You wouldn’t have known. She smiled at everyone and wanted acceptance.
This child’s first overdose was at 18 months old.
This child’s mother had a mental illness and struggled and felt isolated. She didn’t realise her daughter would take that first unexpected climb to the Ativan of hers that was supposed to be unreachable. It wasn’t her fault.
This child was immediately admitted to hospital for emergency treatment.
This child’s mother was immediately admitted to a psychiatric unit for a year, confused and distraught through fear and separation.
This child never lived with her again.
This child and mother loved each other deeply and have never got over the separation.
This child immediately went to foster care. She was nearly adopted. However, this child returned to her father when her young aunt moved in to the ‘family’ home to prevent this.
This child’s father divorced her mother when she was in hospital and found a new partner, a stepmother.
This child’s aunty returned one day to find her bags packed with no notice.
This child was less than 5 years old separated suddenly again from someone she bonded with – her primary care giver who adored her.
This child’s stepmother was emotionally neglectful and regularly hit her with objects.
This child’s father would belt her around the head. Her head would ring and ring and felt so hot with pain.
This child lived in fear, threatened with reprimand and didn’t understand what she did wrong.
This child always tried to ‘be good’, to please them. Perhaps they were young and they didn’t know better, maybe not intending to hurt her. It still affects her to this day.
This child tried and still tries to make sense of it all.
This child was sad, confused and hurt.
This child ate dinner alone in her room and cried herself to sleep most nights.
This child had regular night terrors.
This child maintained regular visits to her mother after her year long hospital admission and wished she lived with her.
Another stepmother came along.
This child witnessed daily verbal abuse (occasionally physical) between her father and new stepmother. It was a very volatile relationship. Both used each other’s children in their arguments. The neighbours felt sorry for the children.
This child was kicked out of home at 16 by her stepmother. Her father promised he would move out to a flat to live with her. He didn’t.
This child was a teenager lost.
This child was lucky to have her loving mother and her family and paternal grandparents and two aunties and uncles throughout all this. And the spaniel in this picture. And the fields.
Imagine if she didn’t.
This child is eternally grateful to them.
This child developed a mental illness. Bipolar disorder.
This child went on to become a mother and a twice suicide survivor.
This child became a mental health nurse to help others.
This child was me.
This adult knows others have had it worse.
This adult does not pity herself. She’s telling her story.