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Trauma, caregiving


Voices of Therapy: Three

In one of our therapy sessions, while we were talking about some of my childhood experiences, a memory popped in my head. 

To give a little context, I was born to a mother diagnosed with schizophrenia, and she has had episodes of hallucinations as far as my conscious memory goes. This is probably the one I remember as my earliest conscious memory that I can recall - walking to my KG school, with my mother, while she was yelling something to some entity on the road, which I think, I knew didn’t exist. I also remember seeing some eye floaters while looking up at the blue sky - I was wondering if I was the only one seeing them. They seem like some kind of parasites sometimes. I thought, if the eye floaters were something that happened only to me - then maybe, everyone has their own little issues and they are all real, and they all need to be taken care of. I had to, in my own ways, take care of my mother, and her hallucinations. Although I did had the support of my father, but it was limited to as long as he is in the immediate vicinity of me & her - for all other times, I had to be my own. 

I was taught to take care of my mother & keep her tethered to reality, keeping her constantly verbally engaged with questions of immediate physical reality every minute - lest she starts speaking to her imaginary people, her floaters. But now, at 29, as an adult living in a constant questioning of the self & my reality, and a few trauma bonds later, I became tired & exhausted with the idea of living. Somehow, I eventually decided to engage with therapy. 

So after a few sessions, when we decided to work on some of my childhood memories, this memory of me walking with my mother to the school came back - but together we were reassessing what it meant, what it felt like & what we could do now.In my own time, I was also reading a little on my own about various ways of dealing with issues that stem from events in childhood, and how one may try to care for a younger version of oneself & help oneself in the present.

So, during the session, when we were talking, an image started forming in my head - a mild change, or addition, to the memory of the event. I was now imagining that I could see a large, giant eye witnessing me from the sky - a universal eye that could witness it all; an eye that was recording my existence, without judgement. In an odd way, I could feel, that if there was something that was seeing it all, then the burden of proof of reality was lifted away from me. I no longer had to worry that I was in this constant need of proving to everyone that my reality is real - my own belief was enough - and handling other’s burden of realities, wasn’t really my own issue, my burden. 

Although learning, unlearning, relearning & therapy is a journey - within that moment, I was able to come to a realisation that I hadn’t had in many decades. I was walking with the burden of trying to solve problems that weren’t completely in the scope of my existence, in a way that made living harder for me than it had to. Later that week, I sat down with my pencil & brushpens, and drew the image in my head in my drawing journal. That is the image attached alongside here.

Rahul, 29

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