"A winter's day,
In a deep and dark December.
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly-fallen, silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock.
I am an island."
Scott inspired me to write this up. Honestly, it's an important one, I'm surprised I didn't think of it sooner. We've gone over the basics of prevention already, but what to do if they don't work? What do you do if you're already starting to lose it?
The thing to remember is that we're dealing with a supernatural entity here. Your mind already knows that It doesn't belong on the physical world, but you do. You instinctively recognize that there should be some kind of barrier between you and It, even though there isn't.
The other thing to remember is, there actually is no barrier, and shouldn't be. Although your body and conscious mind operate here, in the real and tangible, your unconscious mind works on the same level as It and any other supernatural entities you may come across. That's why they - Slenderman included - always go for your mind first.
There are many effective ways around this and, to be honest, it works differently for everyone. What works best for you will probably be the way you invent yourself. But here are a few examples.
Tampering with what your mind recognizes as "real" and "unreal".
This can be accomplished a number of ways - annotations, associations, barriers, anything you can think of to train your mind to act slightly differently. A prominent "barrier" example is Kay's usage of stones and crystals to prevent nightmares and sleepwalking. Her mind recognizes that the stones have an effect, and the stones themselves resonate with that. I'm not gonna call it the placebo effect, because it's sooo much more complicated than that, but it works. Ask her about it for further information.
Music, again, works fantastically here too. As I've mentioned before, we've already trained our minds to let background music set the mood for whatever we're doing or thinking. We associate happy music with luck, health, happiness in general, so if we play happy music, it becomes more difficult to become afraid. However, I won't say that it makes it more difficult for hallucinations to set in, because it's not exactly true. Hallucinations are another defense mechanism (of a sort), so associations on that count can be detrimental regardless of the mood. More on those and other problems will probably be put into another post.
Not to go all Inception on you guys, but the concept is a sound one. It's basically something simple, but tangible, that reminds you of what reality is supposed to look like. Mine is a copper coin medallion I had hand-pressed down in Florida. And I can tell you this because, unlike in Inception, it's not the physical properties of the object that mater, but the object's emotional significance to you.
Even children understand this concept. They try to imitate it with teddy bears and security blankets, and sometimes they can make it work. But usually the connection has to be deeper than that. The object has to remind you of something, and remind you strongly, strong enough to break whatever hallucination or depressed state you might be under. What it reminds you of, of course, depends on your personality. It can be of your loved ones, or a reminder of why you're fighting. Anything will do, as long as it works for you.
Said connection usually needs to develop naturally over years - there is, after all, a reason we value things we've owned for a long time: memories become attached to the object. It's these memories that are usually what breaks us out of dangerous cycles. Now, like music, it's not foolproof. Memories can be tampered with. However, it's much harder to alter your perception of the emotional significance of an object than it is to straight-up screw with your memories.
I know it's a bit weird to wrap your head around all this, but please trust me when I say I have experience with this stuff. Strange as it is, I do know what I'm talking about here.
Finally, there is a simple matter of luck/chance. This one comes with a story, actually.
Some years back, I had a bad run-in with an... entity, I suppose. I mean, it's a well-known fact that Slendy's not the only malevolent supernatural beast out there, so... -shrug- Anyway, this entity had me in a lock - I couldn't move, couldn't speak, could barely breathe, and couldn't get away. My totem wasn't working. I was so focused on keeping the entity at bay that I actually inadvertently tightened its grasp on me. I was trapped in a very And I Must Scream position for nearly an hour when...
...a light bulb in my bedside table lamp went out.
Nothing special or magical about that event, the bulb was just loose. I had known it was loose for some weeks prior, actually, I just never bothered to tighten it. But that random act of chance snapped my thoughts back to reality faster and harder than a stretched-out rubber band. I was free, and the entity was gone. No lost time, no disorientation. Just sudden, glorious clarity, so instantaneous it was almost dizzying.
Ever since that day, I've always remembered: though we can enter and leave it as we like, reality is here for a purpose, and we should use it as intended. I'm not sure how sheer luck such as this could be used as a defense, short of programming your lights to go on or off at random intervals... but it certainly does help to look for things like that - little reminders of physicality, of what the real world actually looks like.
In the real world, loose lightbulbs sometimes randomly turn off.
In the real world, we have family and friends and interests and hobbies and all those other pointless-yet-unbelievably-important things that make up Who We Are.
In the real world, we were just regular people who aren't being hunted down by an Eldritch Abomination.
In the real world... maybe we were sane.
With all of these, it is simply a matter of training your mind to focus on one thing instead of another. What you want to notice are the normal, mundane things, rather than all kinds of possibilities, might-have-beens, and suspicious details. As with all things, it takes practice to cut through the haze effectively. It's best if this is done before your screws are loose, but it can be done after the fact as well, with a bit of help.
As always, if anything's unclear, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Finals are approaching, so don't expect to see another full post for a good while, but I always try to be prompt with my replies.
Until next time.