‘Trying to survive the chaos…’

As a teenager, I saw the end of each day as having been another day I had ‘survived’ – survived the chaos and often the abuse.  It was exhausting.

One day, when I was in my mid-teens, I came home from school to find my step-father upstairs, laying on the bed almost lifeless – he had taken an overdose.  And thats all I can remember about it.  Nothing else.  Things had become so bad, I could disassociate without even trying and by disassociating, it meant not remembering too much about the particular incident.

One event however, proved to be very difficult to disassociate from because it spilled outside of the home.  My stepfather, in one very drunken state, told the neighbours that another neighbours daughter (who had down syndrome and other medical problems)  had died.  Everybody was devastated, and very quickly a collection/card was being arranged.   However, after only a few hours,   to everybody’s horror it was discovered that she hadn’t died, she had just been taken into hospital for tests; tests that her family knew about and were not concerned over.    The neighbours and the childs family were furious.  The problem was, people weren’t just angry with my step-father for his utter drunken stupidity, they seemed angry with our whole family, including me and my sister.  It was awful.  We were ostracised for a long time.

Interestingly enough though, even with all the chaos going on at home, I would go to school each day and most of the time managed to look happy, wear the correct uniform, arrive on time and keep up with my homework.  Admittedly, my homework wasn’t to a great standard, mainly because my head was all over the place due to the chaos etc at home.  But I did it.  Nobody guessed about the abuse that was going on – not until I decided that I couldn’t take it any more…

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