I cry for myself

September 10, 2015 § 4 Comments

If a newborn baby doesn’t see light within the first six weeks, it will go blind and remain so for the rest of its life.

The same concept applies to the human spirit and its ability to form essential connections with other human spirits.  The connections made within the first twelve months of a persons life are critical in the development of the brain.  Trauma within these early developmental years can skew the brain’s growth and abilities, resulting in a myriad of disorders and dysfunction.

Imagine if you can a baby girl that has just entered the world, moments ago.  A newborn baby is the purest form of life available to us.  Imagine that the baby is given to its mother to be held immediately after the umbilical cord is cut and the baby is swaddled.  There are tears from the mother and squawks from the baby.  The mother presses the baby’s skin against her chest and kisses its forehead, enamoured and overwhelmed by this feeling of uncontrollable love.  The nurse then takes the baby to be bathed, examined and tested.  After the nurse leaves with the baby, the mother continues to cry – and cry and cry and cry.  She does not know if she will ever see her child again.

Imagine now a young married couple, eagerly awaiting a flight from Perth to Seoul.  The flight carries twelve women who all share the same hopes and fears, excitement and terror.  They are about to meet their new babies for the first time.  Amongst them is a woman in her mid-thirties who has had several miscarriages and knows that an adopted baby is her only hope of having a family.  A day later she arrives at the orphanage where she picks up her five-month daughter for the first time.

Imagine eight years have passed.  The little girl from Seoul is now cowering in the back seat of her father’s car as it drives her home from school.  She has her knees bunched up to her chest and is trying to make herself as small as possible.  Her father’s car is swerving on the road as he tries to drive with one hand and punch her with the other.  She is crying and terrified.  When she gets home her mother opens the front door, sees her tears and asks her, “What have you done now?”  

That weekend, after spending hours and hours and hours in the bar of an old maritime club, the family is finally driving home.  It is after midnight and her father’s head is lolling around through the open car window, vomit streaked down the outside of the car door.  He is an alcoholic, a wounded war veteran, a violent, depressed man.  Her mother is a shadow of her former self; anxious and lonely.  Her golden-haired brother – a natural miracle child for her adoptive parents – always watches from the sidelines, his soft hair brushing into his blue, fearful eyes, while his sister bruises inside and outside.

Imagine the little girl as a woman now, 30 years old and married.  Despite hundreds of hours in therapy over the decades, she has tried to commit suicide once and has been on anti-depressants on four separate occasions since she was 16.  She has panic attacks and health problems, abandonment issues and anxiety.  Tears always sit just beneath the surface, ready to gush forth like blood from a paper cut.  She adores her husband but struggles immensely with his two wonderful children so she has sought out a new therapist who tells her that she has complex post-traumatic stress disorder like she were describing how to bake a cake.

Over time, her therapist tells her that the family home represents a place of fear and turmoil for her.  She tells her that her husband’s children represent a threat to her safety and her ability to be loved and so consequently every time she sees them, a deep, dark part of her brain is triggered that makes her angry, resentful and detached.  She tells her that her brain does this because it didn’t develop the way it was supposed to so she cannot form meaningful connections like most other people, she cannot experience empathy for others and cannot overcome her instinctive behaviours with reason or rationality.  Instead when these children trigger the deep, dark part of her brain, its natural instinct to protect itself and herself kicks in and she sometimes fights or sometimes flees.  Nothing else in the entire world matters to this woman other than protecting herself.  It’s how her brain was formed; it’s how she survived her entire life.

Her therapist tells her that to soften herself to life and love and all that comes with it, she must learn to acknowledge and accept.  Not judge, but just realise.  Realise what has happened to her, that the person she has become isn’t good, isn’t bad, just is.  She must acknowledge the things that have happened in her life and accept that she is where she is, instead of avoiding, instead of hiding, instead of fighting, instead of fleeing.  Just acknowledge and accept.

Her therapist asks her how she would feel about this.  Tears are streaming silently down her face and she struggles to keep her voice steady as she says that she couldn’t do it, that she just couldn’t bear it.  Her therapist motions for her to keep explaining, so she takes another moment to pull back from the brink of hysterical bawling, and says that she couldn’t bear that much sadness – to truly know all those things that happened to that little girl, to acknowledge and accept – she couldn’t imagine acknowledging that much pain and sadness and that her heart would simply break.  She would rather die under the weight of that silver ball – shiny and sparkly and so pretty but so heavy – than face the fear and pain of having to smash through the layers, risking what was at the heart of her being.Her therapist nods and understands.  She says okay, maybe not today then.  Maybe one day, but not today.

If a newborn baby doesn’t see light within the first six weeks, it will go blind and remain so for the rest of its life.


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§ 4 Responses to I cry for myself

  • chfu170996 says:

    I love the way you write! your strucutre is beautiful and it flows well to read. I write about similar things and it would mean a lot if you could chek out my blog, and maybe even give some feedback 🙂


  • Thank you for your voice:) I hope you don’t mind if I repost it for the benefit of my followers:) I’m funding the donation of a Therapeutic Adult Coloring Book for PTSD, and Adult ADHD Patients and I’d be honored if you’d post the link:) If I meet the goal, I’ll be donating copies to a local PTSD mental health organization. I’ve been an illustrator, and art therapist for ten years and I’ve seen coloring help trauma patients with PTSD, adult sufferers of ADHD, and even elderly needing to work on their coordination skills. I’m also offering several coloring templates, and color art prints of my original paintings, as well as full copies of the coloring book as rewards for my donors! Thank you so much for considering it:) http://www.indiegogo.com/project/preview/e0719bc0


  • Reblogged this on C. Real Killer Designs: Diary of a Mad Expat and World Wandering Writer. and commented:
    If a newborn baby doesn’t see light within the first six weeks, it will go blind and remain so for the rest of its life.


  • I cry for you too. And for me. Keep talking. Must keep talking about it and beat the monster that wants to keep us back from real living.


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