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 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 5

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.  

To be continued …