A Few Questions

I was asked some general wonderings, too, when I asked what people wanted to know. I guess that these are things I can’t quite cover in the book, so I’ll answer them here. Anything else I might not cover, just ask on my page or here, or message me. 🙂 I try to answer as best as I can.

These come from Kimberly:

 

“What happened to Nathan? “

 

We were friends until I was around 27. I still see him on Facebook, but we don’t talk that much really. He doesn’t live far away. As far as I can see, he is happy. We drifted apart because as my mental health got worse, I started to cancel things and eventually, he stopped asking. I miss him a lot, though.

“Are you still friends with anyone from college? “

 

No, aside from Facebook, I don’t see them anymore.

“Do you still live in the same area? “
I don’t live that far away from where I grew up. Probably just a 15-minute drive.
“How are you doing without being in therapy?”
I found therapy useless to be honest. I do better alone. My last one, last year, was pretty bad. He wouldn’t let me talk about anything. He’d say, What does it matter? It’s in the past. And had me down as having low self-esteem issues, which I don’t.

I did have CBT for my OCD at one point, but it didn’t cure it, just helped me to calm it a little. I needed that back then. I was living in a bubble.

I went to one therapist about my PTSD and the badman. He pretty much accused me of having an overactive imagination and said we’re all afraid of the dark when we’re on our own.

So, without therapy, I cope as best as I can.
“Do your children know anything about your abuse?”

 

They don’t have a clue. They know little things, like me not having a bed until I was 9, but no, they have no idea really, and I am glad about that.

 

“I’m also curious why your brother hates your dad so much. Was he aware of the things going on maybe, and just didn’t say? Was he abused in some way? Do you have a relationship with either of your brothers?”

 

I don’t exactly know why my brother hates my dad so much. I think it’s just a bad relationship and that our father is selfish, and he sees that. They fell out really when my brother asked me lots of questions, like whether my Nan used to beat me, like our parents had claimed. He realised it had all been lies and that made him angry. I don’t think he was abused, but he has issues from living in that house. Maybe he saw things. He was in the same bed as my father and I. He doesn’t live too far away. He comes and goes, but we talk. My older brother lives abroad now; we talk on Facebook. I have other siblings from later in life. My youngest sister is 12. I don’t really have contact with them, though.

 

 

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Stolen Everything

I think as I go more and more through this journey in my life, I discover more and more has been stolen. Of course, I lost my innocence a long time ago, and maybe that was the worst thing to lose. Or maybe it was that I lost myself and who I was meant to be, but there are moments, things, that I never realised I had lost.
Sympathy.
Not mine. It’s a weird thing to lose. I sit here with my chest tight and my shoulders weighted down, but there is no one to really turn to. People’s dislike for my dad is stronger and they can’t see. They can’t see what is being taken from me.
When normal people’s fathers are sick, suffering with something like cancer, and the normal person sees their parent slipping away. When the adult who raised them suddenly needs help to fasten shoelaces, make meals or simply fill out a form. They talk to their friends, they get hugs and care and sympathy.
I find myself in this place I never imagined, where that has been stolen from me. I tell people my father is sick, and they say good. Inside, the child who is there, who loves his father, wraps his arms around himself for comfort. 231b6640ef7d79030ade6674b2b0185d
When I say that I am helping my dad, fixing his car, cooking his meal, I am told that I am doing more than he deserves. I end up finding myself torn between what feels right to do and what people think I should do.
When people ask me why I would help him, my answer is because he is my dad. I find myself envious of that normal person who wouldn’t be asked why, but would be asked, what help do you need.
I wish I was a normal person. Instead, he is my abuser and I am his victim. But I wish the world would see that he is my dad, and I am his son.
I never knew that this part had been stolen.

Sanity

This is another one of those posts from me asking what people want me to talk about. TeAnne asked, “How you kept your sanity. I know you had survival mechanism in place?”

