DAY 18

CW: Description of mental abuse.

Warden does not want me to be like her sister, my schizophrenic mother. Warden thinks it is her job to make sure I am not like my mother in all areas, good and bad. My mother graduated as an MD, making her the first medical school graduate in the big family. She has a soft heart, she never hurt someone else physically nor show any inclinations to abuse others around her. Like everyone else, she has strengths and weaknesses.

I am my mother’s first born. I have resemblances, identical mannerisms to my mother. I am introverted and love to spend my time alone during lunch time. Like her, I love making poems for fun. This concerns warden because she would associate these activities to development of schizophrenia.

I was very young when warden alienate me from my biological mother though she live in the same roof as warden and me. Warden said that I have my mother’s genes. These genes are not good genes, she said. It is as if it was my fault to have my mother’s genes. If I appear nervous in front of the crowd, warden would say, “200 million genes”. She thinks I have 200 million genes of my mother. To put on a perspective, humans have 20,500 genes.

Unfortunately I was too little to understand the scientific facts or to learn the basics of genomics. For a long time, I thought I was cursed that I share similarities my mother. I thought I will be schizophrenic, I thought I will be everything but good.

She hates my mother, they are at odds but somehow I am punished for being my mother’s daughter. I expressed my discontentment to my warden about her habit to call me out for everything that my mother has done before. My mother is a person, she would do things like writing, pursue her hobbies, studying, stressing out, etc. I should not face the consequences of her hatred towards my mother.

When I said, “Would you please stop saying, ‘200 million genes’? I have my mother genes! I can’t help it. Just stop, please. My mother’s genes are not all bad”. Warden said, “I am not shaming you, I am just warning you that you are like your schizophrenic mother, so when I warn you, you should be grateful”. My mother has lips, I have lips, so what? My mother is shy, I am shy, so what? My mother likes to write, I like to write, so what? So what, warden? Warden, your schizophrenic older sister aced her medical school. I would be so happy to be a doctor just like my mother. I will be so happy to have a tenacity like her.

DAY 17

Children usually stop to wet the bed at the age of seven. I wet the bed until I was ten. This is very unusual since I am a girl. My bladder control during the day was perfect. Warden ridiculed me for this. She said, “If you want to pee in your dream, then you should wake up and go to the toilet”. However, in my dreams, I was not able to know that I was dreaming. My sleep would be interrupted when the sheets feel uncomfortable.

Warden sleeps beside me. I was never allowed to have my own room or sleep on my own bed. I never understood why.

Warden would treat me like a five years old. She would do baby talk with me and expected me to talk like a baby even when I was ten years old.

Wetting the bed becomes a joke during family gatherings. Some relatives know I wet the bed. I lost my confidence and I blamed myself for why this happens. Apart from wetting the bed, I had loss of appetite and suffer from stomach aches, and occasional headaches.

Warden never brought me to a psychologist, doctor, or other experts for this. She would ridicule me without giving a proper treatment. At some point, I thought being ridiculed would solve everything.

Sometimes I just want my brain to have good memories about my childhood instead of neglect and years of abuse. I would really love to wake up one day and have a fake memory of my childhood; That I was taken care of properly, that Warden did not divorce, that my biological parents were not divorcing, that I was allowed to make friends and treated for my prolonged stress in childhood.

Children can feel stress too. I am twenty-one years old and if I had to face the exact same conditions as I did in my childhood, given the current cognitive and mental abilities I have now, I would not be able to keep my sanity. It was stressful. I was stressed. Warden and her husband at the time dismissed the idea that I was stressed, simply because I was a kid. I do not wish anyone to go through what I went through.

DAY 16

Some Things I wish I was told during childhood.

1. It is not your fault that you are abused

2. Children can go through stress too, and that is okay.

3. Your emotions are valid, your feelings are valid.

4. You deserve to feel safe at your home.

5. You are not owned by your Warden

6. Discipline should not be violent.

7. It is okay to be uncomfortable around people who harmed you.

8. You have a right to say no when you are touched in private areas.

9. You are not responsible for other people’s feelings.

10. You don’t need to be an abuse survivor to be a resilient adult.

DAY 15

At the age of six, my biological father drove me to school when he asked me if he could marry someone else and leave my mother.

I replied, “Yes, you can marry her”. My mother, isolated because of her mental condition, never fall for any man since. I felt very culpable to have “given a permission” for him to marry someone else.

That morning, I asked my biological father why would he leave my mother. He said, “Your mother is tired taking care of you”. I asked him, “Would you leave this woman if she’s tired too?”. He said, “No. She would not be tired”.

His response left me puzzled.

Before I turned seven, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she refused the biopsy and refused to get treated abroad just so she can be close to me. Her choice to refuse biopsy led to an incomplete diagnosis which accelerates the deterioration of her organs. The doctors cannot administer her the right treatments because they didn’t know which type of breast cancer she has.

