Because Mom has Centrelink now, I’m not having to fork out enormous amounts of money for her every week and could finally afford a psychology appointment with “Lana”.
Thank you, Abba Father.
Lana asked me to talk about my life from the very beginning so we could ‘flag’ the hard and hurtful times I’ve been through and in our next session (I feel STOKED to afford sessions again, this is brilliant) we could talk about those times in more detail.
Yes. This is what I want.
“So…we’ve got an hour, let’s work from your childhood – say, 2-3 years old through to when you were 18…ok?”
I can’t remember a lot of my childhood before I was 5 years old, so I started with overhearing my parents wanting to give me away. I talked about the blatant favouritism in the way my parents treated my brother and I…I was the servant, Jay was the King. Jay still IS the King. I grew up feeling worthless and unwanted. Unloved.
“Oh no…oh Janet – that must have been so awful” Lana’s kindness made tears fill my eyes.
Yes, it was.
We talked about when I went to school, I was picked on as the only black child in a majority of white children. I told Lana about children touching me and pretending to be filled with “nigger germs”, calling me “ugly” and “dirty”. I told Lana that even to this day, if someone lends something from me, I wipe it first on my shirt to ‘sanitise’ the item from my ‘germs’ before I give it to them.
“Oh Janet…” Lana tutted her sympathy.
This was turning out to be harder than I thought. I was crying a lot and we were only at my 8-year-old self.
I told Lana that I figured out how to be as pleasing as possible to dodge bullying at school and dodge being unincluded at home. I also found out that humour quickly diffuses a situation so at school, I gladly fit into the class clown. It stopped the bullying in it’s tracks.
Into my early teens and I kind of glossed over them and didn’t really think about them, except to say that I became quite popular for being “bubbly” and “loads of fun” to hang out with. Whenever I threw a house party, everyone wanted to be on the invite list. I felt pretty proud of that.
I remember always having a boyfriend and even when I had a boyfriend, I had 2 or 3 guys I was flirting with and keeping interested as ‘plan B’. I don’t know why – in one way, I liked having a boy interested in me, it fed my ego and in another way – I was running from who I really was by morphing instantly into ‘the perfect girlfriend’ for whoever I was dating. If he liked motorbikes, then I did. If he was into sports, I’d watch faithfully with him. I was ‘someone else’ so much that it covered the pain of being myself. It was a welcome distraction.
We talked a bit about me moving on in my life from 14-18 and just enjoying being popular and hanging out with my friends. When I look back on my life, the best times I had growing up where when I was with my friends.
We still had 40 minutes of appointment left so Lana laughed and suggested we keep going through my life. Lana has a nice laugh – a joyous sound and I was blessed that she seemed interested in my life.
I told her about meeting Gavin when I was 19 and how he slowly controlled more and more of my life until 100% of what I said, did and even ‘thought’ had to be approved of by Gavin before continuing. He controlled my money, my text messages, my very being. Gavin ‘escorted’ me everywhere…for 3 years I forgot what it was like to have any sense of freedom or agency. I just…seemed to be whittled away like a woodcarved bird…until there was hardly any of me left. Gavin consumed me.
I was the frog in a pot of water that doesn’t realised it’s getting boiled until it’s too late.
Gavin used to hit me, lock me up, starve me…it was a horrible existance.
So when Jonathan came along and was GENTLE, I let his quiet voice, his Godliness (he was the son of a Church Pastor) and sweet nature control me in new ways, I guess. Jon asked to marry me and I accepted even though I wasn’t attracted to him and didn’t really want to marry him.
I just wanted to feel safe with a guy…so I settled for Jon.
At 25 I was walking down the aisle on my Dad’s arm with my fingers crossed. Hoping. Wishing. Praying it was going to be okay because Jon was such a good man and that was something I felt I really needed in my life. Especially after Gavin.
At 32, I saw Matt on Facebook and time stood still. I hadn’t mentioned it to Lana earlier and will probably have to ‘touch on it’ (Lana likes to use this phrase) in future psych appointments – but yeah. When I saw Matt’s profile on Facebook, I knew my life was never going to be the same.
Messaging turned into phone calls. Phone calls turned into flights. Flights turned into sex. Sex turned into me asking Jon for a divorce and I moved back to Australia and into my very own apartment in the city centre.
My early 30’s were the best years of my life. If I could have a “Groundhog Day” (have you seen that movie?), I’d be 32 over and over again. I loved every single day – even the tear-filled ones. I would love to feel that confidence and that deep joy again. I wonder if it’s possible to find it at 45?
“So, we can flag that when you were 5, you were neglected and emotionally abused in your family. We can also flag your abusive relationship with Gavin as another trauma. Are there any other big events that you can think of that have affected your life?”
Being sexually assaulted in Bali when I was 13.
How did I not mention that?
“Janet, I really think you have PTSD…can we do a quick test for it?”
I did the test and scored highly. Some part of me was very proud of my high test score. Weird.
“Your test shows you’re suffering from PTSD, Janet” Lana informed me.
I was surprised by that.
“This explains a lot of your suicide attempts and how you’re suffering such severe depression and anxiety” Lana informed me.
Well. Okay then.