I am not sure I have really. I have many problems that I deal with day to day, but back then, I didn’t know I had them. In writing Teddy, I can see where many started. I can see where my OCD began, and I think that was a survival mechanism to begin with – some kind of order in my mind about this world I didn’t yet understand. sanity-is-madness-put-to-good-uses-george-santayana

Obviously there is my bear. I told him everything. I had an imaginary friend, too, called Andrew. He is also in the books. Both of those helped me; it was a way of having some kind of social aspect without a real social aspect. I also read a lot. I could read for hours and hours and take myself away into the stories. I learnt to read very young. I was reading at four, and by the age of six, I had read the Hobbit – to give you an idea of my reading abilities.

I also wrote. I wrote all kinds of things; stories for one. I wrote those for hours. I wrote poems too. Sometimes, though, especially right after some form of abuse, I would cry and write everything down, asking why my dad didn’t love me. Why I had to do those things.

I used to count too. I think that’s where my number OCD came from. I’d tell myself that in an hour, I’d be in my own bed. I’d be sleeping. I used to try to count to sixty, sixty times. I pretended I was asleep a lot too. I could pretend it wasn’t happening to me.

Of course, there were times I didn’t cope. I was maybe six, I think, when I tried to drown myself in the bath. I got into sniffing petrol fumes when I was about 9. Started smoking and drinking at 12. I even ran away from home, but got taken right back.

I became very introverted. I think that was the best mechanism I had. Taking everything inside, and outside, I just smiled.

From Victim to Parent

I asked the readers on my Facebook page a week or so ago if there was anything that they wanted me to blog about. I have tons of blog ideas, but maybe I never really hit the spot. So I thought that I would put it out there. I should really make it a place people can ask and I’ll answer. I’m going to answer the ones I have over the next week or so and in no specific order.

The first one comes from Dawn. She asked: “How you managed to overcome all that you went through to become the strong caring father & person you are today. That’s one thing I’ve never really seen explained in any books written by people who were abused as children……how do they go on & function & be able to be caring, competent adults. It has to be so hard to overcome all of that….I can’t even imagine.”

Terrie also asked: “How you were able to raise your children when your parents did not pass any skills to you?”

There are quite a few questions in there, so I’ll break it down. How have I managed to stay a strong and caring father? Father and child

I didn’t start out that way. I became a parent at 16 years old. It was way too young. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. If you read Scars, you’ll see that I did a lot of things wrong – a lot of bad things. I had to go right down before I could get up again. I ended up on drugs and almost lost my son to social services. My dad was going to get my child and be his legal guardian. That was the moment I looked at my life and at my son’s life and thought no, this isn’t going to happen. I had to make a choice to get clean or I was heading for prison, and my son was heading for my father’s house. This is what Scars is about; it’s the journey downwards, until I couldn’t get any lower in my life.

With my children now, I often try to judge what I am doing. They are the family I have and I try my best to make them happy. I try to give them the right guidance. I try a lot to protect them because my father is still around in my life and they don’t know my past with him. It’s easy to be a better parent. I just do the opposite of how I was raised.

Some of it is just an act, though. The functioning adult part is. I don’t think I will overcome things really. Not ever fully. A recent example is last night, at 3:30 a.m., I had to wake my friend up on the phone because I was afraid. I had had a bad dream filled with flashbacks and all kinds, and I couldn’t feel safe. I was sure the bad man was coming back. I could feel him. I was very afraid. The frightened child inside me takes over. I have so many fears because of this man. I have in the past slept outside or in my car because my fear has got too big. KCRG_news_depression-teen-boy-sad1

Every minute of every day is a fight, and my children help me with that. If they could see inside, though, they’d see I am not that strong. I suffer from OCD. Just getting up in the morning is a drama – what to wear, what to eat. I debate whether I should eat, because I have phobia of vomiting and bringing up my breakfast. I get afraid of being outside and want to go home sometimes, because I just can’t face people. At university, I can’t touch the doors, and I can’t touch people. I have to maintain a distance just so I don’t flip out. I actually have a support worker at uni and a provision that I am allowed to leave the lectures if I can’t cope. I use a Dictaphone to record all my lessons because I suffer dissociation, too, and sometimes I can miss the entire lecture. When I finally get home, it is hard to go inside if my house is empty because the children are at school or something. I look through the windows and check that it is safe.

