My patient is kind enough to share her personal life for benefits of others.
Going though her difficult life make us feel so grateful with rahmah that Allah always endows us with…..
I’m XX, a 31-year-old lady from Malaysia. First of all, thank you for having me in this community. There’s no such thing of group support in Malaysia and that explains why I’m here. Since English is not my first language, please mind if I made mistakes in my writing. Also, a friendly reminder about cultural differences as Malaysia is one of Asian countries. Thank you.
My parents got divorced when I was 8, and few years prior to that, they had a lot of fights and my mom was physically abused by my dad. I never knew the exact reason of their fight because I never asked. I saw a lot of domestic violence (punching, kicking, slapping, throttling, you name it) in front of my eyes at that very young age. My mom was (and still) very dear to my older brother, but foreign to me. Maybe because I was and still am my daddy’s daughter. In my case, I was physically and psychologically abused by my own mother. Before their divorce, my dad had a habit of going out every night and that’s always left me, my brother, and my mom at home, alone. She was always hitting me for no reason. If she was beaten by my dad at daylight, I’ll definitely be her target at night. She won’t abuse me at daylight or whenever somebody’s around, and she was careful enough not to leave any mark on open spot of my body because she knew if my dad knew, she’s a dead meat. I felt safe whenever my grandma, my dad, or when someone else was around. But after my grandma past away, I lost one of my guardian angel. My mom’s treatment towards me and my brother was obviously unfair to the point that I asked my aunt whether I was adopted. I seriously didn’t feel like her very own child. My brother was everything to her while I was the only black sheep among us. Most of the time, I felt like my mom was using me as a medium to vent her resentment and anger that she held against my dad. I know she was depressed by my dad’s treatment towards her, but I don’t think hitting me (her only daughter) was a wise solution at all. One thing about my dad, he’s a very good father. For my entire life, he never hit or raise his voice against me and my brother. Although he always shows his affection towards me, but he loves and cares about my brother equally, even until today. He might not be a good husband, but he’s indeed a very loving and a good dad.
After my parents’ divorce, they sent me and my brother off to live at my aunt’s. My dad can’t acquire child custody on us because he was always on the road for 3-4 days for work. His job required him to travel a lot. As for my mom, she went to work at another state which 456km away from home. She told my aunt that my dad had threaten to kill her if she took custody on us. I knew my dad would do that, but to me, my mom was using it as a good excuse as well. I lived with my aunt for almost 16 years and never received any phone call from her. Not a single damn phone call. She did call home few times, but just to talk to my aunt or my grandpa. Early years, I would stand closed to my aunt whenever she received calls from my mom, but always disappointed to see my aunt shook her head as a sign that my mom won’t talk to me. After few times, I gave up on waiting her phone call. I grew hatred on her. Very much hatred! Occasionally she would come home for holidays but spent most of her time going out with her friends. I always hate to see her photo albums that she kept dearly. They’re full of pictures of her vacations and outings with her friends. She was full of life after the divorce. The way I saw those pictures, it was as if she was never married or had any children. I felt like a stranger to her. While away from home, she got married few times, and on her fourth, the marriage stands still until now. She gave birth to 2 boys, my half-blood brothers.
I had a difficult childhood. I can remember all my childhood nightmares but I can’t even remember my childhood memories, friends, what games I used to play, and how was my life at school etc. I just don’t understand why I could remember all those craps instead of fond memories. My cousin, who happened to study psychology, told me that I might have a memory block. She said some people might have their memories back when something or an event trigger a caused for our brain to remember. But, the case is that not all people succeed. It was like yesterday when I saw my mom got beaten down by my dad and she ran away to my aunt’s. When my dad brought her home with swollen and bruised eyes, I looked at her with sympathy but all I heard was her yelling at me saying “What are you looking at?!!”. I could remember when I watched her crying and begging my dad not to hurt her. I remember one rainy morning, I was waiting in the car when I saw my dad pinned her down and throttled her neck in front of our front door. What funny was that, their fighting was caused by one “unfortunate” umbrella. How matured of them. And also another series of their fight, I was just came back from a shop store, and saw my whole neighborhood gathered in front of my house. There were noises everywhere; people was whispering, my mom and my dad was yelling at each other, my aunts and my uncles were shouting to ask them to calm down. I saw a bunch of my mom’s clothes laying on the ground and a box of matches in my dad’s grasp. He was trying to burn them down but was stopped by my uncles and few other men. I never knew what happened next because I wasn’t there as my aunt took me away from the crowds.
