Merging Imaginary Lines into My Visually Perceived Reality Since Childhood

After months of isolation with little more than art and music to fill the void -- I'm now wondering why I unintentionally and repeatedly perform a seemingly meaningless mental exercise of drawing imaginary diagonal lines across my bedroom walls. Boredom perhaps. Yet I've been doing this simple mental exercise for years when my mind is at rest.

I'd only recently became consciously aware of doing this simple mental exercise, perhaps several times per day and unintentionally. It only takes a few seconds to perform and so, I'd never given it much thought until now. Would a similar mental activity be commonly found in other people also having a dissociation disorder? I'll try to explain.

My first recall was at age 9 or 10 when I was extremely stressed out during school, due to my reading difficulties and unrecognized aphasia but mostly because of my overly demanding and threatening 4th grade teacher. She must have assumed I was intentionally creating errors during reading class. I wasn't. Yet when I'd error she'd become emotionally enraged, once even ending with her physical assault. My reading errors I couldn't prevent. Yet I had to find away to manage my fear and panic episodes.

So during class I'd stare at the classroom blackboard while imagining that an imaginary diagonal line was being drawn across the board. Beginning at the lower left corner of this blackboard I would imagine seeing a diagonal line slowly being drawn upwards to the upper right corner. (This would take only a few seconds to do) Then I'd imagine seeing the opposite diagonal line being drawn onto the board to create one simple 'x' pattern across the entire board. This imaginary 'x' drawing I could then hold within my memory, as if I were still seeing it on the blackboard. This practice I did often during school.

Perhaps within my mind, I thought, I had found away of merging my imaginary imagery into my visually perceived reality. My teacher was then demanding that I stay focused on my visually perceived environment and yet, I still desired some means of escape. I was then too hyper-vigilant to day-dream ...I wasn't feeling safe enough.

I think my original intention might have been to create a sense of greater control over my perceived reality, as if, I could somehow control the narrative if, only slightly on the blackboard. Once practiced it was 'as if' I had magically found away of merging my inner thoughts into my real world experience.

So why the imaginary diagonal line rather than the vertical or horizontal line -- perhaps because the imaginary drawing of the diagonal line requires a greater mental focus which might then result in this altered state. But then more importantly, the diagonal line remained a constant that evokes no emotion nor memories. If I were to imagine drawing anything other than a diagonal line I might then risk drawing a resemblance or remembrance of something. But then why open that door when my objective is to disconnect.

If I had actually drawn real physical lines on the wall or board that experience wouldn't have helped. But rather it is my thought, alone, of superimposing or merging my own imaginary imagery into my visually perceived reality that seems significant. This is my only guess as to why I've adopted this strange and repetitive mental activity.

Had I been unknowingly training my mind to dissociate, during my extremely stressful encounters in school, at age 9 or 10?
 
I'm not sure it's all that strange. When I was 9 or 10, I pretended I was on TV every day and that my life was a sitcom. Kids' minds do things we might consider to be odd, and you had a much better reason to find some kind of mental escape than most.

Does it bother you?
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
I do a similar thing. Most bathrooms have tile floors. Little or big squares make up the whole floor. I somehow outline the squares into shapes in my mind. I like crosses or bigger squares. I've done this since childhood.
 
I'm not sure it's all that strange. When I was 9 or 10, I pretended I was on TV every day and that my life was a sitcom. Kids' minds do things we might consider to be odd, and you had a much better reason to find some kind of mental escape than most.

Does it bother you?

When I was a child, TV was mostly a sitcom of pretending, just as it is now. Anything could have happened on TV and when mesmerized at 9 or 10 more pretending just happens. And it's fun, as long as it's not a scary movie. I haven't yet the mental maturity to convince myself that scary movies weren't real -- that was tough!

No, my unintentional imaginary diagonal line drawing doesn't bother me at all. It never has bothered me. What had bothering me were my stressful experiences occurring during that same time.

This mental activity now only happens when my mind is quiet and I'm relaxed -- more often just before falling asleep and sometimes upon waking. The only two places that I can recall ever experiencing this imaginary line drawing were either during class in school or more recently in my bedroom.

During my years in public school, I call recall doing this imaginary diagonal line drawing often and very actively when fully awake. Perhaps, this might have been my way of preventing myself from entering into a day-dreaming state. I was trying to stay focused on the 'here and now' during class yet, I didn't want to be there and desired to block it out.
 
