At 36 I stood looking at the reflection of myself in the mirror. I had a noticeable circular bald patch at the right side of my head, my eyebrows barely hanging in there my eyelashes had all but gone. My pale complexion even paler highlighted the darkness beneath my eyes.
Staring back at myself I questioned who am I?
Looking down at my hands I stretched open all of my fingers to inspect each of them, hoping this would reveal something to me-but it didn’t. There was nothing-I had no idea what was I like as person. Was there a certain food I enjoyed and what was my favourite colour? I simply did not know.
How did I get to this place of not knowing the answers to these simple questions? I hadn’t been involved in an accident that resulted in some form of amnesia. It was unknowing trauma-I didn’t know I had experienced trauma and the impact of this resulted with my body going into survival mode by disconnecting from myself and the world around me. Speaking- I found extremely difficult I did not want to talk it made me feel anxious. When I did speak often it wouldn’t make any sense in what I was trying to say, there were times when I could only make a sound other times I just couldn’t speak at all. Feeling incredibly lost- I wasn’t sure what was real anymore, was I real and did I exist? I think I did-still I couldn’t be sure.
I needed to understand what had happened to me and seeing a counsellor helped me greatly. They gave me the confidence to speak even when I found myself not wanting to they encouraged me to write about my experience as another form of therapy to possibly help me further. Sitting at my table with a blank piece of paper in front me just waiting for words to be written on but what do I write about and where do I start? Picking up the pen several times and then I would put it back down shaking my head telling myself I can’t write about what has happened just keep quiet. I had become so accustomed to keeping quiet it is all I have ever known and to carry on as though nothing had happened, but it did happen. The driving force behind keeping quiet was fear- fear of what will happen if I don’t do as I am told along with the guilt and shame.
The internal battle within crying out- I could not carry on like this anymore I need to know. Forcing myself to stay quiet would prevent myself from ever finding the answers and keep me locked inside myself forever. I told myself be brave- I picked up the pen and started to write about the unspoken events. No one knew the full extent of what had happened to me including my counsellor, having more time it enabled me to go to these events in my life. The blank piece of paper soon turned into many pieces of paper and what started to happen it revealed a picture- I hadn’t seen coming. It was inevitable I would continue to live in an environment similar to what I had grown up with it was all I had ever known I thought everyone lived this way.
Living with fear-fearful of not being there when your mum needs you to get her something or listening to her talk about her worries and fears-the constant pressure of having to be there if not the threat of another attempt of suicide was imminent. Being a weird kid- pretending to stroke an invisible cat and placing piles of grass in front of his chair to fend of my father’s unwanted attention (this freaked him out). Pretending it didn’t hurt the physical daily assaults from my elder sibling. From seven years of age the weight of this constant pressure having to continually adapt to this way of life and always having to be strong to save my mother’s life on a daily basis be a stronger weird kid to stand up to my father and elder sibling.
All I wanted was to be invisible-then I was noticed by someone, there was one difference I had never experienced I thought it was love, it wasn’t it was an unhealthy obsession. This person created more fear than what I had grown up with. All my emotions were forbidden to express any the consequences for doing this was more fear, guilt and shame. I constantly adapt-I speak too loud I make sure I speak quieter, then I speak too quiet must try to get the right tone. I breathe wrong I don’t know how to correct this, I must try harder. The list of errands I have to do is getting longer-his demands are constantly changing at a minutes notice and I am struggling to do the 60 errands. I kept telling myself if I try harder it wouldn’t be happening it is my all fault he does what he does. As hard as I tried it wasn’t getting any easier it was getting worse. Each time I adapt to keep him happy I lose another part of me until eventually this is nothing left- only emptiness.
Reading back the words of my story it had a different feel to when I had talked about various parts of my life with my counsellor. The realization to the full extent of what had happened to me really hit me hard-I was lucky to have survived. Writing helped me greatly it helped me find my voice and to reconnect to myself understanding what had happened it also highlighted I needed to make many changes in my life.
“My purpose in life isn’t to meet the costant demands of others”
Learning about myself -started with making myself my priority. Looking at my needs and how does it make me feel. Knowing I have choices, I can live my life how I choose and I don’t have to seek anyone’s permission to be me. This opened up a new world -the world of me. I am constantly exploring about myself it has brought many challenges- letting go of the guilt and to be able to freely express all emotions without fearing them. This has given me freedom to be me and to get to know myself.
Who am I?
I am life transformation- passionate about life and creating pathways for dreams yet to be lived. Powered by love, laughter and the magnificent coffee bean-no longer hiding coming out into the light and loving feeling the warmth of life and all it has to offer.
“If it isn’t inspiring me to grow or bringing me joy-it does not belong in my life”
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