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  • Writer's pictureThe Duffer's Diary

Discombobulated by Memory

My brain has terrible timing and a sick sense of humor

Did you know that your brain is an unruly organ, hellbent on mischief? I know mine is. Admittedly my brain is slightly more jittery and twitchy than the average brain thanks to C-PTSD, but as a species, we’re still prone to flights of fancy.

We humans see faces in clouds, we misidentify people, and we confuse our dreams with reality under normal circumstances. I think most of us have woken up convinced that someone close to us has done something terrible at least once, continuing to believe for rather longer than necessary. I recently woke up convinced I’d done another degree.

However, the memory becomes a more devious animal if you’ve experienced trauma. Now it has the ability to jump out at you without warning. Which it frequently does in the form of flashbacks and intrusive thoughts. A fact that a lot of people definitely don’t understand. It’s like someone has run out of a side door and bumped into you, knocking you off your feet.

What my intrusive thoughts feel like

That’s what my intrusive memories feel like. They shamble out into my consciousness like a drunk best man at a wedding, simultaneously ready to sing “My Way” surprisingly well, vomit into the nearest potted plant or knock you flying arse-first into the nearest hedge, with complete disregard for anything else that might be going on. In short, they’re there to disorientate and mess with you.

My memory’s current party trick is replaying a certain flashback to my first marriage. It’s not the gut-wrenching heart-pounding variety, but it is annoying and slightly surreal. It’s also intrusive and on repeat.

Mr Sandman begone

It’s “Mr Sandman” by…well, I *recall* he told me it was The Andrews Sisters, but a little internet research reveals that it was actually The Chordettes who made that song their own. In the context of my life, I’m being haunted by a four-woman close-harmony group with a song from 1954, that name-checks Liberace. Particularly his wavy hair. I’m aware that there is nothing logical about this.

It’s these few lines that drag me momentarily back.

Mr Sandman, bring me a dream Give him a pair of eyes with a “come-hither” gleam Give him a lonely heart like Pagliacci And lots of wavy hair like Liberace

Lyrics from

He sang that line to me in the living room of our old house, and thus, because my brain has zero restraint, comes unbidden on a fairly regular basis. Yet and still, I always experience that slight tension in my upper chest and a nebulous stirring in the front of my brain when it arrives. It’s a less savage version of a flashback, but it still primes my nervous system for trouble, even though the threat is long past.

I also have that little flame of disbelief at the generally held assumption in the 1950s that Liberace was straight.

In other words, little flashbacks do the same job as the big ones, they’re just less showy.

Can someone please tell me how I can evict this nonsense?



This post was originally published on Medium

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