I do a similar thing. Most bathrooms have tile floors. Little or big squares make up the whole floor. I somehow outline the squares into shapes in my mind. I like crosses or bigger squares. I've done this since childhood.

I often do this same thing that you're describing though preferably with more organic shapes. Creating these designs within ones imagination is often very entertaining. Your tile floor pattern or almost anything with a varied pattern will work.

This type of imagining always leads me away from my perceived reality and into a more imaginary way of thinking. Yet this imagining of various abstract objects was exactly what I was trying to prevent during school. There I was trying to keep my mind focused on the 'here and now' within my stressful classroom.
 
I really feel mad at that teacher who assaulted you. I'm sorry that happened to you. These days where I live, he or she would go to jail for doing that!

Thanks. My teacher was unknowingly harming me, for sure, when not much was known about aphasia. I often felt ashamed and embarrassed when making errors in class yet there was nothing I could do to remedy this situation. Often my palms would sweat and I'd be unable to catch my breath when reading aloud. I was forever losing my place on the page when trying to follow along, as I wasn't able to comprehend the words quickly enough. Eventually I began to try and hide the fact that I wasn't 'getting it.'

I was held back in third grade and so, I suspect this teacher was determined to bring my reading skills up to par. That never happened. She apparently thought I had the intelligence to do the work. My handwriting and drawing skills were exceptional. Perhaps she thought I was only being defiant. Me defiant, no, stubborn yes.

But then with my aphasia, part of my brain could at times comprehend the meaning of a word on the page but then, my translation was in error. I could look at the word 'shoe' on the page but then read this same word aloud as 'boot' or see the word 'wagon' but then say the word 'cart.' I was never aware of doing this not until my teacher would point this out to me. I could pronounce a new word correctly once then not be able to correctly pronounce it 30 seconds later. My memory was fine. My difficulty was in the processing itself. Anyway, my reading behavior was enraging my teacher.

So one day she finally lost it and began striking me repeatedly on my back, while repeatedly screaming, "What is wrong with you! What is wrong with you!" during class. She then sent me out into the hallway. I now regret not taking that opportunity to have run out of the building. Perhaps if I had, this incident might have been investigated. Her emotional outburst and physical attack on me was definitely out of line.

I don't recall of ever mentioning this incident to my parents. I just felt too ashamed of myself while my teacher kept telling me that I had no excuse for my poor grades. I was emotionally beating myself up over this! I do recall of telling my mother that I was afraid of my teacher that year. My mother only replied by saying, "I'm afraid of her, too." My mother's parenting skills …yikes!

At age 35, my T had me testing for a learning disability. After an intensive 3 hours of face to face verbal testing, the tester reported that he suspected brain damage. A few years ago, my MRI indicated development brain damage. The psychologist who tested me earlier was apparently correct. When I shared my testing results at age 35 indicating LD with my mother, her first words were that, I was seriously ill with whooping cough at 6 weeks of age and that, I'd turn blue and wasn't always breathing. Perhaps she felt I was better off not knowing.
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks. My teacher was unknowingly harming me, for sure, when not much was known about aphasia. I often felt ashamed and embarrassed when making errors in class yet there was nothing I could do to remedy this situation. Often my palms would sweat and I'd be unable to catch my breath when reading aloud. I was forever losing my place on the page when trying to follow along, as I wasn't able to comprehend the words quickly enough. Eventually I began to try and hide the fact that I wasn't 'getting it.'

I was held back in third grade and so, I suspect this teacher was determined to bring my reading skills up to par. That never happened. She apparently thought I had the intelligence to do the work. My handwriting and drawing skills were exceptional. Perhaps she thought I was only being defiant. Me defiant, no, stubborn yes.

But then with my aphasia, part of my brain could at times comprehend the meaning of a word on the page but then, my translation was in error. I could look at the word 'shoe' on the page but then read this same word aloud as 'boot' or see the word 'wagon' but then say the word 'cart.' I was never aware of doing this not until my teacher would point this out to me. I could pronounce a new word correctly once then not be able to correctly pronounce it 30 seconds later. My memory was fine. My difficulty was in the processing itself. Anyway, my reading behavior was enraging my teacher.

So one day she finally lost it and began striking me repeatedly on my back, while repeatedly screaming, "What is wrong with you! What is wrong with you!" during class. She then sent me out into the hallway. I now regret not taking that opportunity to have run out of the building. Perhaps if I had, this incident might have been investigated. Her emotional outburst and physical attack on me was definitely out of line.

