Island

I know something is wrong with me. I don’t know how to explain it other than that this can’t be normal, this can’t be how life is supposed to be and how people are supposed to feel. Every time I’ve gone to therapy in the past, as soon as they start questioning me about my childhood and my parents and everything, I stop going. I haven’t been able to process it. I’ve been hesitant to call it trauma but increasingly I realise that it is. It was traumatic. I was just a child. I felt so grown up at times but I was a child, and everyone around me who was supposed to keep me safe, didn’t.

I went to Naples on holiday and had to wear my headphones for most of the time because all the city noise triggered my anxiety. I felt like I might have a panic attack, so I shut it all out so I could enjoy the city. I felt somehow weak or strange, that this was how I had to experience somewhere as fantastic and lively as Italy. I was slow to leave the house in the mornings, I found it hard to experience real joy. I’ve wanted to go to Italy since I was a kid. What happened?

When I search for what’s wrong with me, there are too many things that kind of fit and don’t fit at the same time. I keep trying to diagnose myself and find something to hang my hat on, but the more I look the more nervous and confused I get. I used to see things that weren’t there, feel an “evil presence”, watch the room suddenly become less and less real, as if everything had become a movie set, made of cardboard – was it all just stress induced? It stopped when I moved away from him, away from them. I don’t think I realised how bad it was. I only started seeing it when I saw other people’s reactions, when I tell people how I was treated. I told A. just one tiny piece of the story at a dinner the other night, just one small thing, and she cried. What’s going to happen when I tell her all of it? I feel so alone.

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