PHOTOS BY CARLA MUNDY
I have touched on my depression and anxiety regularly here on LFTN and how I deal with it, but they are simply short term solutions. There are reasons why I have these feelings and it’s because of my past and the demons that have formed from it. You can’t deal with all of your problems simply with a cup of tea and a good movie (although it helps).
ABOUT MY PAST & HOW MY DEMONS FORMED
Six – Twelve Years
Before I start, I just want to point out this may get a little long and quite personal which is why I’ve split it into two (My Past and My Demons & Overcoming My Demons). However, none of this is a secret. This is something I have never been shy talking about because I want others who have been through the same thing to be able to talk about it openly too.
My parents were divorced when I was about five or six. A new man had come into my Mum’s life and I’ll be honest when I say that he scared the shit out of me. He was a manipulative, angry, clever and frightening man who would bully and emotionally blackmail me.
Of course, I wanted to tell people about him locking me in cupboards; hitting me; shutting me outside in the rain like a dog; dragging me through parks in the middle of the night… And I did, I was brave. But I was seen as an attention seeking liar and Daddy’s girl who was bitter about her mother finding someone new.
He was so good at hiding his abuse that no one believed me. He was a smart and charismatic man. My mother’s love for him was blind. They had the same taste in music. He had wonderful knowledge and a great taste in movies. He liked photography, sports and culture. So, I don’t blame her for being blind to it. I mean, not even social services saw through his act. I think the only person who did, believe me, was my Dad. But there wasn’t much he could do after he and Mum split.
I think a huge part of Mum’s dependence on my stepfather was due to the fact that she was diagnosed with MS which was only getting worse and worse through the years.
My stepdad made me feel like a failure of a daughter. I wasn’t allowed to spend time with friends because I should’ve been caring for my mother.
There was no confidence in me, no self-esteem and would cry at the smallest cock up on my part. I was nothing, scum and gormless. In fact, my nickname was Gorm. He was even able to manipulate everyone who should’ve looked out for me, including my babysitter.
He would get a school ‘friend’ to hit me, call me names and she said nothing to anyone. She watched and laughed while I was locked away, tied up under the stairs. She let my abuse happen. I was failed by almost everyone.
Amy was the only one who was by my side. But sadly my mum couldn’t handle Amy’s emotional outbursts. A trigger from the abuse she had witnessed and was beginning to receive herself. Her desire was to do nothing but escape the mental torture being thrust upon her at a very young age.
She moved in with Dad and was able to enjoy her childhood while I watched from across the street. At eleven or twelve I was on my own, with friends I could never see, hidden bruises and a fragile mind and heart.
Twelve Years Old
I eventually gave up on the being a slave in my own home, being emotionally blackmailed by a man who wouldn’t feed my mum anything other than kebabs because of his own laziness. I was sick of being woken up in the night with abuse and threats; being pushed, shoved, squeezed until I couldn’t breathe – all hidden as a sign of love and affection. I was bored of the apologies and the ‘treats’ that followed. Felt sick of watching Guy Fawkes every year being told, ‘That’ll be you shortly.’ Tired and emotionally unable to put up with it.
Finally, I told my Dad and stepmother (who was considerably nicer, freer, more laid back and generous) about everything saying how I wanted to leave home. I wanted my childhood that I had missed out on for six years. There was a feeling of relief as we planned my escape. But it turned out Mum wasn’t overly concerned. I knew she had been completely blinded by his words.
I didn’t talk to Mum for about a year because of it. And whilst that year went on the police were wrongly called on me, claiming I had been vandalising their home; I was stalked, grabbed and abused in public on the way to school (luckily a teacher witnessed it). Panic attacks occurred each time I saw him. It was incredibly difficult considering I lived across the street from him and my mum.
But I was free and I was happy to be with my family. I spent a lot of time with my friends, I was able to enjoy music, films and being able to be who I wanted without being made to feel awful about it.
Fourteen Years Old
I believe I was fourteen when Mum kicked my stepdad out of their new flat – a dark and miserable place in which he made no effort to brighten up for her. He began to work his mind tricks on her, leaving her alone, stealing her disability money and making her feel worthless too. But she wasn’t having it and she had the strength to understand and see the light.
I stayed with her for a while, making amends and telling her everything all over again. Needless to say, she felt awful and felt to blame.
Mum’s MS was severe by then. She was registered blind, wheelchair bound and had very little use of her hands. I think MS made her realise a lot of things which she hadn’t really noticed before. But he was out of our lives. Amy and I had our Mum back (and we’ve been closer ever since).