It's often said that reality is a relative thing. It's not. Reality is as fixed as anything in a quantum-based universe can be. The only relative thing here is that of the interpretation of said reality by individuals. A cow has its version of reality, as does a dog, as does a human. Each has their own priorities and assignment of relevance. Added to this is something else, something going beyond mere instinct and the like: memory. An individual learns what is good and bad, what is tasty and icky. What is pleasurable and what is painful or worse. Each of these learning experiences go on to colour one's interpretation of reality for the rest of that individual's lifespan.
There is often the debate on nature versus nurture: whether one's genes are more important than the way one was raised. It should be obvious that beyond severe neurological issues the impact of these aforementioned memories have to be significantly more important. It determines how a soldier responds and behaves during his or her first real battle. No training can prepare one for the actual experience of knowing that every fraction of a second between now and infinity someone near you or yourself is going to get wounded horribly or die gruesomely. It's the kind of terror which will make many just outright snap. Those who survive and return are no longer the person they used to be.
Many have said and written that war isn't a thing, but that it's something inside minds. Inside the heads of politicians, generals and soldiers. They're right. Same as for other types of (violent) traumatic events. Beyond physical injuries and destruction there is no trace of it. It's something which never existed as such in reality.
Upon returning to a 'normal' life after such a traumatic event, things usually go completely wrong. Former soldiers who act aggressive, even violent towards their own family and friends. Abuse and rape victims who start abusing others or who come to reject any form of physical contact. Their minds have forever been coloured by their experiences. Yet nobody around them can see it. They look at the person and in their uncoloured interpretation they see a healthy, regular person. They can not grasp the terrible reality of what has occurred inside the mind of that person. The resulting lack of understanding then pushes the affected individuals even more towards unhealthy, irregular behaviour.
Did my traumatic events end? Is it over? I'm on the verge of leaving the Netherlands and can go see a German surgeon for the final surgery any time I wish. The hearing against one of the Dutch medical teams which mistreated me for so many years went well. Even if nothing comes out of it they can no longer touch me.
And yet... while the rational side of my mind calmly composes this list, I can feel and hear the rest of my mind ranting and raging against it. It's not over. Not by far. Not inside my head. Not with all these unwanted memories forcing themselves upon me, and colouring my mind in a horrifically dark and bleak way. I'm not sure how to describe what I'm feeling. Some analogies I came up with involve a massive gale, with ripping, cold winds and freezing rain and sleet permeating every millimeter of dry skin. I'm walking through it, every step feeling as lead, draining my energy, my head just feeling numb and any thought of comfort or happiness a cruel joke to worsen my torment. Whenever I'm engaged in some intellectual undertaking is when I have found temporary shelter, where I can at least for a moment forget about the gale outside. Yet I'll have to go back into it eventually. To walk on until all my energy is gone and I die.
The other way to describe it is as an assault of threats. A constant barrage. Every request, every letter, phone call, decision, change... they're all threats. Some are easily dealt with, while others become too painful when trying to deal with it. I'll either get this numbing headache, or when I lose hope this feeling of frustrated surrender, of falling and surrendering to the realization that it's all impossible. This followed by depression, thoughts of suicide and so on. I'll eventually get out of it for a bit, but only until the next time a threat arrives which knocks me down again.
To the average person the world is just a semi-random series of events, objects and people. To someone like me with an interpretation of reality strongly coloured by traumatic events, it's nothing like that. I have to actually, consciously focus to see the world like that. What I normally see is the world as seen through three decades of rejection, bullying, abuse, rape, feeling different, humiliation, homelessness, abandonment, and a complete lack of a self-image. I described this before in a number of blog posts as the leering, angry faces surrounding me and a constant sensation of being threatened. Even at the best of times it's all there, just at the edge of my conscious mind.
At this point I'm between two worlds... one the cruel, inhospitable world of the Netherlands where virtually everything which haunts me happened. The other the world of Germany where so far I have been treated as a human being and where I have collected virtually only positive memories, even if it aren't many yet. And yet I'm so terrified to make the final step; to start living in Germany. I'm so terrified that it'll only just turn out to be another illusion which will shatter the moment it's all over and done with. I'm not sure I can make this step yet, or ever. Yet I will have to, because within two months I'll have no place to stay any more.
Still, I can't do it... not like this.
Part of me is embracing the thought that hopefully this increasing abdominal pain I'm experiencing the last few weeks is going to turn into something fatal. It both terrifies and fascinates me to embrace death. I could not commit suicide that easily, but dying due to medical complications somehow seems like a fitting end of my unhappy, unwanted existence.