I have been on a journey, as you know, an exhausting journey filled with doubt and fear hope. The journey is far from over though, my mind knows the truth as I’ve exposed it, but my heart and my soul is still trying to catch up.
I had an interesting if brief conversation with a psychiatrist a few weeks ago during an assessment of my daughter E. E started having problems in grade five, she was approached by the quintessential bad guy – a guy in a white van – who tried to lure her in. She would have none of it and ran away, she ran home, phoned me, phoned the police, gave a statement. She did all the right things. She had nightmares, she had counselling, she had a fear of being left alone even in her own room, she eventually seemed to recover. But still, that’s where the problems began, or so I thought, so everyone has thought.
The following summer we moved, my mum died, E’s rabbits died, her cat died, our dog died, and she changed schools. Then she got H1N1 and missed three months of grade six. I may as well say that she hasn’t returned to school since. She has tried, she managed twenty one days in grade seven and twenty-three days in grade eight. So far she’s managed about sixteen hours of grade nine. Throughout these school years she has received no formal education. I can’t teach her, we would probably tear each other apart! The schools would not send work home no matter how many times I asked, or the social workers asked.
At ten years old E was suicidal. She was diagnosed with major depression, anxiety, social phobia and agoraphobia, and bi-polar disorder was suspected. She was given anti-depressants and tried a number of them before we found one that helped. Last year she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and prescribed the appropriate medication on top of the anti-depressants. The medication is definately helping. She no longer spends quite as much time awake or asleep, she no longer flies into violent rages and tries to kill me, she no longer experiences blackouts, she no longer cuts herself or wants to die.
I should be incredibly happy with all of this progress. But the truth is, she still does not go to school, she is still not being educated and I still can’t get her to leave the house even just once a week on a regular basis. I can’t even get her to see her counsellor every week or make her group meeting. She still has sleep issues, often staying awake for thirty six hours or more followed by eighteen to twenty four hours of sleep. She will be fifteen in a week. Five years of fighting for her in endless meetings with endless teachers and psychologists and doctors and her father and I feel frustrated.
This brings me back to my conversation with the psychiatrist. So the phsychiatrist said that she is not fully convinced of the Bi-Polar Disorder diagnosis, instead she believes that I may have unknowingly projected my childhood trauma onto my own child. Her words, “don’t you think it odd that E’s problems began when she was ten and she is now fourteen, and your first memory of sexual abuse was when you were ten, and you put an end to it when you were fourteen?” At first I was floored, those words actually had a physical impact on me. I felt like I had been hit with so much force that it knocked the wind out of me, it left me breathless. Thinking about it now my heart is pounding and I feel nauseated. I was seriously sickened at the thought that my child’s pain is caused by me, that I would, even inadvertantly, hurt her that way.
I have been mulling this over and it bothers me. I’ve mulled it over a lot in fact, and I’m not buying it. I really thought I had put my childhood abuse behind me long ago, I went to counselling, I delved, I dealed, I forgave, I moved on. I was okay, I really believe that. I was okay, I was happy, had a home, a good job, had met a good man, my children were happy until E was not. I was still okay, even with all the things E was going through and our family was going through in terms of losses. I was doing okay until last Summer when my dad was arrested.
So I don’t belive I was projecting my pain onto her. She had her own pain. E has her own story. It’s not my story but I’m the author of it right now, and I’ll probably be prominently to blame, when as an adult she seeks out her own psychiatric help. I’m okay with that too!
So you see, I’m pretty damn tired from this journey and I’m really damn tired of being on it without a map and I am seriously fucking tired of the ripples of abuse. Right now I’m also kind of angry.