At some point maybe it will be good to write good memories with Mrs. Warden. I would not rush myself to write them. Blogging project is doing well. I am keeping my momentum.
I was having a bath when the flashback came to me. My eyes were enjoying the sparkly reflection of my bath water. The reflection moves so beautifully. Depending what my finger does to the water, it can create an illusion of little waves. I felt the warm water splashed to my shoulders. I made little waves on the bath tub. It was rather relaxing and satisfying.
The wave of the bath water goes back and forth, sometimes to different directions. All depends on what my feet does under the water.
The beach would be very cold by now. To my recollections, I quite enjoy days where I could swim on the beach. I would sit and enjoy the waves that rock my body or push me backwards. This is a pleasant imagery until your mind starts to recall that you were not only pushed backwards by the waves in the beach but also by a monstrous Mrs. Warden when she tries to test how much you memorize things for your tests.
I had all these recollections in the bath tub earlier today. I guess these recollections inspire this blog entry.
When you have a traumatic childhood, even a pleasant beach day memories could turn into an unpleasant abuse memories.
She shook my body that her nails scratches my arms. That was my punishment for forgetting some trivial things before my tests. She would shout and made countdown from 5 to 0 and if I made a mistake, she would shout even louder and call me names. For her, review in the morning where I have tests has to be perfect. No flaws, no errors. I am not exaggerating. It happens that she made mistakes. She would just let it go if it was hers.
I am one of those people who would perform even worst under stress. The more mistakes I make, the more stress she would inflict upon me.
I am thankful that I am able to choose to give up vanilla milk. I used to be forced to drink it until I turned 10. It was always served in a great quantity. I always feel nauseous trying to finish it. She did not serve my milk in a glass but in a flower vase. Mrs. Warden made me drink creamy, yucky milk in a flower vase. It took me five hours to finish. It tasted horrible. If I puke and spit out the milk out of reflex, she would pinch my arm to push me to swallow it. About three hours after the milk is served, it would be cold and very creamy. It would not smell great either. The smell was horrible. I was not allowed to sleep until I finish it.
Everyone asked why she gave me milk despite my age, also why the unreasonable portion. She said it is because I am a picky eater. I have never been brought to a therapist to be treated, so I am not sure what led to this. I would conjecture that this was caused by mental stress.
I am 21 and I still can’t make myself drink a vanilla milk. Almond milk is ultimately better for me.
Mrs. Warden established some rules to regulate my social life.
Here are the rules:
1. Never initiate meetings or playdates
2. Saying yes to social meetings is a sign of mental weakness
3. Have to be on perfect behaviour for a week in order to go to playdates and meetings.
4. Maximum 10 text replies (all day)
I failed to meet these rules therefore I never had a chance to socialize like other children would. I wish I can go back to my childhood and reverse it, but I can’t. I am not even able to maintain conversations with people. I’m socially awkward and anxious.
I’m jotting down my thoughts. One might think that just because I’m abused I would find excuses to hate Mrs. Warden. In fact, no.
One might thought that I would romanticize this experience, perhaps victimizing myself. I may just be defensive against nothing, or perhaps just against a hypothetical argument, but what I hate the most from my memories is that to realize that my childhood was not as bright as I thought. The more I remember, the bitter it gets.
My greatest apprehension to my healing is that I would romanticize my suffering.
I occupy myself trying to rebuild my identity, my sense of self. To be honest, I think I’m forcing this entry. I wing this article because I’m not inspired. I am a human and I can get bored from the pain of healing.
I had dreams, routines, hopes, but somehow my life was a chaos. The echoes of my hopes and dreams were not as persistent as my auditory hallucinations. I did not know who to talk to and at that time, I did not even know that this is one of the symptoms of schizophrenia. Abnormal Psychology is not a subject I learned when I was nine years old. I did not miss any classes, but I missed homeworks. My head was exhausted, and my heart carried a weight that never detaches from me. I became tired of this constant paranoia that attacks me without mercy. It stops when I sleep at night or when I nap. As soon as I gained my consciousness back, it will return to haunt me, to make me suffer for simply existing. Are our fears real? I never slept when the voices threatened me. We would like to think that reality is perceived through our senses when we are awake and fully conscious. These fears were mine. They were my reality; as real as the sound of the wind that echoes through your ears.
