Battles in the War to Remember.

To each buried memory
in this ol’ cemetery,
its very own plot.
They could have built
a catacomb!
why the fuck not?

It never struck me until I began reflecting more on the whole incident with the flashback of the chair and the drawing on my wall that it might not have been me burying these memories. I was actively fighting the amnesia. Same thing the August morning, only in that case I watched it fly away from me in retrograde.

This was not me. This was not my doing. This was fucking done to me against my will.

Even during the flashbacks of the incident that must have happened in November or December of 1983, when I was six years old, I knew that they would try and make me forget, which is why I studied the alien Doctor carefully, so I would both remember and be able to draw him one day when I had developed sufficient talent. After the flashback, I noticed one of the many drawings on my wall was the face of the Doctor, though I had drawn the picture some time before I had the flashback.

The Goblin Man, who’s face was missing from the flashback, might have come out through my obsessive-compulsive drawing of the alien face that one evening.

Evidently I made a more aggressive attempt when I lay immobilized on my loft bed staring down at the chair pulled out from my desk and chanting you will remember, you will remember, you will remember over and over to myself. When that flashback came to me, it brought with it all the fear and anger of the moment as well, but though I remembered the chair and chanting “you will remember,” I cannot at all recall what it was that I was trying to remember, only that I felt it deathly important to remember, to overpower the amnesia that was creeping.

There is no way these incidents were acts of repression or dissociation on my own part. I remember constantly trying to fight the amnesia when I was a kid, and that battle was rekindled after the memories started rushing back in.

In February of 1995 I started giving the date, time, and descriptions of when I got memories and of the time and descriptions of real-time incidents on paper. My memory had clearly failed me, or perhaps only my ability to recollect; in either case, I wanted back what was mine. I wanted total recall, and while I was looking for the lost parts I wanted to ensure that I would lose no more in the process. Documenting it all became a very important weapon in the ongoing war to remember.

My first real-time incident since the memories occurred in March of 1995. By the evening of March 14th, I had been on ten milligrams of the antidepressant Nortipiptyline for eleven days and tried to get back into the routine of sleeping again. I had been lying on my back for some reason, which was something I had avoided since childhood, as I had come to associate sleeping supine with having nightmares.

I found myself in the hypnogogic state experiencing the sensation of being lifted up out if my bed to the height of the window that lie just above the headboard, then going horizontally out the window, only to snap out of it and sense my body fully in bed. Then it would start all over again. I knew at the time that this was an illusion and even found that I could control it somewhat. Eventually I grew bored with it and drifted off to sleep.

Some time later, I awoke with my mind acute, apparently in response to sensing a presence in the room, though conveniently I was simultaneously in a state of almost total body paralysis. It moved onto my bed and crawled atop my body, straddling me. I could feel its legs at my sides. It then seemed to put something over my face that made it difficult to breathe and made me feel as if I was trapped in my head, with little to no sense of my body. As I fought to open my eyes I found that I seemed to be in some dark, spacious masque with a porthole before me. Striving to see through the porthole, I got vague images of what I thought was the base of a gigantic tree, and along with that got the general sense that the area was a marsh or swamp.

Suddenly the masque was gone and I was aware of my entire body on the bed again, the creature still atop me. It was pushing its hands on my chest now, apparently in the attempts to suffocate me, and when that seemed to be judged as insufficient the creature then moved its knees on top of my chest to apply more excruciating pressure. Curiously, I have no recollection of how the encounter ended.

Upon awakening the following morning, I found the log I only vaguely remembered making after the experience in the notebook beside my bed — and then some.

At 1:31 AM, I wrote: “I keep having nightmares about being lifted up out of my bed and going through the window, of someone standing over me with an air tank on my face. My eyelids are nailed closed. I also had a dream sensation of being somewhat in this position around 4:00, feeling a presence in the room and falling on the floor.” I then signed out of the log at 1:18.

You cannot log out earlier than you logged in, nor can you have a first experience that takes place some three hours after the second experience. To say that I was in a particularly confused state that evening would be to make a mole hill out of a mountain to be sure, and that wasn’t the half of it.

Not only did I only vaguely recall making the log and only recall the second experience I documented, but I had absolutely no recollection at all of drawing the symbol I found in the notebook nearby the log, nor what it was supposed to mean. It was comprised of a circle with two crescents on the top and bottom in the manner that made it look like a crude drawing of an eye.

I later found this is a classic example of an experience of sleep paralysis, when one awakens before the “REM atonia” induced during dreamtime that ensures we do not act out our dreams shuts off. As a consequence, the unconscious compensates for the distortion or lack of sense data with hallucinatory phenomena that manifests in accordance with available cues from mental set and environmental setting. These cues are predictable, which is likely why the manifestations during sleep paralysis are cross-cultural, referred to variously as “old hag attacks,” being “hag-ridden,” or encountering the incubus or succubus.

It makes sense to me, and it takes only a little serious consideration. We awaken but feel detached from our paralyzed bodies, lingering between first- and second-person consciousness. This act of observing oneself results in the sense, at the other end of this dualistic state, of being observed, hence the sense of fear and the sense of an observing presence.

This guides the hallucinatory phenomena that fills the sensory vacuum, which conjures up just such a mysterious, malicious presence in your room which serves to confirm this sense of a dreadful presence. If you’re a male, you may also be erect in this state, making it likely that the hallucinatory narrative then moves to this vile entity straddling you. It may also lead one to perceive it as female, though in my case the creature gave off a sexless vibe.

Our minds being awake and our bodies being immobilized and locked on autopilot with respect to body functions also makes us utterly incapable of consciously exerting control on our breathing, which despite our efforts remains locked in shallow breathing mode. Our brains interpret this resistance as being suffocated. Mix this with the aforementioned menacing presence, and the next logical step in the hallucinatory storyline has its required cues: it is the mysterious presence in your room that is now proceeding to suffocate you.

The time issue bothered me, though given the interpretation of this experience of REM-atonia-induced hallucinatory phenomena, it’s not difficult to imagine this would also serve as an explanation.

This was the first time I had taken medication, and in my opinion it had only made things worse, for now I was unsure as to whether this was really happening, a product of my utter madness, or bad reactions to an antidepressant.

Now I was calling into question my own memories expressed in a written log I didn’t remember writing regarding an experience I apparently only partially consciously recalled.