This has been in draft for nearly six months now.
Everytime I try to sit and write about this, I just end up staring at my screen. See, I come from a country where this issue is quite a bit of a taboo. And while I love my family, they do have a dismissive attitude toward it despite the fact that the lot of them are medical practitioners. As it stands, I can imagine 3 different reactions: dismissal of the gravity of the situation, overreaction, or assigning blame (on me specifically).
If my family reads this and thought that I am being unfair, then I apologise to them. But I just could not deal with how they will react (or not react) when they find out that the baby of the family is a veritable cocktail of fucked up-ness. I am not in the right state to manage any extreme reactions that I am sure would come, in the same way that I admit I am much too fragile to deal with dismissal and/or blame. It had been easier for me to discuss this with trusted friends. I am taking another step and start talking about it on my blog.
Nights had been extremely difficult for me.
I spend hours reading or watching videos just to stop myself from sleeping too early. I figured that 4am to 7am is too short a time for nightmares to settle in, but I usually fall asleep earlier than I intended.
I stopped my self-induced insomnia when it was clear that 3 hours is long enough for nightmares to take hold.
Sleep paralysis certainly only takes a few minutes.
By day I was back to normal; I go to work. I read. I write. I go out with friends. Everything is just fine.
Except that I know that it’s there.
Always lurking, always on the lookout for when I’m most vulnerable. So, I didn’t let myself get vulnerable.
But the Bogeyman is crafty. It has ways of making you think that you have everything under control when in reality it is behind everything that you do.
I retreated into myself, preferring my own company to anyone else’s – even those I have known since childhood. I let myself be lured into the world of fiction rather than be fully present in reality. I replaced meaningful in-person conversations with impersonal digital chats. I threw myself into work. I gave alcohol a lot more attention than it warrants. I avoided spending too much time with people I cared about and sought the company of new acquaintances I knew I would never seek a deeper connection with.
I did everything so subtly that no one noticed.
But my relationships went into gradual deterioration and I was simply lucky that my friends are of the low-maintenance sort, else I would have lost them – something I would forever be grateful for especially in the past couple of years.
That went on for quite a while.
Then one day, one of my new friends, after having vented out about a personal issue, thanked me for being the big sister he needed. My reaction? RUN AWAY.
This is a personal attachment, I thought. I don’t need this.
Then one part of my brain asked: why?
Why do I need to stay away? Why, whenever I am faced with even just the potential of getting close to anyone I feel an urgent need to run? Why does the Bogeyman always rear its head up whenever I feel myself getting comfortable with anyone?
I have been percolating on a possible reason. One does not live with the Bogeyman and wonder what it is and why it exists. I just haven’t done anything about it because of two things:
- I was afraid that I was right
- I was angry because if I was right, it means that I was a fraud. That the past 4 years meant nothing and I had been fooling myself into believing that I am many things I am not
But after 4 years of being subtle, the Bogeyman suddenly wanted the spotlight. I did not know what made me do it but when I realised where it’s heading I decided to follow my gut and get help.
A little over a year ago, after a series of evaluations, three doctors confirmed it.
Apparently, the Bogeyman had a name.