Story by "Bev"

 

I was the sixth child.  My brother was born 18 years earlier and two boys and two girls died in infancy before I was born.  My mother did not want another child because she could not bear another loss.  Nonetheless I was conceived and in spite of her efforts to abort, was born healthy.  She hovered over me.  In fact one psychiatrist said it was smother love that I received.  Each sniffle, or pain became a death knell in her mind.

When I was seven, I needed my tonsils out.  She would not agree to having it done in the hospital because her children had all died in hospital. I had mine removed on the kitchen table with ether.  I suspect it was poorly administered since there were no equipment to monitor.  It was horrible for me and the awful smell lingered in the house for days.  It was then I felt unreal.  I never truly awakened.  In November my dad had a fatal hemorrhage and two years later I witnessed my mother beaten by her mother and niece.  The dp was more intense.  School was a nightmare.  My mother said it was nothing and I would be fine.  I was an A student in spite of dp. 

I graduated and since we could not afford college or university I began work. At age 18 I saw the first of many psychiatrists.  None understood dp.  I was hospitalized, assessed, had shock treatment and medication.  I was much worse, but continued to work.  No one knew what was happening to me because I had learned to act.  I never met anyone who said they felt unreal, so I assumed I was alone.

I wanted to die but could not give my mother more pain with the loss of another child.  I married, had children and completed my education in this haze called living. 
 

I am now in my 50s and some meds help, but I still live in this shadow of life.  Not until I punched in the letters

d e p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n on my computer did I realize I was not alone.  I have coped because I had to for my mother, husband, children and now grandchildren.  Do I still think I am insane or going that way. Yes.  Would my friends and family think so.  No.  They see me as a normal, competent individual with a terrific sense of humour.  I have been a social worker for many years and an author.  I am currently working on a book.  Does any of this give me pleasure?  Only in terms of how much I can escape the pain of dp. 


 

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