Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse, parental neglect, talk of suicide
Not all ghosts are paranormal.
There is one that fills up the empty space of my chest and suffocates me until I force it out. It waits patiently until it finds the right moment to attack, and then takes everything I've got out of me.
His name is Childhood Trauma, and he's been with me for years. He follows me around and is a constant reminder that I can bury what happened to me as much as I want, but the effects of it will remain with me for years to come.
There is a chance I may never move on, and that Childhood Trauma will hold me down like an anchor. I don't know how to talk about it without reducing to tears, and I don't know how to cope in a way that doesn't reflect my own self-sabotage. It's exhausting to have a ghost surrounding you at all times, but especially so when you wear your heart on your sleeve, which is exactly how I am. Everyone knows what I'm thinking at all times and how I'm reacting to my own thoughts. It's tiresome, and I don't know how to stop the exhaustion from settling in.
Being domestically abused by people who were supposed to be looking out for you is a constant reminder that I was never loved like I should have been. Mine and my brothers' wellbeings were never taken as a priority, and I think I'm still upset and angry about it. I thought I had moved on with that part, specifically, but I still find myself breaking down about my mother not loving me enough, or at least, not showing her love enough. I can't listen to Kehlani's song, "The Letter", without sobbing, especially when she sings: "And every girl needs a mother / And damn it I needed you / Instead you duck for cover / And you ran from the truth".
I think it's so hard to move on from because of how society treats people abandoned or neglected by their fathers versus people who were abandoned and neglected by their mothers. It's almost as if society has just... accepted that fathers will hurt and leave their children, and it's not okay that we've accepted that as a norm. People all over are still tending to their wounds that their fathers have left behind.
And when it comes to mothers, it's as if society has everyone convinced that mothers are incapable of abusing their kids. This thought process is incredibly harmful and has real effects on people who go through this. I wish I could tell you that all mothers are saints and want the best for their children, but I can't sit here and lie anymore. Perhaps they will all say that they love their children more than life itself, but the impact has always been more important than intent. My mom never intended for things to turn out the way they did, and yet here we are.
I haven't lived in my mom's household since January of 2016, and yet I'm still suffering under the weight of what happened. Now, admittedly, it's not wholly her fault and there are other factors that are to blame for at least some of it, but it doesn't negate what she did, how she did it, or why she did it. She is at fault, and she recognizes that, but I still have the hardest time letting go of what happened.
Perhaps, the reason I cannot let go is because of the emotional impact it left on me. The physical marks she left on me healed, but I think the emotional trauma she left on me is a lot deeper than I initially thought it was.
I've been seeing a therapist regularly for going on three years. I take medication to help with the side effects of my mental illnesses. I've been away from her for three years. And, yet... the heartache lives on.
I still wake up in cold sweats. I have friends that tell me I often scream in my sleep. I have nightmares more times than I don't. I can't focus because I spend all my time thinking about it. It's taking a bigger toll on me than I expected, and I'm afraid that one day it's going to succeed in killing me like it almost did my junior year of high school.
They tell you to make peace with your ghosts, but how can I do that when he's trying to kill me? How can I move on if my ghosts attach themselves to me?
I'm on my hands and bruised knees begging for an answer.
Perhaps there isn't one.