Do Not Give Up Hope - PART I

by Mary
(France)

I come from what is described here as a "dysfunctional family". My parents got divorced right after I was born. I believe they both have abandonment issues themselves. My mother has been abandoned by her own mother and raised by her father and stepmother. My father's parents got divorced and he had to spent a whole year in a sanitarium without seeing them when he was around 3 years old.

Needless to say that I've been greatly affected by my parents' divorce, even though I have no memories of it. Unconsciously, I used to blame myself for it. After a few years my mother got married again, to a really nice man. I didn't like him much though, because he couldn't keep half of his promises. It turned out he was a swindler: he ran away with all of our money.

A few years later, my older sister left to live with our father. It felt like everyone I once cared about had left me. My mother became addicted to her work to solve our money problems, and probably to forget her own pain as well, which meant I had to stay all alone at home for days on end.

It's hard for me to describe the child I used to be. People always said I was perfect. I never caused any problems, I always succeeded in everything I did. You could say I was the 'Family Hero'. Truth is, I couldn't stand failure. Every time I did something wrong, I would do it again and again until I could do it right. Fortunately or unfortunately, it led me to always be the best in school.

Other children thought I was different from them. Every time I was praised by the teacher, they would say : "Well it's Mary, it's just normal for her. It's not like she's making any effort to have those grades". It had become normal for me to always be the best, so no one noticed my work anymore. Even my parents didn't take the time to praise me anymore. I tried to be even better, but it didn't change anything.

In terms of relationships, I would say I was more like the 'Lost Child'. I've always been very imaginative. I would draw and write stories all the time. I had countless imaginary friends, and I have to admit I still have a few today. They always come back to me when I'm feeling down. I also had countless plush dolls. They were all over my bed. At night, I would position them all over my body, and I couldn't stand it when there was a hole in my lines of plush dolls. Each of them had a position, and I never changed it. The only thing I wanted for Christmas was plush dolls.

I was very shy, and I had a hard time making friends. I never knew what I could possibly talk about or do with a friend. That's why I was attracted to children who talked a lot and always had funny things to do. But those friends always had a lot of other friends, and changed them more often than not.

As years passed by, I found it more and more difficult to cope with my feelings. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I was longing to return to the time when I was younger and didn't feel like that.

When I was 10, I took an interest in reading. Reading requires a lot of attention, especially when you're a child. When you're reading, it is impossible to think about anything else. I read about one book a day. Every time I had nothing to do, I would read. I read before school, I read between classes, I read at home until I fell asleep. I just couldn't stop reading.

At that time, my parents decided to make me take a test which showed that I was a precocious child. Then my mother decided to make me see a therapist, because the test had also revealed I was very shy. But I couldn't talk. And since my mother had told me I was there to talk, I felt guilty for not talking.

There were moments when I couldn't read. I couldn't read at night. I had problems falling asleep because I was so stressed about school. I cried every single night of the school year. The thing which strikes me is that even though I was crying because of school, the only thing that raced through my mind when I was crying was: Why is everyone leaving me? I now understand that it only was my unconscious feelings being triggered.

I hated school because I couldn't read during classes (which bored me since I already knew everything the teacher was saying). I hated it so much I started wondering why I had to go to school. I had to go to school because it was necessary to get a diploma. Getting a diploma was necessary to get a job. Getting a job was necessary to make money. Making money was necessary to buy food. Eating was necessary, because if I didn't I would die. Yes, I was quite a Rationalizer back then.

That's when I stopped. If I didn't eat, I would die. The next question had to be: why do I need to live? I wrote down this question, and realized I couldn't find the answer. I had no reason to live. Whether I lived or not wouldn't make any difference. Except that if I died I wouldn't have to go to school anymore. I started wanting to die, badly. But I couldn't bring myself to do it, because I didn't even know how I could kill myself. On a side note, I have to say I'm glad my parents forbid me to watch TV or play video games, because if I had known how people kill other people, I would have tried it on myself.

At that time, I had made up an image which I find very interesting today. I had imagined that I had a bomb inside of me. Every time something bad happened to me, I put what I felt in that bomb, and the bomb grew bigger. Then, when I would really be pissed off, I would be able to detonate the bomb, and kill all of those who hurt me. But the bomb was never big enough, I always decided to keep it for later. I always find it funny when I read about people who 'bury their feelings'... I did it before even knowing what it meant. Now, I have to defuse the bomb. Little by little, I am uncovering all of those feelings.

Things started to get better for me when I entered middle school. I was sent in a school for precocious children, and all of the other children were just like me. It was incredible. Plus they were all better than me, knew more things than I did. I realized I still had countless things to learn. I realized teachers knew things I actually didn't knew. I didn't need to read so much anymore, I wasn't bored by everything anymore.

Things still weren't perfect, and I still felt down from time to time. But I had found people I could talk to. At that time, I didn't felt like I needed my parents' approval anymore. If I wanted to do something, I did it. What they thought mattered to me, but if I thought different I would always do as I thought.

Unfortunately, I still had problems to cope with my emotions. Every time something was too much, be it a good or a bad thing, I couldn't stand it. I started injuring myself. Every time I was feeling something I couldn't stand, I would cut my arms or legs with a Stanley knife. They weren't deep cuts, all I wanted was to feel this stinging pain which makes your brain produce a load of endorphins. I became addicted to this feeling.

NOTE: There is more to this story. It was too long to include on one page and it is too good to edit -- So, for Part II copy & paste the following link into your browser's address bar:

http://www.internet-of-the-mind.com/dont-give-up-hope-part-ii.html

Comments for Do Not Give Up Hope - PART I

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Jan 02, 2010
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WOW!
by: mxkx

Except for a few details, you sound EXACTLY like I was growing up. It's kind of creepy because I've never seen ANYONE come so close to being like I was.

I want to say more but right now I'm just floored over the fact someone out there knows what it's like to do things like read from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep... make friends that are funny and sociable hoping they would rub off on you some only to find those friends abandoning you for more "interesting" people... the self injury... the inability to eat... the imaginary friends... the overachieving in school to make people happy only to find this effort becomes something normal that you're just expected to do... just... wow.

I look forward to reading part 2 of your story!

Jan 02, 2010
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Inspirational!!
by: Don Carter

There is more to this story -- It was too long to include on one page and it is way too good to edit -- So, for Part II copy & paste the following link into your browser's address bar:

http://www.internet-of-the-mind.com/dont-give-up-hope-part-ii.html

Thanks, Mary! Your sharing, courage, and creativity in survival are inspirational to us all!!

Don

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