Here is your book. I wrote it with those of us who are dissected and explained by a medical community and media who have never experienced our reality. This is the real deal, not an outside observation. It might not describe your experience precisely (or at all), but it’s far better than the DSM.
I trace it all back to that spiral in your ear. Although straight lines get most of the press, spirals are everywhere. The conch shell on the beach, starting from a tiny point and wending its way around and around. Rose petals have the same spiral form, from the tight close petals in circles outward. Pinecones. Spiral galaxies, hurricanes, sunflower seed heads, and the cochlea of the ear all have the same spiral. There is a single, simple mathematical pattern to the spiraling, first explained to the west in the 13th century by Fibonacci.
What if time also followed this spiral, rather than the straight line we tend to imagine? Instead of events being far back on the line, they were just a few spirals back? People with tight spirals, close together, can hear the echoes from the spirals from long ago better than people with wide reaching spirals. Maybe in PTSD the spirals get laid down close together and resonate through the whole conch shell. For me, sometimes events all reverberate in my head at the same time.
Memory itself has some different quality when you’re not mentally average. The encoding of events on the spiral can sometimes be more crisp, more long-lasting. Most of us have had some traumatic event: Consider how you can remember so many details, like the way the furniture was laid out or a smell in the room. That memory is etched deeply in your spiral. But for many who are not mentally average, that quality of memory happens much more often, and the memories are painful ones that never fade with time. The hordes of memories reverberate, sometimes all together, through the halls of the spiral.
The memories coalesce into an internal dialog, almost like a Greek chorus from the ancient plays. Failures, criticisms and old hurts jab in your mind as events unfold in real life, pointing out where you’re inadequate and what’s to be feared. Life becomes, sad, anxious, hysterical as emotions join in.
The spiral, the memory, and the internal dialog combine, in the right conditions, to make life in your head unbearable. Past events might contribute, but don’t determine whether one will be driven mad. One part of this trinity is overbearing, and then another. At some point for me the spiral flew out of control with memories out of control, and my internal dialog became a demon. How I survived, I will never know. Here is the course of my journey.