Zombie Mode

I’m exhausted, drained, tired.

To me, PTSD is a walking headache.

You wake up and realize you were just having a nightmare, or you just don’t wake up at all until the nightmares have had their toll on you.

Scenes play out in your head, and you realize these are flashbacks.

“Make it stop,” you say over and over again in your head and as a whisper through your lips. Your eyes have bags beneath them, your body will barely move at your brain’s orders. Your body might as well be frozen in place at this rate until the “episode” fades away. Moving, breathing, eating talking… When PTSD isn’t in play, you’re okay. When PTSD is in play, you struggle with separating what’s really happening and what isn’t happening. You better make sure you keep forcing and pushing those memories from the past to the back of your head before it’s too late.

I’m hungry, but I lost my appetite. I just ate, but I lacked an appetite. I ate because I’m supposed to. No one asked me if I was hungry/going to eat supper tonight. I ate on my own because you’re supposed to, right? Usually, I wouldn’t just eat because I’m supposed to when I lacked an appetite unless someone brought it up. This is a great example of my definition of a behavior I call/refer to as “Zombie Mode”.

Although I don’t think it’s the same as zoning/blacking out – I think it’s more similar to just … you know, doing what you’re supposed to do because you’re expected to do it, and you’re kind of not really there, but you also are. You’re just doing it because it gets it done, but you’re not mentally able to handle that, so your body just ends up doing it for you, and you’re watching yourself from a corner, not able to reach out and help yourself not fumble things or stumble whilst you walk.

Zoning out for me is more like passing out, but being awake the entire time. Instead of actually passing out/being asleep/etc., you’re not even aware of what you’re doing. For all you know, you’re standing in the bathroom brushing your hair and getting ready to leave for work at seven (it’s six right now) in the morning, and the next thing you know you’re out at the old barn in the dark getting feed for the horses, soaking wet whilst you hear the rain pouring down. When you finally get back inside after hoping you’ve put everything back where it was, you notice the time says it’s 10am – four hours have passed, and you have no recollection of what exactly you did in those four hours. You call into work, saying you hurt your ankle whilst outside feeding – in hopes it won’t bite your bum later. This was in early February.

I wish I could get a good night’s sleep. I’m scared that I won’t be able to wake up during my nightmares again.

This usually lasts for about a week. Hopefully it will only last a week. I mean, the first few days of nightmares are over… This is, after all, the next step to this whole thing.

And I hate it. I hate every bit of it.

And a huge part of me wishes that my mom could see exactly what is happening to me. I never asked to go through what I did. She didn’t have to be freaking selfish and not let my dad have me if she wasn’t going to protect me. But hey, according to her, I’m lying about everything. …Yeah, that doesn’t help my problem with disassociating the past from the present and the reality from what’s actually surreal. Besides, lots of people knew what was going on.

  1. I still have a burn mark on my knee from a past experience. It’s small, but I can feel it, and it’s a constant reminder of what lard did to me because I didn’t want to hug him.
  2. I still have things I’ve written from my childhood that prove what happened.
  3. I would never choose to be so miserable.
  4. Why would I have given up my hopes and dreams for this?!
  5. People knew.

So um. That’s Zombie Mode, people. Just figured I should go ahead and clear it up whilst I’ve got it fresh on the feeling.

Sorry, but comments are closed on this post.

Comments on this post

Liv’s gravatar

Okay so, you probably don’t want to read about life comparisons – not that I have any to share. You probably don’t want to see those “I understand” or “hang in there” type of comments from people who never experienced and just want to give fake sympathy. But I couldn’t help myself from reading this and don’t know what I can say that doesn’t seem rude. Yeah, this is probably a useless comment.

But what you wrote is so genuine. I’ve only read similar things in stories, but those are too obviously superficial. I wish more people would read this and realize they really don’t know anything about PTSD. That’s me included.

Anyways, I hope I’m not being mean or anything. I mostly just want to let you know I read this.

Liza’s gravatar

It’s fine. I know I’ve mentioned zombie mode in my previous blogs, so I figured I just might as well set the story straight on what is actually going on with me. I’ve noticed a lot more now that TV and such plays PTSD out a bit too much. Grey’s Anatomy does a pretty good job with it, though. The character on there — Owen — has PTSD. His is a bit more violent than mine, but yeah. It feels like you’re going crazy, too. Other TV shows, many movies and many stories make it out to be this completely different thing. Perhaps if they had made it appear more realistic to what people actually went through (I’ve read peoples’ stories online, and they are much more similar to what I’m going through than what characters in movies go through), then maybe I wouldn’t have felt like I was this crazy person seeing two different scenes (and sometimes even my imagination, the third scene), one from the past and one in the present. Disassociating the past and the present is rather difficult, but it’s even more difficult when the two are so alike. It kind of feels like Deja Vu, but amp it up to the point that you feel like you’re there, but you’re watching yourself from a corner reluctantly.

It just… happens. And you can’t control it.

That’s apparently how our minds work, and I hatehatehatehateHATE it. I still feel like I’m going crazy when it happens, unfortunately.

Liv’s gravatar

On TV, in books, etc, things like these are never portrayed properly because chances are the writer/author doesn’t have personal experience and is making stuff up based on what they’ve read. As someone who is guilty of writing stuff like this in the past, I would know. The personal experience stories online (or maybe in Chicken Soup?) are the ones that are really genuine and interesting to read.

Stephanie’s gravatar

Thanks for posting that! Like Liv, I think that I’ve learned a lot from reading that post. That was far more information than what my psychology textbook covered.