My grandmother was an inpatient at a hospital 10 minutes drive from where I lived. Her second daughter, my Warden, was spending a lot of her time there. Since I was a minor, I had to stay close to her. I spent months sleeping in the sofa-bed inside my grandmother’s room. I went to school from the hospital and would return to the hospital.

Relatives said I was mature for my age. I looked poised and composed despite the divorce and witnessing worried oncologists coming in and out of my grandmother’s room.

I amused myself by making up algebraic equations after school. I made simple equations made of letters and numbers. Warden would asked me to go get some things at a store across the hospital. She never went by herself. I was always been asked to do such errands. There were restaurants and stores across the hospital yet there is a busy road that separates them. The road is full with motorcycles and clumsy drivers.

I asked my Warden what would she do to ensure my safety. She said, “I will watch you from here”. She is five floors high. This does not make sense even to my younger self. She can’t save me if someone was going to harm me. As a way to ensure my own security, I walked closely behind adults when I was going out. Considering the abnormally high population density, I am quite fortunate to have never been kidnapped.

DAY 12

I was never allowed to feed myself until I was in the 6th grade.

My breakfast used to be cereal or toast. My lunch for school was almost always the same. Rice and a processed meat. I never liked the menu for my lunch. By 1pm, I would be very hungry. My eyes would be heavy, I would be dehydrated, and my blood sugar will be exceptionally low. I never slept in class, but it was extremely hard to focus. I was a picky eater, but I never got to pick what I wanted to eat. I was forced to like foods that I did not like. I remember I enjoyed the chicken katsu in the cafeteria, but I was not allowed to get them. My lunch box never had chicken katsu in it. I also liked noodle soup. My lunch box always had rice and process meat. There were things I like to eat, and rice is not one of them.

My problem is that I would not eat something that I did not like. Aside from being a picky eater, I also was stressed and very anxious. My appetite was strongly correlated with my psychological well-being.

After school, I would be asked to eat what is left in the lunch box. That will take me about 3-4 hours to complete. By the time I finished the leftover in the lunch box, my dinner will be served. Another pile of rice. I hated rice. My stomach was tiny, I was skinny and stressed. I was unable to swallow food like other children my age. I needed to drink water to swallow my food. Mrs. Warden fed me. She fed me with big spoon, big lump of rice with cooked vegetables inside it. Eating was traumatic for many reasons.

DAY 11

Teachers liked me, maybe not all of them but surely there were few in elementary school. They all agreed that I was a loner and have no friends. I was a loner back in school. I had lunch in the corner and never really socialized. Teachers asked Mrs. Warden why I never really made friends and Mrs. Warden would ask me. My grades were attached in the green file. Mrs. Warden would receive the file and bring it home. She would sign the papers inside it. My grades were great, but that never left Mrs. Warden happy. She would complain that she needs to sign them when my biological father could have sign them. I asked why she signed them, and she said it is because I am not her daughter. I do not recall when the first time I know I am not her daughter. I am aware of this for as long as I remember.

During parent-teacher conferences, I would be left alone in the car. I would wait alone in anxiety and anticipation. She would come back and told me that the teachers felt bad about me that is why my grades. Years later, I learned that teachers are not allowed to fake grades. I deserved my grades and they were not faked.

DAY 10

The images of my tears are occupying my mind as I write this entry.

Mrs. Warden did projection through pretending that she can read what I feel subconsciously. If I forget something, she said that I forget because I subconsciously think that it is not important. She boasts about her memorizing skills as if no one were better at memorizing than her. For her, everything needs to be perfect. God forbid I forget any details before my exam because she would shout and call me all sorts of names, pinch me, and say things to make me hate myself for existing.

After my tests, she would ask how they went. If I said that I doubt many of my answers, she would shout so loud that I would not be able to hear the words she said. There were times where she pinched me and threatened me to leave the car when I told her that I have doubts with half of my answers in one of my tests. Being honest became a ridiculous option to me for obvious reasons and lying became an only viable option. Yet, this did not serve me as well as I wanted. Lying postponed the abuse, not preventing it. As soon as the teacher shows her my results, if they were bad, she would pinch me, on the stomach and isolate me even more from things I like or socialization.

There were times where I cried uncontrollably, I think I was 6. I suffered a great deal from memorizing. I was stressed, I knew I was going to be abused, I cried until my stomach was turning. It is not school that I fear. I feared her evil, violent hands. I never feared subjects at school, even math. I feared the consequences, the abuse I must endure in the process of learning everything at school. She said that you must suffer before claiming victory. My arms were wounded and so was my heart.

There was nothing I could have done when I was in elementary school to prevent her abuse. I only know how to postpone physical abuse. I knew I was going to face it, but I would do anything in my power to postpone it.

She said that my grandfather expected me to be excelling at school and that she is protecting me from his wrath if I performed below his expectations. In reality, he never harmed me, in fact, I needed him to protect me from his daughter.

DAY 9

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.

Day 8

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.

DAY 6

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.