when I was nine
‘She’s an artist. But not like one you’ve ever seen. For her canvas is her skin. And the brush a blade.’
Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Depression is different from feeling down or sad. Often leaves you feeling numb.
Usually caused by low serotonin.
Some of these medications for depression include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others. 5-HTP increases a chemical in the brain. This chemical is called serotonin.
Happy pills they call it. But I don’t believe them. They don’t work for me. Not now not ever.
How did I become like this?
Crying myself to sleep every night. Watching as my life wasted before me…
The doctors gave me pills telling me they’d make me happier. But, they don’t.
I don’t know when it started. Probably when I was nine. That’s when everything went downhill. I stopped feeling anything from then. It all built up inside of me bottling all the emotions inside of me. Not responding to anything. Smiling but never feeling it.
I went back home a couple of weeks ago. It’s been a few years since I had my surgery. It’s been longer since I’ve left home. I wasn’t the little girl my parents had brought up. I was a strange man who had similar features of her. I never told my mum about how I felt. I always repressed myself. I never came out to her.
Instead I did everything my mother asked if me. I wore the clothes she wanted me to. I did everything I was supposed to do.
But it never helped me. I bottled up everything never once uttering a word about it. Pillow soaked every morning. Dark circles forming under my eyes. The daily routine from when I was nine. Never uttered a word about what happened that day. Now I’m thinking I should’ve.
Of course I told someone. I told the closest friends I had. At aged 11 I told them both about what happened.
I learnt two things that day:
Keep everything to yourself.
And how to decipher true friends from fake friends.
One of them told their mother. That’s how it started. Then her mother told my school. Then my school alerted my mother.
I’m knocking on the door of my parent’s house. My daughter’s holding my hand. My wife standing beside me. Assuring me that everything is going to be ok.
I hear the door unlock. ‘Crap.’ I thought. I should leave.
“Who are you?” the woman at the door asks.
I don’t answer. My mouth is dry. Memories flood back to me from when I was nine. I could see the stairs my Dad used to attack me. Even if I’d done nothing he’d still drag me up by my hair and one leg. My aunt always saved me from it. Take me into her arms and let me cry into her dress.
“Hi mum.” I say looking at her. She doesn’t recognise me until she sees the tiny black spot resting on the bottom right corner of my neck. Her face showed shock, disgust and disappointment.
She never understood people like me. She thought it was all a bunch of crap. She never understood why anyone would want to do that.
I guess it was because of that day. That day from when I was nine. I remember everything from that day so clearly in detail it scares me.
I’m sitting with my brother and sister in my grandma’s room. Nine again and reading the text out loud to my teacher. He’s impressed with me. But I heard the crack of the wooden stick coming down onto my brother’s back. And the same with my sister. Both of them in pain from the last one. Not really knowing why he’d never hit me. He took my hand off the book and placed it in between his lap. I moved it away not knowing why he’d do that. He did it again though. Like before I removed my hand.
The lesson ended. My brother and my sister were dismissed. He’d asked me to stay behind and I did. The next thing I know he had pushed me to the bed. Not knowing what was happening I kicked him away and ran out terrified. Not uttering a word about what happened to my parents at all.
I came out as gay to my mum in year nine. She looked at me disgusted. So i concealed it again telling her it was a joke. I never told anyone after that. Repressing myself for a while.
I repressed it so much to the point where razor blades were my friends. To the point where I was used to seeing red every day. To the point I couldn’t move my wrists and I constantly felt numb. Therapy didn’t help. Things at home didn’t help either. The doctors gave me the ‘happy pills’ saying that only because I was 14 and they thought I didn’t know what was going on.
I met her soon later. She made me feel different. She made me feel like I could tell her anything. And I could. I wanted her to be with me forever. But i knew that wasn’t possible unless I was male.
Which at heart I was. So after I graduated university I moved out and got myself a stable job. I was referred to the surgery by my therapist and I became a guy. I married the girl that i loved and everything was perfect.
Until she said to me that I needed to talk with my parents. To meet them.
I had built myself up. All these years I had opened myself up. Only to repress that again. To tell myself I could not do it.
I was afraid for the first time in years.
She pestered me for weeks and weeks but I held it off. My new therapist gave me the ‘happy pills’ again as I needed them apparently. In the end I gave up and agreed getting into our car and drove to the house of my childhood.
Anxiety welled up inside me. My mind screamed at me to turn around and go home. But I didn’t.
So now we’re back to here. My mother looking at me disgusted and disappointed and my father nowhere to be seen. Like I expected.
Then her eyes softened and teared up. A lone tear fell down her cheek as she embraced me tightly refusing to let go.
“I missed you.” She finally said. “Girl or boy it doesn’t matter to me anymore.”
And again, the happy pills were not needed anymore.
I was free from my shackles.
Free from my past.
Free from that day when I was nine.
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