I try not to have any friends because I can’t cope when they need to do things in their own life – even if it’s just something normal and simple, like shopping. I can’t cope with any kind of abandonment. I have one friend, and she has to cope very well with what to say to me and how to say it. She needs a medal some days. My fear that they won’t come back is so great. It is much simpler to just be alone.

I am a self-harmer. I have to hide that from my children too. So much of how I am with them is because I never want them to become like me. I don’t want them to have my fears or phobias. I want them to enjoy life. It really is because of them I am here. If they weren’t, I would have ended my own life a long time ago. I often wish my father had done it while I was a child and saved me from these years of torment.

Some days the only functioning I can manage is breathing. But I try.

I’m not really sure if this answers your question, but put simply, I use a lot of how I felt as a child to guide me with how to raise my own children, and I hide behind a façade of normalcy to hide what is inside. Only when no one is around do I allow myself to break down.

Time Limit on Mental Health Recovery

Why does mental health recovery have a time limit? It’s one of the things that bugs me the most. Many people put into therapy get 4-6 weeks of therapy and then they are cast out into the world again. Some people get 12 weeks if they are lucky, but that seems to be the maximum. Why is it that mental illness comes with such a limit?

Would we treat a cancer patient and say well you’ve got so many weeks of chemo, but after that you’re on your own? Or tell someone who is recovering from something like a stroke that they have 12 weeks to rehabilitate and then off they go to do it themselves? I don’t think so. Why is it okay with mental health? It’s just as debilitating as any other illness. The difference is, is that it can’t be seen.

The reason from my rant today comes from my own experience. When I had taken an over dose those few weeks ago and gone to my doctor after the hospital had discharged me and for the first time I said to someone that I think my thoughts are wrong. I need some help, did I get some and felt relieved.

I was assigned a therapist. I have had therapists before and for various reasons either I didn’t stick or my time was up. This time I tried to give everything I had. I tried to be honest about how I was feeling. I even showed him my many self-harm episodes across my skin. tumblr_mjvm92IrOr1s8qsclo1_500

It was heart-breaking to hear at my last sessions that I only have three left. His manager said I could have 14 sessions. I’ve done 11 so far, because I needed so much, but that’s it for me. I feel let down again. I feel lost again. I keep hearing those words in my head and it makes me upset.

I am not a stupid person, but I am an ill person. I don’t understand how the doctors can say to someone who –

Who is suicidal and has tried many times before.

Who self-harms almost daily (although at the moment it’s been 8 days)

Who has flashbacks, sometimes so bad he has to leave the house.

Who suffers disassociation and often doesn’t know if he is a real person.

Who has BPD and breaks down and wants the world to end at something as simple as a cancelled lunch date.

Who suffers DDNOS and flits between different parts of himself at different ages because he is fragmented.

How can someone with so much to recover from be told they have 14 weeks and then they’re on their own again.

No wonder people don’t tend to get better. You can’t put a time limit on recovery from anything. That includes mental health.

 

Please Turn My Life Switch Off

 

There was a man once; he was in so much agony from his illness, when he died, while that was sad, it was also a relief. His suffering was over, his eyes closed and for the first time in a long while, he looked truly at peace.

He’d spent so long fighting. He had taken all the drugs and treatments going and fought with every breath he had just to get through the day and the pain he suffered. He held on every minute of his life, even though, some days the pain was so excruciating, he would curl up on the floor crying, begging someone to please take it away and no one could. 1385972_257464541068177_1105653773_n

Occasionally the pain was so bad, he couldn’t even speak or think, all he could do was roll around in silent agony, waiting for sleep to take him and the torture to stop, just for a slight reprieve, but those reprieves weren’t long. The pain would be back, it would keep him awake through the night and he would lie in the darkness, alone, with no one who could make it better.

