When I last wrote, for the very first time I put into words my first experience of sexual abuse. Putting it into words to describe it immersed me into the memory much more fully than I'd expected. I know what happened, but this time I recalled more of the emotions which came with it and remembering trying to stop him helped me to make some connections with later experiences. It's taken me some time to process things and get the courage up to write again.
I'm not one to feel sorry for myself, but I feel I should acknowledge that what I previously put down to a young developing brain or being in that moment of half asleep and half awake, could in fact have stemmed from that experience I'd blocked out; if blocking it out was indeed what I did. Since that memory came back I've always been in two minds as to whether it was blocked out or was just one of those memories that my young mind didn't see as important or significant, so it just sat in the background until it found a reference which made it relevant.
Recently I have come across studies which have found a connection between hallucinating and child abuse. I used to have hallucinations and occasionally (although rarely) still do, to a mild degree and only when I'm particularly worried or stressed. I couldn't say for certain when they started, but the hand on my leg was certainly when I was 6 or younger. They only ever happened as I was coming out of REM sleep. I'd open my eyes and it would be clear as day and never nice. I've leapt to the other side of the room before to escape things and as soon as I switched on a light it would be gone.
When I met and eventually moved in with my partner the frequency of the hallucinations dropped dramatically. I can only recall one which really scared me and that was after we'd been to see a horror movie which apparently unsettled me more than I'd thought. I think I scared him half to death!
My partner was my saviour. I sometimes wonder if I'd still be here if we hadn't met.
During my childhood I also had epilepsy. Again, I can't pinpoint when this started; but it seems likely it was after the early abuse event, although how soon after I couldn't say. Apparently when it started I was always asleep. As I got older it started to come on as I was dropping off to sleep and I would be fully aware of it, but unable to control any part of my body. What really used to scare me wasn't so much my body seizures, but my mouth and my voice. I'd be trying to call out, even cry, but I couldn't until it stopped. Sometimes it felt like I was swallowing my tongue.
I eventually went to the doctors and was put on medication. I would have been at least 7 by that point, maybe 8. I don't think it had much effect, but I did learn to recognise the feeling when a fit was about to come on and if I sat up quickly enough I could stop it from happening. They never happened when I was upright, only ever when I was on my back. In time they stopped and I stopped taking the medication.
Could the epilepsy have also been triggered by the abuse? I guess it's possible as its brain related, just like hallucinating.
By wanting to acknowledge this, am I trying to absolve myself of guilt? As a young child this abuse only happened once to me, while my sister endured two years of it. By the time it came around to my turn again I was a teen and, I thought, should have been able to deal with it and put a stop to it. Am I just being selfish to say this much harm was caused to me, when it was nothing in comparison to what my sister went through? Essentially she probably took the attention away from me. Or did my fits save me? I know that sometimes I would wake disoriented and my father would be there asking if I wanted a drink, apparently concerned about me.