When You Relive Your Childhood Abuse Every Day
I wake up and open my eyes. Flashback number one: 9-year-old Jacqui waking up after an hour of sleep by the sound of mums drunk, alcoholic partner smashing things and screaming threats, praying for a neighbor to call to the police (the usual night).
I’m already drained from the first flashback.
I go downstairs and hear a song on the radio, and here goes flashback number two: being kicked out and homeless, staying in a women’s refuge while mum is heating up some food donated to us. I sit and pray that we can move out of state and back close to my family — so alone and pathetic.
I experience flashbacks all day out of my control; a sound, a smell, a sight, someone who looks like someone I knew during the traumatic time, a feeling, a good or a drink, goddammit, anything.
The day starts and ends with flashbacks. They leave me depressed and panicked, and make me believe I’m back in the childhood hell filled with neglect and domestic violence, living in absolute fear; a young child scared to dream or just be a kid; fear of my mum being badly hurt by her drunk, violent partner; fear for my little brothers safety.
Years go by and the years of hell have been put aside. Now it’s time to fit in and make sure I keep out of mums way as she’s becoming violent and resents me for making a coffee wrong.
Years of arguing and verbal violence toward each other — door knobs removed, cut up photos and screams through the walls. What a toxic relationship mother and I have.
This “regular” life for child who only wanted to go to just one school, not 9; who wanted to make friends and not have to lie about why I was absent from school for months or why I moved without an explanation; who wanted to be able to sleep in my own bed feeling safe, and loved.
Fear was what kept me going — the adrenaline pumping through my body as I witnessed, dealt with and protected my little brother.
10 years have gone by, and suppressing those years was the worst thing I did. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has destroyed everything. Explanations to family and whatever friends I have left is an ongoing battle, as PTSD isn’t usually recognized unless you’re a veteran. Reliving my childhood years every day has pushed my too close to the end — help is needed, and fast.
Whoever is dealing with any type of mental health problem, or if anyone knows anyone with mental health problems, please reach out. Don’t let it get so close to the end like I did. I’m now on medication and have a support team who actually helps, even if it’s the smallest thing, it’s progress to make it through another day.
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Unsplash image via Darius Bashar