What a tragic, horrible way for someone to have to live, that death is the only mercy. Often we would say, this person is in a better place now, their suffering is over. And yes, while the family is upset for their loss and they would give anything to have this man back, they never want to watch someone have to live in such a way again. It is a sight that they will probably never get over.

Perhaps you think this man had cancer, HIV/AIDS or some other kind of debilitating cruel illness.

What if this was inside?

Why do people’s view change? Mental pain is just as bad as physical pain. The suffering is the same.

I see so many posts on suicide today and this last week. In September it was national suicide prevention day. Sometimes I think those posts should be labelled, keep the person alive to suffer day.

People who commit suicide are sometimes called selfish or a coward, but go back and read the above. Imagine keeping that inside and smiling outside.

I talked to a friend last night and tried to explain how it is for me. That from the moment I open my eyes, to the moment they close again, I am in such pain inside, a pain so deep and big I can’t even find the words to explain it. I wish there was a way to show people, but I there isn’t. Every moment of every day it hurts. Sometimes sleep doesn’t even let me escape and I am woken with nightmares and suffering.

As I explained this to my friend, I wish with every part of me that I could make it all go away. I wished that I could go back to a time when I was a teenager and make it over then, when it wouldn’t matter to the people it would now. I wished so hard it felt as if I could almost make it real, but I can’t.

And I know, many will tell me to look at what I have to live for, all the good things in my life, but tell that to the man above. Whatever illness you thought he had.

 

I know what I have to live for. That is why I am here typing this, because I can never give to my children the pain of losing me, but it doesn’t mean tomorrow I won’t think or fantasise about being able to turn my life switch off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children Abusers

Do you have siblings? Had friends when you were small? Did you fall out with them? Hit them? Be mean to them? Normal children’s behaviour right?

How often do we see children bickering and pushing each other, nipping and biting. I have a granddaughter in her terrible toddler phase. She bites, she kicks and as she does it she laughs. Is she evil for this? A bad child? No, she is simply a two year old being a child and pushing boundaries. She is just a child and her innocence protects her.

What about in five years’ time? She’ll be seven. What if she has a sibling them who she chooses to pick on? Takes delight in making them cry? Or a school friend she falls out with and kicks in some childish temper tantrum? doll

Granted she’d be told off, reprimanded in some way, or least we would hope so to teach her right from wrong. As with all children the chance of her acting that way again is likely, and again she will be reprimanded and told that her actions are wrong. It’s how children learn.

Any parent reading or someone with experience of children probably agrees that this is just normal childish behaviour, children being naughty nothing more and as adults it’s our job to teach them right from wrong. Age her again, perhaps to ten or eleven this time. Are her actions still wrong? Picking on a younger sibling, does that make her evil? Hitting someone at school, would that make her potentially a threat when she is an adult? I don’t think so. Perhaps something would need to be looked at if it was excessive as to why she was acting this way, but as a society, we would brush this behaviour off as a child being just that, a child.

It’s not the child’s fault right?

What if a ten year old child coerces another child into a sexual act? What if a child subjects another child to watching pornographic scenes or films or even talking about it? What if a ten year old child were to have sex with another child? What if a child raped another child?

Do we say the child is sick? Because the act is different than just violence, do we point at the child and say they should have known these acts were wrong? They should have known not to do that? Do we label them sexual abusers or predators? What if sexual abuse is all the child knows and they are merely acting out what they have been taught? Because they haven’t been taught sexual abuse is wrong. So is what they are doing actually wrong?

Why does society accept children being violent and mean and dismiss it as children being children, yet sexual acts, we have the makings of a sexual monster. Isn’t it just the same?
Can children be sexual abusers in the same context that and adult can?