Her Crown: "the blackbird sings at night"


I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) roughly around 2007. I never thought I'd be diagnosed with illnesses like that.  The root of it stems from part heredity, part environmental factors and part of experiences. 

"Some of the earliest lessons I learned in my household were that my voice didn't matter, I had nothing and that my body was not mine. It could be used, abused, and beaten in any manner at any time."

Even sleep didn't save me from the peril that lay below a man's belt. I also learned there was no protection. My parents had a very tumultuous relationship. It was complicated and so many things happened with my brothers that I was forgotten. I was left behind. Child protective services came to my house and took my brother, but they left me. People used to say that children should be seen and not heard. In cases like mine, I wasn't seen or heard. My mother didn't notice, my teachers didn't notice. I barely ever remember trips to the doctor or dentist. So considering all this background, I found no value in me...no value in my body. The sexual abuse started so early that by the time I was a teen, I thought I owed men sex because they wanted it. Please don't misunderstand, I found little pleasure in sex. I didn't have my first real orgasm until I was 27, years after I'd given birth to my son. It had become something to do for acceptance.

My childhood was filled with violence, anger, fear, tentativeness and uncertainty. There were many times where my mother had my brother and I throw some clothes in garbage bags as we fled our home in the middle of the night. I remember staying with friends and in motels having chicken and milk for dinner. I could never sleep well through the night. It seemed the violence almost always erupted most regularly once I'd laid my head down and fallen asleep. The screaming and shouting would wake me and I'd break out in a sweat. The visceral sounds they made, made my heart rattle as it startled me from my sleep. In my head, I can still hear my mother pleading for my father to stop.

If it wasn't that waking me up then it was feeling a pair of hands sliding up my nightgown and reaching into my panties to pull them down. It was my oldest brother. I never told because there was already so much violence in the house. I thought that if I told, my father would kill us both. I knew it was wrong. I didn't want to die and I didn't want my brother to die because I told. That didn't stop until I was an early teen. He went to jail. I don't sleep well at night and I didn't start wearing nightgowns again until I was in my 40's.

Oddly enough, despite the beatings, yelling and breaking things my father managed to show me a bit more mercy than my brothers. I was his only child. My mother on the other hand unleashed the anger that should have been reserved for my father on me. My brothers most definitely bore the brunt of his punishment, but the emotional scars that I carry from their experience and mine won't release me. 

Each time I attempt to confront those feelings, I crumble. I shatter into a million pieces as I gasp for air and my heart beats so fast I can't catch my breath. I feel sick to my stomach, like I have to escape from my own skin...as if the pain is too great to be encapsulated in my mind and body.

Pulling me apart from that pain is an internally violent process...one that brings the entire world around me to a grinding halt. I can't function. I can barely eat. I can't think through anything. It's like I live in a "fog-like" state where I can't see anything clearly. The harder I try, the more impossible it becomes. It's like driving through fog with high beams on. It just gets worse. So I stop.

Sometimes I don't get moving again until a week or two later but I move. I have made commitments to things in my life that keep me going. Those things are what I look forward to. Feeling like I must follow through with an arrangement I made often makes the difference between me stopping for two weeks, or stopping for two months. I need to live my purpose like I need air. I need for there to be purpose in the things that I do because it's what gives my life meaning. Going back to my early days, having learned that my life and my body had no value...I had to give it a value. 

I had to give myself a reason to live. There are times where I wish the pain I live with would just end at any cost. It's almost as if it becomes so unbearable that I can't go on for another moment. I get weary. After I've gone through a whole gamut of emotions...I become exhausted and rest. Then I realize that it's not time for me to go anywhere just yet because I have purpose. 

So I continue my therapy and take my meds as I know I need to in order to give myself the best chance of survival that I can. I don't just want to survive....I want to live life fully, with happiness and gratitude.

Thema, Peachtree City, Georgia

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