10 June, 2010

When she was twenty-two...

MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNINGS!! Warning for talk of abuse, self harm, sexual assault...

And this is just the stuff i can remember.

"You're too young to be depressed."
"Why are you so sad, you've got your whole life ahead if you?"
"What could have possibly happened to make you this way? You're only..."
"You're too young to know what real suffering is like."
"You're too young..."

I've heard it all before. Since I was a child, people were telling me that I had no right to feel bad, no right to be depressed. After all, what could have possibly happened to me? I was only 6, 10, 13, 15, 17, 18, 22...

The earliest I remember feeling depressed is when I was six. I tried to explain it not my mum. I didn't have the words. I told her I felt sad, listless, like I couldn't care about anything. She said "You mean you don't care about God or Jesus or your family? That's a horrible thing to say!". Not horrible that a six year old would feel like that... That I was a horrible person, as if my inability to care about things meant I didn't love my family. Because that's how she interpreted it.

How was she to know I was depressed? I was only six. How was I to know? I don't even know why I felt that way, my memories are far too fuzzy. I only remember guilt, and shame, a fear of my bath, a fear of rape.

When I was ten, I was sexually abused by someone I trusted, an adult who was so much a part of the family that we called him "Uncle". A good, upstanding Christian man. He groomed me first. He bought me treats, and sweets, was kind to me, did anything I wanted. When he touched me, he made me believe that it was an accident, that it was my imagination. When he rubbed my back, he said it was just friendly, he was just helping. My mother scolded me, telling me I was never to let a man touch me like that again.

When he pulled my pants down, he made it seem like an accident. He was just playing. When he put his hand down my nickers and grabbed me, he grinned and apologized for being so rude.
He left me feeling, to this day, that the assault was my fault. That I had caused it. Didn't my mother warn me? Why did I let him do that? Did I make him do that?

When I was in school, I was subject to a never ending tirade of abuse. From shunning to insults to people who pretended to be my friend just to see me cry when they insulted me. It got to the point where I would rather die than have to face school again.
When I had "friends" who beat me up at fourteen, I thought, at least they're paying attention to me.
When I had "friends" who made clear how much they hated me at fifteen, I though, at least they arrant beating me up.

I was thirteen when i started hurting myself. I would tear out chunks of skin with my fingernails. I would heat up a spoon with boiling water then hold it to my skin until it burned, leaving huge blisters on my hand. I would punch walls with bare fists as hard as I could, leaving my hands covered in scrapes and bruises. I would scratch at my ankles and thighs with sharp scissors, going over the same mark again and again and again. I would out peroxide and tea tree oil on my cuts just to feel the sting. I would snap rubber bandcs on my hands repetitively, hard enough to lessee welts. I would snap rubber bands on the burns I'd given myself, on the cuts I'd given myself.
I call myself a "former" self harmer, but I don't feel I can fully claim that title. The last time I hurt myself was last year, and I've thought about doing it a Hell of a lot since then.

When I was 15 I moved out of home. My parents tried to make me move back, and threatened to cut off all support, financial, emotional, unless I did what they asked. I won that battle, but at a terrible cost.

When I was sixteen, I was living with a friend of mine who emotionally abused me. She didn't mean to, and she did and does love me, but the scars she left still hurt. Still have me doubting myself and my feelings.

I've always had to tiptoe around my father. For as long as I can remember. I never knew when he would start to rant and rave, when he would throw things. One minute he was my father, the next he was a ball of barely contained fury. I would hide in my room until he stopped shouting. I would bring him a cup of coffee after he finished, hoping against hope that he didn't turn his rage on me. It was a nightmare. One minute I would be talking to him, the next it was as if something snapped, and all I can remember is the rage.

When I was 17, I had someone follow me home because they couldn't take no for an answer. He refused to leave until a friend of mine pulled a knife on him.
At 18 I had someone I didn't know follow me home. He asked for directions, I didn't know the way, he followed me home. This was ten at night, everything was closed, I was terrified and alone. When I got home, I thought I was safe, until he rapped on the window.

I was terrified growing up. Scared of my father and what he would do if I was bad. Scared of being raped. Scared of my mother blaming me for the sexual abuse. Scared of hell... Fuck, I'm a Pagan and I'm still terrified of Hell.

I'm still trying to stop myself from blaming myself for everything.

So tell me, at what age am I allowed to have experienced this shit. At what age am I allowed to be upset by it? When you tell me I'm only young, I've had a short life, yes. I am young. My lief has been short. But I was abused at ten. Young means diddly squat. Young doesn't protect you from harm. Young doesn't stop older men abusing you. Young doesn't stop you abusing yourself. Young doesn't mean that you haven't experienced some horrific fucking shit in your life.

And writing off my experiences because you think I'm too young to understand? Is a fucking shitty thing to do.


Briarwood said...

I thnk this is the first time I've heard the whole story in sequence. It makes me ashamed of my arrogance in the past.

Know that I love you and am extremely proud to know you.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Just wanna say that I respect your right to be shy, and that now I think I understand some of the reasons why.

I'm proud of you for telling your story. I'm also really sorry you've had to endure the shit that you have, and glad that you seem to be coming to terms with it.