One day, I asked my uncle of what he would do if he had thoughts that tell him to do things. He said that it happened to him, but I cannot relate to his experience. The voice in his mind demands him to pull a hair of someone in front of him. Oh how I wish mine sounded like that. Mine threatens me to death. Mine told me to kill myself. Mine told me to jump from the third floor. Mine told me that if I look into the bird’s eye, I would die that day. Four years after the conversation, I learned that what he had was intrusive thoughts. There was something helpful that he shared to me at the time. He said that it is good to pay attention to whatever task I am doing. One thing at a time. Be aware of my diaphragm as it moves when I breathe. He told me to immerse myself to the task I have at hand. As a training process, I initiated more chores, specifically dishes. I washed the dishes with my hands and a sponge. I absorb all information I gathered from my senses. The smell of the lemon dish soap, the foaming sponge, its soft texture, the plate I just used to eat my dinner. I imagined that my toes were like roots that hold me, strong and steady. I found calm for a split second, but I felt it. When your heart is at peace, even for a split second, you would want to repeat it. For a split second, I was in my own little heaven. For a split second, my mind was befriending me. For a split second, my heart was free from the tormenting voices of terrors. I noticed not just one sound but five. My nose not only it detects one smell but three. I saw many colors, many of which came from the bubbles from the dish soap. I felt calm for another split second. Washing the dishes became my favorite chore. I always looked forward into it. Seconds became minutes. Minutes became hours and hours became days. Days become months and I have been free from these voices for 11 years.
TW: Description of auditory hallucinations, child abuse, mental illness
One and a half years after my grandmother lost the battle to breast cancer, I faced a subtle, un-diagnosed depression. I was nine years old. Being bullied at school and abused at home, I had no place where I could feel at ease. Household was stressful and school was no different. I had no access to competent psychologists nor social worker. I kept everything to myself. Before I knew it, my heart was grieving all day, every day. I got headaches, my energy was low, I had trouble concentrating. There was no break for this mysterious, persistent inner anguish. This tormenting ache in my mind and heart
My mind and heart were not at ease despite my prayers. I envied the weather above my head. There were no such thing as sunny days inside my head. Chasing positive thoughts felt like chasing the golden at the end of the rainbow. Where did my hopes go? What did I do wrong? I cried until I dried my tears.
I needed instructions, I needed guidance. I listened to my heart. It speaks. It speaks the language of terror and paranoia. The voice is subtle yet clear and commanding. I am committed to my heart. I am committed to the inner voice. I listen to it. It is fearful and it is threatening. Loving words were beyond its knowledge. Its motivation was safety. It echoes, do not look at the bird. The bird is a spy. You are being watched by secret agents. Your mirror has a camera in the back. The picture could be alive and attack you. Do not look to the left, or else you will die. Do not wear red shoes today, or else you will die. Never reveal me. Do not reveal me. You will die. You will die.
This narrative, these threats were unstoppable, and I was restrained. My individuality and sense of self were repressed. Instincts of survival was all I have left. In fact, it was the only skill I mastered during my puberty. I was scared to the phantom inside my mind, inside my heart, but I cannot articulate it. I do not know what it is called. I do not know what I was facing. Before I knew it, my heart becomes one of the sources of my suffering. My heart, my mind, they speak every seconds. Another second, another terror. I was not scared of ghosts; I feared my thoughts. I feared them to death. I cannot run away from them; I cannot cover my ears to shut them up because they were inside me. Despite leaving all the lights on, the voices remain present and persistent. I had a phantom inside me that became a half of me. I do not have depression; my heart became the depression itself. I was not happy; I only know how to look happy. I cannot choose to be happy; I can choose to pretend that I look happy.
Mrs. Warden was a spender and Mr. Warden made many financial mistakes on the years where she spends money on video games or weekend hotel visits. They both were unemployed and had more credit cards than a couple could manage. All of this were not apparent to me because I was seven, we lived comfortably under a huge mansion of my grandfather who was a former bank director and lawyer. We had five maids and an on-call engineer too. All of them were paid by my grandfather yet Mrs. Warden manages them. She claims to be a stay-at-home mom for me and my sister when she occupies herself with gossip shows from morning to evening. I hated them, but there was almost nothing I can do to ameliorate the situation. Spending with multiple credit cards and relying on cash backs, Mr. Warden caught himself in a mountain of debt. It got to the point where debt collectors would knock on the house. That year, debt collectors were far from eloquent. They can use their fists to get what they demanded. They lied to my grandparents that Mr. Warden is working. They hide and this is, perhaps, the biggest mistake they did together in the marriage.
Why did you spend so much when you had nothing to spend? This question was answered in one of my conversations with Mrs. Warden few years ago. She told me that she made a sacrifice. She wanted her parents to see that she was doing fine, and everything was under control. It seems to me that she thinks highly of herself for not being vigilant with financials in the past. Had my grandfather knew, he would have helped in any way he could. She told me that this is her sacrifice for the family, that I should grow up not knowing that they had something going on. The fights they had during my childhood revealed the secrets she tried to keep from me. I knew they were not in a good financial situation although I did not comprehend the details that led to it. I was too young to think of any resolutions. My world was to deal with pain after pain of overhearing their endless fights. Too many fights to recall, I cannot let myself dig into such bitter memories. At least not today.