glass half empty kind of place or half full”?
Do I think the same thoughts?
The list goes on and on…
It is never as simple as “reality is reality”.
So question these ideas more, never judge another persons reality to be wrong or fake and remember that 1 in 5 people will have a mental illness at some point in their lives and some of us will have it for life.
End the stigma and learn how to better understand others and their reality.
IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE THE CONTACT FORM PROVIDED:
but the line “like moths among the whisperings” made me think of how it feels to live with anxiety disorders whilst among others who don’t. It conjured up this image of anxious people as moths and non-anxious people as butterflies.
The irony is that most of the people who visited the parties in The Great Gatsby were probably butterflies. However even there I am sure a few moths anxiously found there way around , maybe with some dutch courage to aid their cause.
For any further information on my art or poetry lease fill in the form below:
Clouding of consciousness,
adaptive defence kicks in,
my mind is filled with fogginess,
thoughts start to fade into rottenness,
no longer within my own skin.
I left me so I could survive,
muted and distorted,
reality and make-believe collide,
identities become contorted,
memories remain unsorted,
personalities I must contrive.
The world becomes bottomless,
no up or down,
walking through a ghost town,
life is now preparing to shutdown,
parts of me are now autonomous.
There is no sense to be made of this,
autopilot is safer than being discarded,
why would it be better to reminisce,
instead let me be transported,
away from that place still haunted,
throw me into the abyss.
Dissociation has to exist,
without it we would not have been revived,
our pain and abuse dismissed,
leading so many to suicide,
washed away with the tide,
so some of us remain inside.
If you would like to get in touch… please leave a comment here.
With this unseen malady,
the world is set to a different frequency,
faces move past with only apathy,
when they can’t fit you into a box,
intelligent, irrational, focused, erratic…
you seem a paradox.
Knowing people question me,
life feels scrutinised,
under the microscope,
wishing to be disguised,
not made to walk this tightrope.
Being able to be free,
not continuously analysed,
a participant, not an absentee,
hearing my voice,
without having to be patronised,
without having to prove my disabilities,
they love to give you the third degree,
have I not proved my invincibility?
We the stigmatised,
are not your problem to fix,
not here to be tamed and civilised,
neither will I be cured by your crucifix ,
“God only gives us what we can handle”
is this a joke – a chance to poke,
superstition and dogma we must dismantle,
instead with these ideas they provoke.
Everyone is watching me,
no longer left alone to recover,
my life is not something you can disagree,
they want to rip it away – uncover,
these things you can’t see,
no one would want this,
so with this plea,
stop watching me.
If you would like any information or would like to give feedback, please use this contact form:
whipping eyelids open in panic,
heartbeats pound at my chest,
a frame of mind completely manic,
inside is emptiness,
with nausea rising as if volcanic,
anxieties flood and infest,
the compulsions arise,
a lump in my throat,
memories pushed down,
If you would like to know more please contact me via this form…
Since my first awareness of inhabiting this body,
my knowledge was somewhat confused,
feeling detached – sensations running through me,
seemingly rational when your anatomy is used,
with unwanted attention and unwanted affection,
with bruises and cuts – now an absentee,
apparently this carcass is a gift,
it feels removed – adrift,
but this body survived.
Poetry and Art By Charlotte Farhan
For more information fill out this form and get in contact…
This piece of art is a visual representation of what it is like to live and suffer with complex post traumatic stress disorder.
Since childhood I have been repeatedly subjected to trauma, which went on into my adolescent years and then further into my adult years. As an toddler I was sexually abused by a family member, my Father suffered from alcohol induced psychosis and begun to act threatening and was a risk to myself and my Mother.
My Mother psychologically manipulated me from then until present day – through gaslighting, with emotional and narcissistic abuse. Abandoned on numerous occasions by both parents, with my Father abandoning me completely by early puberty, and my Mother leaving me to fend for myself whist she was in hospital, at the age of 12 (with only an 18 year old lodger to look in on me, who was not well themselves).
Then at 15 I experienced a violent rape by a boy in my school, causing me to have internal surgery and being put into a psychiatric hospital, where I was sexually assaulted a further 2 times by male inpatients. Abandoned once more by my Mother – whist in hospital experiencing one of the worst ordeals of my life. After leaving hospital the abuse from my mother continued, until leaving home at 17, from 17 until 26 drugs took over my life and whether illegal or prescribed a haze of denial took hold and saw reckless or complete social isolation as the two extremes I swung between.
