This painting looks frozen in time apart from an eery wind blowing through the scene. It looks like it’s WE and their inner child, but is WE trying to stop the child from being happy and playing? Are they trying to stop the child from smiling? All the clocks read 6:50. Is this the time when everything stops, including smiling faces? The piano lid is down, the instruments and toys are laid down—is this the time to get ready for bed?
WE and their inner child are inside two penetrable walls, one larger than the other—does that mean that even walls cannot protect you? WE appears to be trying to protect the child by sending out an aura of yellow. Yellow is the colour of spiritual vitality. If yellow is anywhere in your aura, it means you are radiating spiritual energy and harnessing the power of ideas. So what ideas might WE have to stop bedtime? Bedtime did and still does represent a horrific time.
It wasn't WE themselves that created a way out of experiencing bedtime—it was once again their mind. With the diagnosis of Non-REM Parasomnia* and Dissociation disorder*, WE is rarely present at this time. Part of their brain wanders off to another reality, where they do weird and sometimes wonderful things. The brain never reaches REM (rapid eye movement) stage which is what happens when your body is in deep sleep: this is essential not only for rest and repair, but to assimilate everything that has happened during the day.
How did WE come to have these conditions? Out of necessity and in order to cope. Now the threats have long gone, WE’s brain continues the pattern for survival, and never remembers bedtime, nor what happened throughout the night, so you could say WE has enabled time to stand still. This isn’t helpful, however. Wouldn’t it be nice to experience going to sleep? The experience of lying next to a loved one? Being able to wake up rested of a morning instead of dreading what you may find? Perhaps so, but the way WE has survived is by bending reality, and our minds enable us to view circumstances positively or negatively. WE was once ‘the victim’, but not anymore. They give great gratitude for all the skills they have, which has made them to be the resilient being that they are, and most importantly kept them alive.
Dissociative disorders involve problems with memory, identity, emotion, perception, behaviour and sense of self. Dissociative symptoms can potentially disrupt every area of mental functioning.
Examples of dissociative symptoms include the experience of detachment or feeling as if one is outside one’s body, and loss of memory or amnesia. Dissociative disorders are frequently associated with previous experience of trauma.
Dissociation is a disconnection between a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of who he or she is. This is a normal process that everyone has experienced. Examples of mild, common dissociation include daydreaming, highway hypnosis or “getting lost” in a book or movie, all of which involve “losing touch” with awareness of one’s immediate surroundings.
During a traumatic experience such as an accident, disaster or crime victimisation, dissociation can help a person tolerate what might otherwise be too difficult to bear. In situations like these, a person may dissociate the memory of the place, circumstances or feelings about the overwhelming event, mentally escaping from the fear, pain and horror. This may make it difficult to later remember the details of the experience, as reported by many disaster and accident and abuse survivors.
Non-REM parasomnias are thought to be caused by not waking up properly from deep sleep. Research studies suggest that there is a mismatch between some parts of the brain waking up but others staying asleep. For example, the occipital lobes that look after vision and the limbic system that looks after emotions wake up but the frontal lobes that are important for sense and reasoning stay asleep. This means that people can see and react but usually not as sensibly and well as when they are awake.