The poem that is at the end of this post is how I felt the day that I told my Mother what my psychological diagnosis was. Please note that this was how I felt then. The way that I feel at this time in my life is no where near the same as what I felt then.
I was so scared to tell my Mother for fear that she would disown me. To my knowledge no one else in my whole family had ever been given the same diagnosis. Granted, like most families, there have been others with mental and emotional problems, but none with any like mine.
My great grandfather was kicked in the head by a horse and as a result “lost his mind”. At least that is how it was passed down the through the family. As I was not even born at that time, there is no way that I can back up the statement, and by the same token, there is no way that I can dispute it.
My grandfather on my Mother’s side had hardening of the arteries and did not know what was going on around him and had to be committed to a long term mental institution for the last few years of his life. He had gotten to the point that he would go up to people at the bus stop and ask them for change. He did not know that he was doing anything wrong. Needless to say the people at the bus stop were afraid of him and reported him to the police.
I have to give some background here. My grandfather was probably a genius. He was the Post Master General for his city, was a 32nd degree Mason, was a member of the Tall Cedars, and was also a member of The Odd Fellows Lodge. He was very talented also. He drew pictures that were absolutely magnificent. Another of his talents was being able to take small, miscellaneous objects, that were not broken, such as peach seeds and small combs, and make many different objects out of them, The combs were transformed into many different types of fish, and peach seeds were transformed into small animals, such as monkeys. Grandpa could be walking and find little twigs and pick them up, and then transform them into different types of snakes. I have many of the little objects in a safe place to this day. I do not have any of the pictures, only the little objects and snakes. What I am trying to show is how intelligent my Grandfather was before he was struck by the hardening of the arteries.
There have been a few family members that have had nervous breakdowns, myself being one of them. But the diagnosis that I received was even worse than any of these, as far as I was concerned. Due to all of the abuse that I received, I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and my mind splintered. As a result of the splintering I became a person with a Multiple Personality Disorder.
When I first received the diagnosis, I did what most people do, I went into a state of denial. I had never heard of anything like it and did not believe that it was possible. There was no way that I could have known that some of “the others” had come out in the psychologist’s office and in the psychiatrist’s office. After their visiting with the doctors a few times, the doctors told me my diagnosis. Needless to say I was scared half to death.
At the time that I was diagnosed, there were not too many people with the same diagnosis. The fear and disbelief that I had just fueled my confusion as to whether or not to tell my Mother, or anybody else for that matter, what my diagnosis was. One thing is for sure, I did not tell my Mother until after I had told my older brother and my sister. And even then, it was quite a while later before I did tell her.
When I first had to seek treatment for all of the abuse, it was over 20 years after it had started happening, and 20 years after it had actually stopped happening. At that time, I blamed my Mother for it because she never believed me when I told her that something was happening to me. As a matter of fact, she just pushed me away. That was the main reason why I was scared to tell her. I was scared that not only would she not believe me, but she would also disown me because of the rare diagnosis. Luckily, I could not have been more wrong. She actually cried when I told her.
Because of how I felt during the therapy, there are many poems that I wrote that put my Mother down for the things that happened to me. I have since come to realize that my Mother did the best that she could under the circumstances. She did what she had to do to keep a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, and clothes on our backs. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s it was hard for a divorced woman with four children to be able to make ends meet period. But for her to consider getting a second divorce was not something that she could do, if we were to be able to have a place to live. Obviously, I have forgiven my Mother, and love her more that she will ever know. My greatest regret is that I don’t live closer to her so that I could visit her more often. We live 675 miles apart. As it stands right now, I have not seen my Mother and family since 2006, and that’s a long time.
Because I do not want my suffering to have been in vain, I am going back and taking certain of my poems at different times and expounding on them and sharing what my experience has been with going through the healing process. I want others that may possibly be going through the same or similar abuse as what I went through, to know that it is possible to go through a living hell and come out on the other side victorious.
I just hope that by reading about what I went through, you will have some hope and faith that you too will be able to emerge victoriously on the other side. It won’t be easy. As a matter of fact, it will be like you are going through hell again when you do get help and start going through the therapy to get over the abuse. However, you do have one advantage over me, now there are safe places where children that are being abused can go to stay until they get over what has happened. There were no such places when I was going through all the abuse. But, I have made it through to the other side, and I have not been arrested for anything and have not harmed any other people, giving the excuse “I was abused by them since I was a child.” And if I must say so myself, for all that I have been through, I haven’t turned out too bad, as a matter of fact I have turned out pretty good.
WHEN I TOLD MY MOTHER
Today I told my Mother what my diagnosis is,
And then I waited, and listened to what she said.
She didn’t react the way, I was afraid she would.
She really surprised me, when she took it so good.
But I should have known not to get too happy too fast,
That my Mother’s outright acceptance wouldn’t last.
Once the questions started, I thought they’d never stop.
I finally said “I don’t want to talk”, because I was getting too hot.
I was feeling the anger and rage building up within,
And I knew this meant my sleep before my work would end.
But I continued to lay there quietly in bed,
Trying to sort out what was going on in my head.
Then I decided to go on and get back up,
And just get ready early to go back to work.
As I was in front of the mirror washing my face,
I found it hard to believe what was taking place.
As I was looking at my reflection,
I began to really notice my complexion.
I couldn’t believe it when it came to me,
The person I saw in the mirror was pretty.
Pretty is something I have not felt I was,
And when asked, Why?, all I could say was “Because!”
What has mainly helped to ease the pain,
Is I finally felt it when my Mother said, “I love you just the same.”
All my life I have felt they were empty words,
But today they seemed to take away the hurts.
October 21, 1989