As I’ve mentioned, I didn’t have the easiest time growing up. My sister, who is 9 years older than me, and the oldest of 3, was incredibly abusive towards me and terrifying to live with. She has a whole alphabet soup of mental health disorders which were all unmanaged and untreated, despite my parents (seemingly) best efforts. Because I was the youngest, and for whatever other reasons she could think of at the time, I was her very convenient and easy scapegoat.
She terrorized me. She literally blamed any and everything going wrong in her life on me. Every single night was an all out blood bath screaming war between her and my parents. I just hid in my room and tried to not get blamed for anything. Many of these nights she would come up to my room anyway after she was done screaming at my parents and cut herself in front of me, saying things like “you’re the reason I do this, everything is your fault”.
So….yeah. Even if that alone was the only difficult part of growing up…it honestly would’ve been enough to mess me up Quite a bit. Which, it really did, and I can contribute a good amount of my cptsd to her. She was in and out of the hospital a lot when I was growing up, and it was always such an enormous relief whenever she would go away. It was like I could breathe for the first time, like I didn’t have to feel so afraid to just exist in my own home. The worst part was the my parents didn’t tell me she was sick until I was in late elementary school or middle school, so I genuinely had no idea that it WASN’T all my fault. After all….why else would my big sister be saying all of this to me? It was horrible. Truly.
I’ve also mentioned a genetic disorder that I apparently have. I was always in pain growing up. A lot of pain. I was very active and loved running and playing sports, but the pain began to be too much. I started developing physical deformities in my legs, and thats when the surgeries began. I’ve had something like 11 surgeries total so far. I got my first 2 in 10th grade, 2 more in 11th grade, and my 5th one in 12th grade.
They were NOT minor surgeries. The first 4 were osteotomies, so they literally would break both my ankle bones (tibia/fibula), twist them, and reattach them with screws and rods. It was brutal. I was in a long leg cast for a few months, then a short leg cast for a month after that. I couldn’t walk for years. The next 2 surgeries after that were the same thing, but on my femur in both legs
My surgeries took a lot from me. When I was 15, I had my first surgery. I had just started getting serious with my first boyfriend (don’t get me started; more on that later), and was stuck in a horrible home life that I couldn’t escape. I was just not having an easy time in general. Throw surgeries on top of it, it took away all of my escapes. I could no longer run, play sports, horseback ride, even walk. On top of that, I was now quite literally stuck in the worst place ever, my house. It really was that bad, guys. The level of abusive I had to take from her….
I was already struggling with depression and anxiety before all of this. But once the surgeries started, it really sent me into a dark place that I’m not sure I ever climbed out of, to be honest. I pretty much went through it all.
Fast forward 10 years later, we now know that it was an extremely rare genetic disorder that caused me all of these (and more) issues. My 2 children have the same thing, and their fate is worse than mine. How’s that for a gut punch.
Up until this point, I had already survived enough. I’d already been through more than a person should have for a lifetime. But really, life was just getting started, and the worst had yet to come. There’s a lot more. Things went downhill quickly. And it has taken every ounce of strength I have to even make it this for. Something I am proud of, if not occasionally resentful.
We’ll pick up next time with more fun tales from the oh so fantastic high school years! My present struggles are FAR from over, and I’m not perfect by any means, but we’ll get there in time.
Hang in there, guys. It gets better. Or at least, things change.
Life goes on.