I can see a little girl standing at the top of a drive watching as her family drives away. She is 10 and although surrounded by other children and teachers, inside she feels abandoned, alone and lost.
There is some excitement and curiosity inside. Not having to do the early school run through London rush hour traffic will be good. No more late marks at least. Everything is new and pristine. This is a new start. A chance to escape from the shadow that climbs through my bedroom window and crushes me under his weight. The fingers that ‘accidently’ touch me where they shouldn’t. I feel safe here. Surrounded by other girls.
I have mixed feelings about boarding school. There is routine which is good, but I feel like I don’t fit in. A square peg being forced into a round hole.
I manage to make friends but I am out of my depth too. I am not as smart as the other girls in my class. I miss my old school, I miss swimming club and my friends. I miss my bedroom and my things and I miss my family. I feel so homesick.
I don’t want to be a wimp so when I cry I just say it’s because I have a headache. Telling them all that I just want to go home is not going to change anything.
As the days and weeks turn into months and years I adjust to being away. I’m independent. I still get homesick but things are not the same when I go home. There’s a divide between my mum and dad. When I do go home the tension is thick in the air. My family is fracturing. There is a distance building and when I go home for holidays it’s hard because I just don’t really know where I fit in.
The dark shadow still comes to the house. Still takes up my mother’s time. My brother looks up to him like a big brother, but I hate him being there. I only like being at home when my dad is there. I miss him
I am 13 and a half when I leave boarding school. I am depressed and suicidal, not that I knew that this is what I am feeling. I just know that i don’t belong anywhere. I’m scared that when I go home one day that things will be so bad and my dad won’t be there any more. I don’t want that to happen. I want to be at home.
It’s almost 22 years ago since that day when I packed my belongings and left boarding school. It was a sad day. Whilst I wasn’t always happy, I got bullied and felt like I didn’t belong there. But I was safe there, I had some friends and if i could just apply myself to doing my school work as I did to avoiding it i could do well.
I was on anti-depressants and within weeks of leaving I was attending counselling. My new school was not happy. I didn’t fit in again. I was behind and the girls in my class were bitches. Very few were decent. I tried really hard to adjust, but my relationships with my mum and siblings were strained.
My parents marriage was disintegrating and the tension was worse than ever. This in part was my fault. I figured out that my dad was having an affair and that was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come home.
One night not long after I’d left my mum and I were talking and it got onto my dad. I told my mum my suspicions. I wish I hadn’t said anything at all. Things were terrible. My mum was always having a go, my sister would scream at me that she wished I’d never come home.
Six months after I came home, things were unbearable. I blamed myself for everything. I was so unhappy at school, at home. Everywhere I went I didn’t fit in, I didn’t feel safe. I felt unwanted and so alone. What was the point?
It was a feeble attempt but I took an overdose. All it did was make me sick. For a couple of weeks I stayed in my room, I barely came out even to eat. I didn’t want to see or be near anyone. I had to see a psychiatrist. But it was uncomfortable and I didn’t like her much.
Being a teenager is a confusing time and having to change schools twice in the same year, dealing with being back at home and having to commute to school had taken its toll on me. I didn’t have the words to explain what was going on in my head. I didn’t feel there was anyone I could trust. So I didn’t. I made up crap to tell the psychiatrist. It seemed easier and safer to do that.
Today I should have gone to counselling. I didn’t because I don’t feel well and couldn’t face travelling to the centre to have my session. Last week we talked about my childhood and specifically this period of my life. It hurts to talk about my mum and back then. I didn’t want to have to talk about anything. I just want to hide away.
I’m a bit stoned but because I took painkillers for my head. I feel rough. Last night I had bad dreams, I was 10 again. It was dark, I was alone and scared wondering around searching for something. Everytime I got close something or someone would get in the way and whatever it was I was searching for would be taken away. I woke up this morning with an indescribable feeling of dread. So I’ve stayed hidden, in the safety of my house. Snuggled under a blanket with a hotwater bottle hoping that I can find some energy to play mum once the kids get home.
I don’t want to be mum today. I just want to be hidden and quiet. I want my head to stop hurting. I’ve had a few flashbacks too which just makes me feel so uneasy. I would like to go back in time and protect the little girl. Feeling safe and wanted can never be underestimated.