Repressed pain may reveal itself more privately, as in a woman, sexually exploited as a child, who has denied her childhood reality and in order not to feel the pain is perpetually fleeing her past with the help of men, alcohol, drugs or achievement. She needs a constant thrill to keep boredom at bay; not even one moment of quiet can be permitted during which the burning loneliness of her childhood experience might be felt, for she fears that feeling more than death. She will continue in her flight unless she learns that the awareness of old feelings is not deadly but liberating.

Alice Miller, The Drama of the Gifted Child

Waking up this morning at 0530 hours, while lying awake in bed, I realised that I have never lived…my years of existence on this planet from the age of 6 years old, when the abuse started, I have merely gone through the motions and have done everything that was expected of me, from my parents, teachers, peers and bosses. I STILL am doing this. A big part of me knows that the right thing to do is to tell my psychiatrist that I am fit enough mentally to go back to being a mental health nurse, but, at the same time, I also know, deep down in my psyche that I need to stop DOING and stop AVOIDING, every anger, hurt, disappointment, guilt, shame and self-loath that I have kept hidden and locked away for decades.

The quote from above from the book ‘The Drama of the Gifted Child’, by Alice Miller, encapsulates what life has been for me all this while. My method of avoidance has never been alcohol or drugs, but bad sexual decisions with men and always striving for accolades; be it in term of academic excellence, winning races in sporting events or running a successful business. I wish I had come across this book sooner in my teens.. maybe then, how my life is now, would be different. But, then again, this is the exact thought process that plagues those who have been abused as a child or even as an adult. We get stuck in this loop of wishing that the abuse had never happened and what our lives would have been if there was no abuse. Would our lives be better? Would be in a better state of being? I have so much work that needs to be done, that when I think about it, I am utterly overwhelmed and waiting to be seen by a Clinical Psychologist that is funded by the health system, seems like a far away place. I only hope that by then, I would have the strength to work through all the pain.

The part where the quote said that one has to realise that old feelings are not deadly, but liberating, is one that I think I will have a hard time ever coming to terms with. The concept of this is taken from the teachings of Buddhism, where suffering is inevitable and if we understand that everything is impermanent, then we know that suffering will end and we become wiser from it. At this point in time, I don’t feel this. I am still stuck in the cycle of numbness, helplessness, extreme sadness and not wanting to be alive. It all sounds very dramatic, but to me, it is my reality at this moment.


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