When I was 11, my mom decided to move back and live in our hometown permanently. But it wasn’t her first intention at all. The truth is, my stepfather was chased down by loan shark lenders. Afraid for their life, my stepfather and my mom decided to flee to our hometown at dawn. My mom rented a house in the same neighborhood as my second and third aunts. She welcomed my brother to live with her, but never asked me whether I would do the same. My brother has been living with her ever since, while I stayed still with my aunt. When I was 12, I tried to live with my dad, but I was bullied at school and my stepmother’s treatments towards me were not good either. I think most of the cursing words I’d came to know were from her. It lasted for 6 months until I decided to run away to my aunt’s. My dad asked about what had happened but I never tell him anything even until today. I don’t want to ruin his second marriage. I never told my other family members about that bullies as well, not until few months ago when I went to see a psychiatrist. After my brother’s relentless persuasion, at 13, I decided to give it a try with my mom. I thought she had changed, but apparently not. Though there’s no more physical abuse, but psychological abuse were no less. When I asked for school allowance, she will yell at me and said she don’t have money (as a matter of fact, my brother still asked money from her until today, at the age of 34 yo, and she never ran out of money). She told me to ask money from my dad, and not from her. Sometimes, I ended up not eating anything at school because I don’t have money to buy foods. Rarely I borrowed money from my friends unless I’m sure that I can pay them back. One time and another, my friends will treat me with something out of pity. Things got easier on me when my aunt asked me to work for her on weekends. I used that salary to support myself at school. That’s how I learnt to become self-sufficient. I never asked money from my mom again. At the same time, I was struggling with accounting and additional math at school. I can’t cope with it. It was indeed a turbulent year for me and I was so depressed due to conflicts at home and school. And my mom’s unfair treatment and presence brought back my childhood nightmares to life. That same year, I attempted suicide. Few months prior to that, I bought a knife and kept it hidden in my room. I always had a recurring thought about wanting to kill my entire family, and myself after that. That night, she was so upset when my stepdad told her that I didn’t look after my younger brothers while he was busy. Due to that, she told me to leave the house. She cast me out! I locked myself in my room and was crying happily. I felt contented to make her outburst with anger. Feeling satisfied, angry, hatred, sad, determined, I grabbed my knife and decided to thrust my heart with it. I closed my eyes, but at the final moment, I was startled to hear a voice telling me not to. It was the first and the last time I heard that voice. That voice belonged to a man and I could heard him well when he said “Don’t”. I opened my eyes and looked around but saw nobody. I checked to see if my door was properly locked, and it did. I decided to re-attempt, but saw the word “ALLAH” in Arabic soon after I closed my eyes. I felt weak on my knees and dropped my knife right after that. Allah saved me that night. He spared my life that I was so keen to throw away. The next day, I told my mom that I want to quit school. She was so upset and said I’m crazy for saying something like that. My uncles and aunts showed concern and were worried about my condition. My first aunt asked whether I would like to switch school and move back to live with her again. Days after that, I told her I don’t want to go to another school, but I want to change my accounting course to art and I don’t want to live with my mom anymore.
I was 18 when I got kicked out of university after my first semester because I failed in most subjects. Law is definitely not my thing, but I didn’t want to disappoint my aunt when she applied university application on my behalf. I spent few months hanging out with my friends in university albeit I was no longer a student. But even so, I was grateful for being an introvert for some reason. Most times, my judgment surpassed my emotion. That’s how I forbade myself from social problems, drugs, alcohols, weeds, and sex. I hate to waste my time on something useless. I reapplied, got accepted, struggled for 6 years, and graduated with Master degree. I had a thought on pursuing in Ph.D. level, and then decided not to because I was tired of running away. Truthfully, university was just my escape route. That’s the only way to stay far away from my entire family. I rarely went home even on semester break because I don’t even have a place to call a home. Practically, I lived with my aunt, but she has her own family and children. Actually I didn’t stayed at the same house every year. My aunts, three of them, took turn in rotation basis in taking care of me and my brother. My brother and I, we switched house every year and that worsen my depression because I always felt like a burden my aunts shouldn’t have to bother with. When I was 25, my mom invited me to stay with her again. She had changed, but it was always awkward between us. I had a decent job after graduated but I guess, luck was not on my side. The company didn’t do well. I moved back to my hometown almost 2 years ago. I haven’t watch TV since then (lost interest in it), I changed my own phone number and deleted all contact numbers I have had except my family’s. I deleted my social network account and anything that links to my existence and my whereabouts. I hadn’t had a slight interest of the outside world for the entire year. I shut myself out from them. I spent the first 3 months never going out of the house. I was too depressed. I lost interest in most things that I used to like. My psychiatrist told me to stop withdrawing myself and that I need to reconnect with my friends. I felt a rush of anxiety at first, but I did what he told me to do.
