A shout rouses me from a half sleep. Voices calling to me. I turn my head: air, sky, space. So different from the rock. I cannot hold air, I cannot see air, I cannot rely on air. It scares me in its uncertaincy. And then, a hot air balloon – it’s floating closer to me – a solidness in the openness, a floating dream that will soon blow past me and become as unreachable as the cliff above me.
For the past seven months I’ve worked really hard to get back, and I didn’t involve my family because they wouldn’t know what to say – I have a sneaking suspicion they regard me as a bit of a loon, an impression I haven’t done much to dispel. I do the wrong things, say the wrong things. Around them, I’m still the scared 7 year old, always looking over my shoulder to see what my older half-brother, now dead, was up to, the awkward 10 year old everyone made fun of because it was fun, and I was no one, the 13 year old disgusted with my hands-on stepfather. I’ve spent a lifetime loving them, mostly from a distance, but I’m not sure they think of me much. That’s okay. We’re not all the same. I have a rich family of friends, a wide circle of people scattered around the globe that love me despite my damage.
It’s strange to think about the life I could’ve had. Because the life I dreamt of, thought of, and planned … it’s so extremely far away from the life I have today. Maybe some of my dreams still can come true? Maybe I’ll have what I wrote of above, just that I’ll be 30 instead of 22. Maybe.
After years of continued episodes that got increasingly worse I finally got treatment and was properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 43. Mind you much destruction had been done over the years because of my illness and my husband and daughter both suffered so much. I do not know how we became the family we are, in as good a shape as we are.
It’s hard for me to think about my abuse, never mind talk about it. And if I do talk about it, nothing good seems to come of it, I just get upset. Just KNOWING that I’m going to be stirring it up fills me with dread and I have began to feel quite disturbed and unsettled. I have begun to have nightmares about the abuse and also have dug up an unpleasant memory from my childhood which I remembered via a dream. Whilst I am out doing my thing, meeting my friends for lunch, going to see the big festival in my city this weekend, working on shoots, I have this abuse in the back of my mind. When people ask me how I am, I can’t say ‘I’m fine, I’m just trying to process my terrible childhood’.