Since I’ve been blogging I’ve made a tremendous friend circle and I’m learning SO much from them. One lady I met combines trauma therapy with writing. It’s a very interesting combination and I’ve been watching her intently. So I thought I’d share my story of trauma with you in hope I gain something by writing this. My path to destruction. Please enjoy!
It was late. I had my PJ’s on after a lovely long soak in the bath. The house was a cold house and I always loved the chance to really warm myself up. Earlier I had just switched my computer off as I was told but I never really liked ending the games. The football manager games on the Spectrum were unbelievable. So addictive, so true to life. Every spare minute I had alone and not with my friends I was taking Scotland to win the World Cup. Those were the days when you could play against East and West Germany still, but the wall had fallen many years earlier.
My Mum called me through the living room to have a chat. “What have I done now?” I thought to myself as I came in with my tail between my legs, usually these talks consisted of me getting grounded for another two weeks. I was a good boy, but everyone has their moments. Anyway, they sat me down and slowly reeled off what they wanted to say.
When your Mum tells you that their partner has Cancer and that the doctors are doing everything that they can to stop the spreading, there’s nothing that you can say really. My Mums partner had been with her for a good four years now. They were due to be married soon for god sake. He was like a second father to me. He had always been there, never faulting, we had a good healthy family unit. I didn’t really understand because I was 12. To me she could have basically told me that he had the common cold and I would have reacted the same. I was told that there was a chance he could die. I sort of went numb from then. I had never been presented with this situation before and it never occurred to me that people I care deeply about and enjoy being around could die. I was in denial. He’ll be fine I thought to myself. The doctors will sort him out.
Six months later he was dead. We were alone again. Just Mum and I. Six months? Shit I mean that was barely enough time for a 12 year old to process that one of their parents had cancer. It was quick, the deterioration was heartbreaking. Mum didn’t date unfit guys. Whenever Mum dated it was always stacked guys who could bend steel. And by the time the cancer had finished with him a feather could have knocked him off his feet. I was removed from the situation and never got to see him before he passed away. But I understand that. I had school, I had a life. I wanted to hide.
He died. He was a good man. A man that stood up for principle; grounded me if I was being a little shit and praised me for doing well. Yet there is still that little part of him that exists inside of me today. I still dream of him. I still think that I’m hugging him and showing off Alex and my Wife to him, and then I wake up. I don’t feel sad. Perhaps this is the way that I remember him, in my dreams.
I was a top achiever at school. School was fun to go to; it was a way that I could express myself in many ways and socialise with a few friends. Yet when John died the “oomph” was smacked right out of me. I wish I had told my teachers. I never did. No-one knew the issues that were going on in my head except for me. I always remember maths class. In Maths I was ahead of the curriculum. We were supposed to finish everything by the first year; I had finished it before that and was onto the next years work. Yet, after John died I could remember all I wanted to do was to stare out of that damn Maths class window. I can’t ever get that damn Maths class window out of my head. Just staring. Endlessly. Into a void
That was also the year my friends and I had started to drink. Shit I would have never glugged a bottle of cider with John around. He’d have drop kicked me to the next town and rightly so, but with Mum also going through her own issues I guess I was allowed away with a lot more than I should have. Family life, it’s not as easy as you think. Drinking was a fantastic feeling for me at the start. Being absolutely out of my head I could feel no pain any more. It was bliss. It was something I hadn’t felt for a long time. The continual knot in my stomach was now a calming soothing feeling. And that continued throughout the year. I was beginning to strike up a bad name for myself.
My best friend, Ryan wasn’t always available after school. He had a life too with a girlfriend and brothers and sisters so on days like this I had to find alternative things to pass the time. And then of course I started getting close to the kids that hung around at the chip shop. It may sound friendly, but make no mistake these guys were into a lot of extra curricular activities. Here I learned to take drugs. Nothing seriously heavy but I started to get a habit for Cannabis. I even managed to secure myself a dealer that I could call on tap whenever I needed. So now I was mixing lifestyles, drugs and alcohol and often going into school drunk and stoned.
By now the bereavement was getting easier and it was the beginning of my 16th. It took about four years which is probably about right for bereavement. But I had a serious taste for alcohol and a passion for getting stoned. I was lost. My good friends, friends that gave a shit had nearly all but abandoned me, and I was left with people that only cared about drugs, alcohol and sex. But that’s fine then because that’s all I cared about too.
My Mum took it very badly; she couldn’t believe what I had become. But it wasn’t her fault, even although she still blames herself today. She did the best that she could in the circumstances we had. To be honest I needed a strong man that would come and kick me right up the fuckin arse. I was angry, I was lashing out, I craved routine and responsibility and order but I had none. So I was on the path to self destruction. I drank, I got stoned, I had house parties, I ruined Mums furniture and cutlery and her self esteem. It wasn’t only me I was destroying.
It was my Dad that saved me in the end. He did. This guy had absolutely no remorse in strong arming me down to England where he lived and beat the absolute shite out of me. Not physically obviously, but mentally. What he did worked but he went about it the wrong way. He was part of why I was lashing the fuck out. If he had just given me the biggest of hugs and held me in his arms and told me that he loved me perhaps it would have been easier to do what he wanted or needed. Anyway. He taught me a strong work ethic from there and I quit the drugs. Began strong friendships and made a life for myself.
Alcohol wasn’t an issue for Dad because he was an alcoholic himself. Quitting alcohol came much later.