Today’s session wasn’t going to be an easy one. I had to start by confessing to my suicide attempt on Friday. I knew J would be disappointed that I didn’t reach out and ask her for help before I was in crisis. And I knew I wouldn’t be able to explain why.
I’ve been feeling incredibly sad in the last few days. I’ve got this memory that’s tormenting me. It’s a happy one. It loops like a videotape on repeat in my head. My sister and I are little, probably around 6 and 8, and my mum is playing songs on the piano for us before school. I can see us both in our red uniforms, begging her to play our favourite song. It was about an otter, and we loved pretending we were otters swimming about the house while singing along.
This memory hurts. It’s gut wrenching. Because all I see in it is loss. I see a wonderful, loving mother and her tight bond with her two baby girls. I see my innocence, a carefree exuberance, a living of life by the minute and taking pleasure in my family. It’s all broken to me now. The memories, the bonds, the sanctuary in that closeness.
I talked about this with J today. She always tries to persuade me that things can change, I can adjust my relationships and rebuild them. But that’s a tall order after metaphorically throwing a grenade into my family a few months ago.
My parents didn’t know the extent of the sexual abuse my brother inflicted on me until this year. All they knew was what he admitted to them 19 years ago. One of my first steps when I was a psychiatric inpatient was to tell my mum exactly what he did. I had never said those words aloud before. Not to anyone.
It was huge for me, and I expected everything to improve straight away. I was working from the assumption that the truth would impact my parents and they would rally to support me.
At the same time, I disowned my brother and his wife. I wrote him a letter, explaining why I didn’t want him in my life anymore and offering him the opportunity to write back. He didn’t. He is so spineless that he didn’t even feel like he should give me an explanation, or at least an apology.
What made this sting more was that my parents have continued to support him. They go for days out with him, they’ve helped him find a therapist and are concerned about his welfare. I know I shouldn’t ask them to choose between their children, but their actions leave me feeling insignificant. Like what happened to me wasn’t all that bad and my brother was just being a mixed up teen.
It was that bad. It was awful. It was frightening and humiliating. It made me feel disgusting and planted a deep sense of self-loathing in me that just doesn’t shift. I try, I really try to be a good person and share my love with the world. I keep thinking I’m going to convince myself eventually that I’m a worthwhile human being. But I end up stuck in this place of feeling sad and hopeless, and desperately trying to be something better. To prove that I’m better than that helpless victim.
To make this situation even more volatile, I also broke the silence with my sister. She’s two years my junior and never knew what our brother did to me. I had always worried that he might have got to her too, so I needed to have that conversation with her. I was so relieved that she knew nothing about it. But she was horrified and shocked and now she needs some time to come to terms with it all.
So that’s a summary of why I feel stuck and sad and like I need to grieve for a family I’ve destroyed. I wanted to go to therapy today and just fall apart. I wanted to sit there, feeling safe and sob my heart out. I have a hunch it would make me feel a whole lot better.
I have to have faith that it will happen. That there will be this great shift in me and I’ll be able to let go of all that crap that drags me down.