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My Trauma-Hijacked Brain in Animal Crossing Imagery

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Accessing my brain at all is like when I first started playing Animal Crossing. I watched myself discover trees drop items and began excitedly going up to each one and shaking it, only to discover a wasp’s nest falling out and the wasps swarming around me, giving me no escape.

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I ended up stung and one injury away from complete oblivion, from which I awake in a different spot of my island with no memory of how I arrived there. I go through all of this only to have it happen again and again, at random, because I’m new and naïve and no one has advised me to carry a net and get the jump on the wasps when they appear.

My brain works just like this. In place of my innocent and empty hands is a curious or functional thought. In place of the tree is the expectation for the computing function of my brain to work on command and help me complete my next thought or task. And the wasps are the names, faces, voices, scents and hands of my abusers. The songs one of them introduced to me, or the ones that played on the worst night of my life. The worst part is that no one ever gives me a net, and in the past when I have spent every effort possible to craft one strong enough to protect me, it broke way too soon to be permanently helpful.

I am left with my head spinning, pounding, growing foggy with poisonous fumes and slowly dragging me into a dissociated state. It is like being frozen, but with my eyes wide open. Sometimes I feel nothing. Sometimes I feel everything — mostly things that don’t physically exist in my present but are all too real to me. Often the hell in my head demands self-inflicted pain to pull me out of these repeating loops of past pain.

I still do not have a solution for my trauma-hijacked brain. It often seems impossible to exist in the same world as the ones who destroyed it for me. I fight hell back every day to survive. Some days I don’t make it through without injuries, but so far I have made it through much more than I thought was possible, alive. There are people who tell me that that’s the part that matters, and I am working on believing them.

Originally published: December 18, 2020
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