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I carry too much pain. The person who birthed me didn’t want me and told me I was worthless, from a young age, as early as I can remember. There are not words enough to describe the amount of negativity that was heaped on me for so many years. And there is no way to describe how deeply embedded in my psyche is the pain. Without even getting into the physical abuse, I’m already too full of pain to comprehend it.

When I first started having panic attacks, first experienced that all-consuming terror, I wondered why it was all so damned familiar. I couldn’t comprehend why I felt like I knew this, recognised it… WHY? And then I realized that I had felt like this before; for all the years that I was abused I felt this constant terror, in a muted sense. It got to the point where I was utterly used to it, similar to how you become habituated to the whirring of the fan or the sound of the rain. It was there, but I didn’t really notice, almost took it for granted. It’s been there ever since, and last night it all blew up in my face. Again. Suddenly I was four years old again, and totally immobilized by abject terror. I took my Ativan, but it didn’t seem to be working. It was still there, spreading slowly through my mind, causing me to shake with such force that my muscles were aching with the strain of it.

Then I remembered the words, the only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain, so I dug my fingernails deep into my skin. I hoped that I could focus on the pain, that I could somehow start to breathe again, that I would survive. And I can’t help but think that it’s not fair… I shouldn’t have to live like this. Ambushed by fear I can’t see or name. The kind of thing that creeps in at 4 am when sleep would be such sweet relief, but closing my eyes just isn’t an option.

This is the aftermath of child abuse that nobody can truly understand unless they have been there themselves. How can you pick up the pieces of an ordinary life you never really knew? How do you move on? It’s been so many years. I wish I could say, “I am OK,” but I can’t. It is a long, difficult road to being OK.

I hate being this person. I hate living on this roller coaster, with no warning when the track is going to plunge into darkness. I hate not being able to breathe, not being able to see clearly, not being able to believe that things will ever get better. I hate that I sound like this. I hate that I am ashamed to write these words. I hate that I’m afraid someone will find out.

What if I really am worthless and unlovable?