Then at 26, upon seeing my rapist face to face I suffered a breakdown and have not fully regained control of my life since. With chronic illnesses and disabilities setting in from 28 onward, further isolation has occurred. The emotional captivity my Mother had me in was finally broken by myself last year (2015) when she asked to “have a break” as my dependency on her for help with my illnesses was too much for her, this – coming from a woman who used me as a care giver rather than raising me as a child, (as she suffers from co-morbid bipolar and BPD).
All the while stigmatised, marginalised and disenfranchised by teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, employers and the higher education system, pushing me further down with no civil rights or options. This is how I developed C-PTSD. This is a short description – an outline of events, rather than the detail of all the encompassing experiences which led to this disorder.
Here is some information on C-PTSD:
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), also known as complex trauma, is a proposed diagnostic term for a set of symptoms resulting from prolonged stress of a social and/or interpersonal nature, especially in the context of interpersonal dependence. Subjects displaying traits associated with C-PTSD include victims of chronic maltreatment by caregivers, as well as hostages, prisoners of war, concentration camp survivors, and survivors of some religious cults.
Situations causing the kind of traumatic stress that can lead to C-PTSD-like symptoms include captivity or entrapment (a situation lacking a viable escape route for the victim), as well as psychological manipulation (gaslighting and/or false accusations), which can result in a prolonged sense of helplessness and deformation of one’s identity and sense of self. C-PTSD is distinct from, but similar to, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatization disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
Repeated traumatization during childhood leads to symptoms that differ from those described for PTSD. Here are symptoms and behavioural characteristics in seven domains:
Attachment – “problems with relationship boundaries, lack of trust, social isolation, difficulty perceiving and responding to other’s emotional states, and lack of empathy” Biology – “sensory-motor developmental dysfunction, sensory-integration difficulties, somatization, and increased medical problems” Affect or emotional regulation – “poor affect regulation, difficulty identifying and expressing emotions and internal states, and difficulties communicating needs, wants, and wishes” Dissociation – “amnesia, depersonalization, discrete states of consciousness with discrete memories, affect, and functioning, and impaired memory for state-based events” Behavioural control – “problems with impulse control, aggression, pathological self-soothing, and sleep problems” Cognition – “difficulty regulating attention, problems with a variety of “executive functions” such as planning, judgement, initiation, use of materials, and self-monitoring, difficulty processing new information, difficulty focusing and completing tasks, poor object constancy, problems with “cause-effect” thinking, and language developmental problems such as a gap between receptive and expressive communication abilities.” Self-concept – “fragmented and disconnected autobiographical narrative, disturbed body image, low self-esteem, excessive shame, and negative internal working models of self”.
Seeking increased attachment to people, especially to care-givers who inflict pain, confuses love and pain and increases the likelihood of a captivity like that of betrayal bonding, (similar to Stockholm syndrome) and of disempowerment and lack of control. If the situation is perceived as life-threatening then traumatic stress responses will likely arise and C-PTSD more likely diagnosed in a situation of insecure attachment than PTSD.
Cook, A., et. al.,(2005) Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents,Psychiatric Annals, 35:5, pp-398
Lewis Herman, Judith (1992). Trauma and Recovery. Basic Books.
Closing my eyes,
seeing emptiness, however endless,
hearing sounds of days already had,
voices of lonely goodbyes.
In cornfields we escaped,
laying in beautiful memories beneath future possibilities,
Time is only relevant to my existence,
numbers, hands, faces – clocks stop.
Pendulous over my metaphorical cliff.
Blue surrounds me,
mist kisses me as tears precipitates,
waves crashing below.
Dreaming takes forever,
passing hours – drifting.
Life tries to wake me with flickers of light,
clasping tightly at the reigns of this delusion.
The breeze carries a scent with it,
brushing my hair against my face,
familiarity sinks into the pit of my stomach,
I know this place.
This residence has no name,
no directions given, or maps written.
Stepping through a cerebral maze,
with the house getting further away.
This world between states,
of mind and power.
My consciousness hesitates,
not wanting to let me go.
Art and Poetry by Charlotte Farhan
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask by filling in this form: