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3 years locked in a room (kind of) as a kid...then i found booze: my story

Discussion in 'Childhood' started by Faustino, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Faustino

    Faustino Member

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    @Still Standing You don't know how helpful that reply of yours was. Yes, discarding and decluttering has framed it in a very helpful way. I quoted the decluttering issue in a throwaway fashion earlier whereas I should have been paying closer attention to it...
    I think humour is everything. Lost interest in intellectual pursuits a looong time ago until I found some podcasts that wrestle with big ideas through a comedy lens and I'm reading more now than when I was studying Philosophy and Literature a couple of decades back. I need laughter to keep my mind engaged. Unfortunately much of our world manages to squeeze the funny out of everything
    @Freida That's so true! And through online interactions I've set up a real world project helping org's and individuals in the small way I can. Just need to figure out how to get a head of steam up to disseminate the idea to reach people who could benefit as I'm not too internet savvy...
     
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  3. Fadeaway

    Fadeaway I'm a VIP Donated

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    Wow, so much here to discuss once I am no longer on the road. I am in the process of moving cross country .Right now. Your statement about not having anyone to tell your story to rings so true for me.
     
    mumstheword and Faustino like this.
  4. Faustino

    Faustino Member

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    I look forward to hearing from you @Fadeaway. Good luck with that move and we'll be here when you get settled!
     
    mumstheword likes this.
  5. Faustino

    Faustino Member

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    My fourth therapy session went well. It was the second using EMDR and some very interesting things have come up. I get nowhere near emotions when I'm remembering and trying to feel things about myself as a young child. Too many thoughts going on, "I understand this because..." type cognitions explaining events and these barriers are preventing any connection to feelings; however, of all things, a character from Trainspotting has helped me loads lol. In The Blade Artist (the violent character, Begbie), remembers a scene from his childhood where the teacher and all the class mock him about his dyslexia. Pretty powerful scene because it's here where he thinks about how he can wipe those cruel grins and derisive laughter from the world's face using fists, head, knives, whatever it takes...I cried for Begbie of all people. I'm just wondering if he was such a powerful character for me because I grew up in amongst lots of violent people and I'm kind of penetrating the shell of something bigger here...
     
    Freida likes this.
  6. Faustino

    Faustino Member

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    After five or so sessions of therapy I’m seeing things quite differently. I’ve curtailed drinking during this time and I’m catching myself using humour far too often and I’m attempting to change it to incorporate some more serious communication into my life. My partner commented that I always put a comedic spin on anything I reference from my past; even my father’s informing me of the death of my mother tends to get replayed in my mind in a jokily exasperated fashion: “Your mam’s dead. But don’t worry! Here’s a key to lock yourself in your room while I bail out of your life to go to work for 12 hour shifts for the foreseeable future. See ya!” Just last week, and for the first time ever, I talked about the news I received that night as being the night I had my soul ripped right out of me. Just reframing it that way opens up powerful feelings as the former only ever got me eye-rolling at the sheer ineptitude of my father’s parenting while the latter shines a direct light on the damage done to the frail mind and spirit of a little kid.

    With the EMDR I’ve started to feel just how terrifying the emotions were surrounding the unexpected death and ensuing abyss that engulfed me during the emotional isolation and deprivation of being locked in the room, alone in the house, still shell-shocked from the death.

    Since beginning therapy I’ve tapped into the fear I had back then and actually felt some of the grief and dread surrounding life. I’ve remembered how the mechanical, empty praying started and I have a much better feel for how the whole pathology developed. Particularly powerful have been my memories of being locked in the room on cold, dark winter nights and having to go to the toilet, through an empty house with all the terrors of a freshly bereaved child, still grieving alone and in shock. Just approaching the door with no idea of what I’d find on the other side in the pitch black house where only a week earlier my mam’s dead body had been…and this was repeated upon entering every successive room…I was drowning in cortisol, barely able to breathe…and all I was doing was going to the damn bathroom. In my mental state I fully expected that I’d find, if not the devil himself then at least some corporeal emissary of his, awaiting me, sat calmly staring from one of the chairs in the living room. The worst part was always coming out of my bedroom because, to the right were the stairs, leading to the empty flat below. This dark stairwell offered impenetrable blackness and the opportunity for demonic or other forces to linger unseen was just too much for my impoverished psyche to bear. And there they were. Watching silently. Biding their time…

    I’d run back to my room, full of terror, but the fact was that even upon returning to my room, panting and almost in tears, I was still obviously far from safe because whoever or whatever had been on the stairs could be expected to now be in the room with me. So, I’d feverishly pray for safety, to thank God for letting me get back from the toilet alive. If I remember correctly, this period was the genesis of the problem and unfortunately proved to be a perfect base for entering into deeper OCD as I headed into my teenage years alone, all the while becoming further removed from any spiritual succour whatsoever. And it was only to get worse…

    My descent into hell can be easily seen and understood in retrospect. If I intuited that the prayer worked (i.e. I was still alive) then surely repeating it would be even more efficacious? And if double the praying was good then tripling it was even better. And why stop there? Five, ten, fifty prayers should be offered up to the whimsical God who took my mother…It was no time at all before every single thought in my mind was about this OCD-created God, the devil, Jesus Christ, damnation aaarrgghhh!!! Whatever other related figures a 12 year old grief-stricken, spiritually destroyed child could conjure up from the depths of his petrified soul would embed themselves in my mind, too.

    If a character on a TV series said “Goddamn” or “Jesus Christ” or took any name in vain…or raised a voice…or struck another character…or stole…this would unleash a terror in me that they’d be damned…and several months later I’d still be praying to God to forgive them, the actor who played the character, every other actor in the scene (guilty by association), expanding the damnation out to eventually include viewers and advertisers. A child’s version of fundamentalism developed in the absence of other people or family, and I’d still be praying for forgiveness on behalf of others’ souls several months later, incorporated into a by now, novel-length, litany of prayers. I would have to mechanically repeat the prayer without stuttering or losing flow until my OCD feelings were just right. And sometimes that could take hours. I might still be delivering the prayers correctly two hours after starting them so that God wouldn’t, you know, strike my dad dead as he had my mother in my child’s belief system.

    There was a never-ending deepening and expansion of the prayers without any respite whatsoever and the stress started to take its toll with relentless intrusive thoughts (internal Tourette’s that I was terrified would manifest themselves verbally). Oh my God, if I thought OCD praying was bad then I didn’t know the hell I could inhabit based on the sacrilegious barbarities a 12 year old’s mind could come up with. This was the point where I desperately wanted death. Every waking moment was dominated by profane intrusive thoughts. Every single moment. There was no escape. I really thought I was possessed by the devil and this made life, let’s say, a little tricky lol. Believing yourself to be the devil isn’t the best way to enter adolescence and adulthood so to maintain my sanity I had to up the ante on the praying even more to keep the darkness at bay. Everything was beyond me now in a “function-in-the-world” sense. I couldn’t even go out to a shop to buy a chocolate bar, say, as my sacrilegious thoughts were blazing and I was terrified of blurting them out. I shut down even further into a solipsistic mode of being, the world perpetually mediated by these twisted thoughts…Every single bit of social interaction was now something to simply survive without humiliating myself, without losing my mind and because I found myself on this precipice I just turned and ran back to my room to suffer on my own there as the world outside was too threatening.

    There was an additional dimension of suffering, too: behavioural modifications to placate a God created out of the mind of a grief-stricken 12, 13, 14 year old (yep, it went on a few years, this hellish self-abnegation business). I was so detached from reality, the social world and human relationships that the loneliest darkest corners of an unformed human mind were shaping the behaviours I felt compelled to carry out. Instead of developing as an individual through socialisation and negotiation with the outside world, communication with other people etc. I just self-abnegated in every sense. If something had the potential to bring joy, love, a smile, warmth or promised to nourish any last vestiges of what might have remained of my soul, it had to be expunged from my existence. The constantly accumulating punitive vows annihilated any remnants of life and now that I’m a little bit familiar with such themes, I can see how my dopaminergic system was systematically razed to the ground. Even stroking the family dog was not permitted as the flow of endorphins was prohibited. Like I say, complete self-abnegation all the way across every positive behaviour from the moment I woke up until going to bed at night in my empty house, having barely said two words to anybody all day. Day after day, month after month and ultimately year after year.

    I’ve referenced Dante’s Inferno in a previous post and having thought about it again, that’s exactly the place I inhabited. I simply couldn’t just “be” without being tortured by something. Every minutiae of behaviour was regimented in true OCD fashion and the assiduous praying and additional vow-making shrunk my mental and emotional world further and further every day until I was inhabiting a totalitarian torture of my soul (I out-Stalined Stalin lol on my own soul is how I put it now). It seems to me that I had to cease existing and I resolved for some unfathomable reason to cast everything good asunder to afflict myself with what I “deserved” according to my messed up rationale. And even when, on the freakishly rare occasion, I felt some serotonin coursing through my system I had to shut it down forthwith through additional restrictive prayers, as we all know serotonin and other essential chemicals for human health are not to be enjoyed by damned individuals such as my childhood self.

    Having spoken to a few friends about my story I’m shocked at how many have said they wouldn’t go public with such information. I’m not at all embarrassed by it and I think that expressing the truth can be curative in itself. Hopefully such expression will help me to reprocess the feelings of the time (currently buried away deeply), so that I can become a more functioning human being. All I want to do is to be comfortable around people so that I can add to the sum total of human well-being with a few projects I’ve got on the go and if talking about it helps me get there, then communicating about it is the only path open to me. Keeping my mouth shut about it for 33 years hasn’t fixed anything, that’s for sure.
     
  7. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    I had a really hard time putting info out into the world but I think you are right.....it is curative. Mostly because other people read it so much differently than I do.....it makes me go...hmmmmm. And yep I think it's making me healthier

    And you are amazing!!!!
     
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  8. Faustino

    Faustino Member

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    Yes, @Freida It's the process of putting it out there, being interpreted and fired back by "the village" as referenced in an earlier post that has helped me. Having everything caught up, stagnating in my own head was a huge problem.

    And thanks so much for the kind words ;-)
     
    Freida likes this.
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