I don't recall of ever mentioning this incident to my parents. I just felt too ashamed of myself while my teacher kept telling me that I had no excuse for my poor grades. I was emotionally beating myself up over this! I do recall of telling my mother that I was afraid of my teacher that year. My mother only replied by saying, "I'm afraid of her, too." My mother's parenting skills …yikes!

At age 35, my T had me testing for a learning disability. After an intensive 3 hours of face to face verbal testing, the tester reported that he suspected brain damage. A few years ago, my MRI indicated development brain damage. The psychologist who tested me earlier was apparently correct. When I shared my testing results at age 35 indicating LD with my mother, her first words were that, I was seriously ill with whooping cough at 6 weeks of age and that, I'd turn blue and wasn't always breathing. Perhaps she felt I was better off not knowing.
You and I have a lot in common. I failed third grade too. I have dyslexia, and my first grade teacher kept me after school every day. My LD was discovered during second grade. My parents then got me a tutor, but I could not catch up soon enough for the school, they demanded to keep me back. I was never assaulted, but some teachers were mean to me, that's for sure. I'm glad you and I have met here. Take care.
 
You and I have a lot in common. I failed third grade too. I have dyslexia, and my first grade teacher kept me after school every day. My LD was discovered during second grade. My parents then got me a tutor, but I could not catch up soon enough for the school, they demanded to keep me back. I was never assaulted, but some teachers were mean to me, that's for sure. I'm glad you and I have met here. Take care.

@Changing4Best I'm sorry to hear about your dyslexia. Teachers can be very mean without even realizing it sometimes. When our school teachers don't fully understand our LD this can create a huge problem within our student-teacher relationship and beyond. I always felt as though I were a huge disappointment to them. I don't know about you but I was never allowed to explain my learning difficuliies to my teachers. I was only allowed to answer their direct questions. Unfortunately, my teachers just weren't asking me any meaningful questions.

Your dyslexia and my developmental brain damage have likely effected us both since infancy. The cause of dyslexia is said to be in the genes which alters the structure and functioning within the brain. Mine is somewhat similar to dyslexia and unfortunately neither will ever go away.

A few people have told me that, my LD shouldn't be bothering me now that I'm out of school. Yet they are so wrong. At least now, the computer offers some help. The following is likely a boring read. But then you, being dyslexia, can likely relate.

As a child, my learning and pronouncing of alphabet letter names, their sequence and song lyrics was good. I've never confused word sounds though possibly (I'll explain below) Word pronunciations I have mostly mastered but phonics not always. Learning new unusual word names is very difficult. Reversing of printed letters never was a problem for me. I only still confuse 's and z.'

I sometimes confuse the similar sounds of letter names that then require a more through thought, such as, ' 'E, B, C, D, G, V' because of the predominant phonic 'e' sound within them. This can confuse me. For another example, 'A, J' because of the predominant phonic 'a' within their letter names.

I could read a paragraph aloud in school and then, be unable to describe what I had just read beyond the basic subject matter. Yet my memory wasn't the problem according to my tester who tested me at age 35. When I want to comprehend I must read slowly and sometimes reread a sentence. This 'going back and rereading' would strain my eyes. Often I couldn't complete my homework, as it was too exhausting.

Also in school I had a great deal of difficulty writing down dictation and in taking notes. Often I couldn't figure out how to write down the simplest word. I often substitute words that hold a similar meaning to me, such as, 'ground' instead of 'floor.' When typing I'll often confuse words such as, 'me, my, mine, I, I'm' or 'she, her' or 'of, off, from' and word groups, such as, 'know, knew, known' -- Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Interestingly there is also a deeper underlying meaning within my word substitutions, such as, 'more, most' or 'last, late' or 'fast, first.' Here I might be over-thinking the word's meaning while at the same time abstracting the word by omitting its more meaningful detail. For example, if something happens 'last' it was then likely 'late' or when something happens 'fast' it was then likely 'first.'

I'll also often ignore a few text letters within a word though most often this is the suffix. When typing I'll confuse words such as, ''can, can't, could' or 'would, wouldn't, won't' or 'do, done, did, didn't, doesn't'. When speaking I don't make these errors.

My LD isn't obvious to others and wasn't even recognized by my overly demanding school teachers. Still it has greatly diminishes my sense of self-confidence while unfortunately, placing limitations on what I can and can't do successfully.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I do a similar thing. Most bathrooms have tile floors. Little or big squares make up the whole floor. I somehow outline the squares into shapes in my mind. I like crosses or bigger squares. I've done this since childhood.

