For the first time since my Dad died I dreamed about him last night. It had been bothering me as I had dreams about both my parents before they died and I had dreams about my mum after she died. My Mum and I had a ‘difficult’ relationship; I wanted to be loved by her but didn’t feel loved, I loved my Mum but didn’t know how to love her how she wanted me to love her. For many years I felt so much anger towards my Mum because I never felt good enough for her and yet I don’t know how my Mum felt because we couldn’t communicate. Add into the mix that when I was in my twenties my Mum told me that my parents had included my son in their wills.
That may seem an odd sentence but I won’t expand as it’s not relevant to this blog.
After my Mum died over six years ago I soon started dreaming about her regularly. I found it wierd as we were talking and being completely normal in our relationship. Some time after her death I found out I had been written out of her will and my son wasn’t even mentioned. It didn’t bother me that I had been been hurt that my son wasn’t even mentioned even though legally he wasn’t entitled to anything anyway. It was the simple fact thar nobody had bothered to tell me.
It has been almmost four months since my Dad died and I was struggling a bit because I hadn’t dreamed of him. I loved my Dad so much even through the years I was very angry. What kept me going was that assurance he had died the way he wanted to at home and suddenly. It was one of those things that came up quite quickly with my sister and I wish I could have been with her when she found our Dad.
My sister and I had distanced ourselves from each other due to not being able to talk about what really matter and misunderstanding. If only I could turn back the clock and been completely honest with my sister and maybe our future would have been different. She is my sister and I love her more than she will ever know. I hope one day she will understand me better and how depression shaped my life due to being too ashamed to talk about it
It’s hard to explain the profound pain behind why I suffer with depression. There have been times when I start talking then end up crying because I can’t articulate why I’m so sad.
When I was very young I was happy and have happy memories. It started when I was about 12 / 13 years old that I noticed that comments were made comparing me to my sister who was ‘perfect’. Except she wasn’t. When my sister was 15 years old there were issues and I was expected not to tell anybody. I didn’t. I wanted someone to talk to. I didn’t have the courage. I was also caught in the crossfire. My parents wanted me to tell them what my sister said and did. My sister wanted me to tell her what our parents said to me. I didn’t want to take sides. I became very quiet. I learned to be a diplomat at 12 years old.
Life was emotionally painful. I had to grow up quickly. A child shouldn’t be put through that or walk on egg shells. It affected my school work although I managed somehow to keep up with my grades. Only once did I go into trouble over my behaviour. It was in a Spanish lesson when I was about 15 or 16 years and I asked to respond, in Spanish, to my teacher. I said what I believed to beright but too quietly for my teacher then I froze as I thought I was wrong, She got annoyed and told me to stand outside the room until the lesson was over. When I went back in the teacher wanted me to have a chat with her as she knew something had to be wrong for me to behave out of character. I burst into tears and just said I was being put under a lot of pressure as my parents wanted me to do well in my exams and was constantly compared to my sister. My teacher suggested I told my parents how I was feeling but I told her I tried and my parents wouldn’t listen. She said she would talk to my parents. That made want to cry again and asked her not to because my mum would be angry for telling anybody negative so I would try to talk to my parents. I didn’t. The subject never came up again.
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life.
This post is specifically to do with the reason why I suffer with PTSD which is to do with adoption. Unfortunately adoption isn’t seen, by professionals, as a course for PTSD.
It makes sense to explain what adoption has to do with why I suffer with severe depression as well. I have suffered with depression since I was 12 or 13 years old which I didn’t realize at the time. At the time I didn’t understand why I was so sad often nor could I have explained why I was sad. My life was good, I had friends, there was no need to be sad. I should have had the courage to speak. I started having suicidal thoughts which horrifies me as an adult that I was feeling like that and never had the courage to tell someone.
I found out I was pregnant after a long term relationship ended. For reasons that now stay in the past I continued with the pregnancy with the intention of raising my son. This didn’t happen and my parents chose adoption. Nothing was discussed but plans were made and I didn’t know what to say or what to do to stop it. When I saw a social worker after I had my son on the 3rd August 1981 I told her I didn’t want him adopted. Promises were made however she did persuade me to let my son go into foster care in case I decided adoption was the best option. My one act of defiance was to go and see him in the nursery and to hold him for a while which I have always been glad I did. I was in hospital for about a week as I was ill so asked to see my son again but was told I was too ill to see him. I left hospital never seeing my son again.
The following weeks were unbearable and I emotionally shut down as I believed I had no one to talk to. Nobody to understand how I felt, I was wrong to be feeling the way I did. Others knew what was best for me, for my son.
I was suffering with post natal depression which wasn’t treated. What I didn’trealize was that I was now suffering with severe depression as well. Over the years I went through cycles of coping, being severely depressed, suicidal (including suicide attempts) and self harming. I had emotionally shut down so ‘put on a mask’ and was in denial.
For the next 23 years my son wasn’t talked about although I never forgot about him. I got married on the 20th November 1993 although, sadly, we haven’t had any children. In early 1999 I had a falling out with my family. In the August my son started searching for me and found my family quite quickly. However by this time I had moved so they quite honestly told him they didn’t know where I was.
In late 2001 I got back in contact with my parents as I felt it was time to try and bridges as they were elderly and frail. In August 2004 my husband and I thought it would be fun to join Genes Reunited which is a British based site for people researching their family trees. After I had put all the details that I could I realized my details had been entered by my son. He was a member using the names I had given him. I messaged him without a second thought then panicked about it. He responded quite quickly. I was very upset to find out that my parents hadn’t told me that they had contact with him or let him know where I was.
What I didn’t know was I suffer with PTSD due to the trauma of my son being adopted. It hasn’t helped that I found out my son’s adoption was / is illegal. I have to live with this as I can’t change the past. My mother died on the 1st April 2011 and we never talked about the time from my son’s adoption up to reunion.