Okay….i’m not perfect but then i never said i was. In fact, in my past, i have been to hell and back and still, even now, i find myself back in the furnace occasionally. Most of my life has consisted of ‘hell’ and secrets and as a result, i have accumulated many skeletons in my closet, and believe me, my closet is pretty crowded, so much so that the skeletons are beginning to fall out! So…i think i’d better let some of them come out into the open and hope i don’t frighten off my friends by being so brutally honest.
As you know, i’ve been a ‘victim’ (now survivor) of appalling child sexual abuse from the age of three till i was thirteen, by my father (now dead and buried; well, cremated actually) and by a teacher who was both my private piano teacher, twice a week and he was also my music teacher in my primary school. My childhood was indeed a nightmare as it was coupled with emotional and physical abuse as well. In addition, i was constantly bullied and being picked on in school, usually for being so small or so scared.
My adult years were no better, with two rapes (one very recently and i’m still processing that and don’t want to let that particular skeleton out of the closet quite yet). i got engaged at sixteen to a man i didn’t love and who didn’t treat me well either, and married him at nineteen as a way of escaping home, (out of the frying pan, into the fire). Shortly after, i had two children, twenty months apart. When they were still very young, my abusive husband left us with no money, no food, no tv for the children etc, to go and live with another woman. It was during the time i was working part-time to make ends meet as a single-parent family, that i discovered there was serious incest going in my family (history repeating itself).
It was also during that time that i developed anorexia (although i think it had been lurking behind the scenes for many years before that). I’m not going into details about what i used to get away with as an anorexic because i don’t think it’s helpful to anyone out there suffering or teetering on the edge of an eating disorder. Needless to say, my weight dropped dangerously low and i was admitted to an Eating Disorders Unit at a local psychiatric hospital where i stayed for six months. I was greatly abusing laxatives and had them hidden in places you wouldn’t believe! Ditto, razor blades as i started to seriously self-harm (not clever nor recommended). I was discharged, suitably fattened up, and went straight home and did it all again so spent another six months in another psychiatric hospital.
My children were almost grown up by then and not living with me. It was then i was subjected to my first adult rape and as a consequence of that, my childhood memories which i’d tucked away so carefully, started to flood back. I really thought i was losing my mind and i suppose in a way, i was doing just that. Then came the bad behaviour. My anorexia worsened; my self-harm became really serious resulting in many humiliating and unpleasant experiences in A & E where i became very unpopular. I self-harmed by cutting and as a result now i have really ugly arms covered in scars from my wrists to my shoulders and do not have the guts to wear short sleeves now.
Then i started on the drink and drugs years which overlapped everything else. I won’t tell what lengths i went to and the lies i told to obtain both because i don’t intend to give any vulnerable soul any ideas they haven’t already got. Years went by in a blur, not surprisingly. Then one of the few friends i had left, dragged me kicking and screaming into the rooms of AA and CA which was the best thing that could have happened to me. I went regularly to meetings and worked the twelve-step programme to the best of my ability and still do. Eventually, i became clean and sober and have remained that way ever since. But by then, as a result of my previous selfish behaviour, i had become seriously in debt, had been diagnosed with yet another label which was Bipolar as my mood changed so rapidly. Mood stabilizers didn’t touch it and this continued for the next fifteen years after which time (and years and years of intensive therapy), they decided i wasn’t Bipolar after all but had Borderline Personality Disorder quite severely, depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. Nothing has helped much to date except that i have learned to live with it and get on with it as best i can.
Therapy was endless and with so many different therapists, trying to find one who could really help. I am still in therapy now and probably will be for the rest of my life. So far, i’ve clocked up eighteen years of therapy and that is a lot of sessions where i’ve cried, raged, insulted my therapist, told her to go away only to then plead with her to come back (which she always did). I filled exercise books with angry writing in black and red pen or crayon, mostly consisted of heavy-duty swear words. And yet, i’ve only, in the last three years met a therapist who is really helping me (it’s taken all that time so never give up hope).
Now, i am learning to become a survivor and surrender my victim role, learning to cope as best i can with my BPD although my friends and family have a hard time dealing with it. I have lost most of my friends and alienated much of my family through all my self-destructive behaviours. But then there’s only so much a person can take. And i should know because i am on the inside.
So there are my main skeletons no longer in the closet although i’m pretty sure there are some hiding in the back of that cupboard that have surreptitiously crept into the land of Narnia for the time being.