We had old 60s tile on the wall. It was blue, with white irregular designs. I'd hide in the bathroom....take excessively long time....and look at all of the shapes and create something more realistic in them....like cloud gazing and trying to find a shape that looks like.....a bird. Interesting thread.
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
@Changing4Best I'm sorry to hear about your dyslexia. Teachers can be very mean without even realizing it sometimes. When our school teachers don't fully understand our LD this can create a huge problem within our student-teacher relationship and beyond. I always felt as though I were a huge disappointment to them. I don't know about you but I was never allowed to explain my learning difficuliies to my teachers. I was only allowed to answer their direct questions. Unfortunately, my teachers just weren't asking me any meaningful questions.

Your dyslexia and my developmental brain damage have likely effected us both since infancy. The cause of dyslexia is said to be in the genes which alters the structure and functioning within the brain. Mine is somewhat similar to dyslexia and unfortunately neither will ever go away.

A few people have told me that, my LD shouldn't be bothering me now that I'm out of school. Yet they are so wrong. At least now, the computer offers some help. The following is likely a boring read. But then you, being dyslexia, can likely relate.

As a child, my learning and pronouncing of alphabet letter names, their sequence and song lyrics was good. I've never confused word sounds though possibly (I'll explain below) Word pronunciations I have mostly mastered but phonics not always. Learning new unusual word names is very difficult. Reversing of printed letters never was a problem for me. I only still confuse 's and z.'

I sometimes confuse the similar sounds of letter names that then require a more through thought, such as, ' 'E, B, C, D, G, V' because of the predominant phonic 'e' sound within them. This can confuse me. For another example, 'A, J' because of the predominant phonic 'a' within their letter names.

I could read a paragraph aloud in school and then, be unable to describe what I had just read beyond the basic subject matter. Yet my memory wasn't the problem according to my tester who tested me at age 35. When I want to comprehend I must read slowly and sometimes reread a sentence. This 'going back and rereading' would strain my eyes. Often I couldn't complete my homework, as it was too exhausting.

Also in school I had a great deal of difficulty writing down dictation and in taking notes. Often I couldn't figure out how to write down the simplest word. I often substitute words that hold a similar meaning to me, such as, 'ground' instead of 'floor.' When typing I'll often confuse words such as, 'me, my, mine, I, I'm' or 'she, her' or 'of, off, from' and word groups, such as, 'know, knew, known' -- Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Interestingly there is also a deeper underlying meaning within my word substitutions, such as, 'more, most' or 'last, late' or 'fast, first.' Here I might be over-thinking the word's meaning while at the same time abstracting the word by omitting its more meaningful detail. For example, if something happens 'last' it was then likely 'late' or when something happens 'fast' it was then likely 'first.'

I'll also often ignore a few text letters within a word though most often this is the suffix. When typing I'll confuse words such as, ''can, can't, could' or 'would, wouldn't, won't' or 'do, done, did, didn't, doesn't'. When speaking I don't make these errors.

My LD isn't obvious to others and wasn't even recognized by my overly demanding school teachers. Still it has greatly diminishes my sense of self-confidence while unfortunately, placing limitations on what I can and can't do successfully.
One of my Drs diagnosed me with aphasia recently while I was an inpatient for mental health reasons. I have a problem sometimes speaking and my words come out all divided and jumbled up. I have had several head injuries, so that's not surprising. I hope our conditions improve over time. No more brain injuries!
 
One of my Drs diagnosed me with aphasia recently while I was an inpatient for mental health reasons. I have a problem sometimes speaking and my words come out all divided and jumbled up. I have had several head injuries, so that's not surprising. I hope our conditions improve over time. No more brain injuries!

@Changing4Best

The causes of Aphasia would be many. I know very little about it, myself, beyond my own difficulties. A few people I have known, have struggled with this inability to carry on a simple conversation. Fortunately you have the ability to express yourself quite well when using text.

I can recall my childhood stuttering and difficulties finding the words and in forming sentences. And so I rarely spoke. This was frustrating for me and for the person listening as well. I always feared they'd lose their patience and walk away. Fortunately my earlier speaking difficulties greatly improved to the norm. My reading and writing skills however never have been normal.

I was tutored up to age 12. I recall being given long lists of single words to read aloud to my tutor while wondering how would this be of any help, since this wasn't the root of my problem.

There are various therapies available. Perhaps your doctors can advise you.
 
Top