I know I’m not normal. I always knew that I’m an introvert. But there’s so much more that I don’t quite understand of myself. I read a book called Quiet by Susan Cain. The book is like an encyclopedia of everything people need to know about introversion. Based on the book, most of my behavior signifies of me being an introvert. But most introvert don’t hate people, not lack of sympathy and empathy, not an emotional zombie, and they don’t hate social gatherings at all. When I first met my psychiatrist, he told me that I’m having a chronic depression since it’s all started from my childhood. That depression affected and shaped my entire personality. To me, it explains why I don’t want to jump into a commitment and get married, why I became an abuser myself and hit my younger brothers a lot without a slight regret or sympathy, why I always felt that it’s okay to use violence when I’m angry, why I hate most people and don’t really care if they say they hate me as well, why I hate kids because I saw my-burden-self in them, or why I was diagnosed with hypertension at the age of 20 yo. I hate my parents for turning me into this, and I hate myself even more because I let myself to. I had a boyfriend I’ve been with for 10 years, but finally I told him to find someone else because I was too scared to get married. I’m so prone to violence that I don’t think I ever want a child of my own. The thought itself makes me shudder with dread. I don’t want to create another me. Being an emotional zombie scares me the most. I remember when I thrust my brother’s rear knee with a newly sharpen pencil without being afraid, sympathy, or regret of what I did. And I was only 7 yo! His was bleeding like hell, but what I did was resharpened that pencil because the tip was broken into 2. I guess another half of the tip was stuck in my brother’s flesh. That was when I realized that anger and violence had took full control of me. When i’m insanely angry, I think I could beaten somebody to death. That’s why it’s better for me to be a loner.
Now, thinking about me and my mom’s thing, I think it’s just impossible. We’ll never get along. I feel like we’re both strangers entangled with weird relationship. I had a fight with my mom almost a month ago, it wasn’t a fight with yelling and shouting, but we’re arguing about something. I was so tired with her unfair treatment against me. I was already in my depression mode when I moved back home, but it got worse only recently, because of my mom. I had the urged to kill myself twice 3 weeks ago. Right now, I’m struggling to find a reason to stay alive. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I’m a failure, a loser who continuously fail to impress her own mother. My psychiatrist was very concern about my blood pressure because I could possibly have stroke at any moment. Lately, whenever I feel blue or can’t sleep, I will write. I reckoned writing helps in draining my energy and divert my mind for hours. I could spent 4-5 hours writing until I don’t have energy left in me. I don’t write book or novel, but precisely what I felt at that moment. And that’s why I’m here. At least, I know I could get helps and encouragement from people with similar experiences. Not from some people who said they fully understand but actually they didn’t, while in front of you all they can offer is pity and sympathy, and make judgment on you behind your back.
Depression hit me pretty hard and I thought I could survive from it again like the first time it had me. But I knew it got worse and I need help. When I first decided to see a psychiatry, I knew there’s something wrong with me. Something was missing but I don’t know what is it. I can’t describe it into words. And also it’s not normal to be overly negative. I’ve been living my entire life always blaming myself for not feeling happy, for not being like others. I used to woke up every morning feeling angry for no reason. I used to feel empty out of sudden. After few sessions of pyschotherapy and daily intake of antidepressant, I’m starting to feel like a normal human being. Of course, the journey is not easy. There are ups and downs along the way. Many times I felt sad and cried, many nights I had trouble to fall asleep. It’s definitely not easy. But I believe in the power of strong and correct mindsetting. I can’t be happy if I don’t choose happiness. The change must comes from within. Psychotherapy helps me to notice that and my antidepressant helps me to stay positive. I’m starting to read motivational quotes on daily basis for inspirations, do regular exercises to help me focus because I still need something to distract my mind, and read good books for leisure. I’m still having a hard time to deal with my emotion and difficulty to talk about my depression in face-to-face conversation especially with my family. I’m not used to inside out communication. But I’m trying. As Dr. Jonice Webb recommendation in her book stated that, though sometimes it’s hard to describe our emotion into words, we need to be aware of it so that we can decide on how to deal with that emotion. To feel makes me human and to have bad feeling is not a crime. “Don’t judge yourself for your feelings. Judge yourself for your action.” It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to shout. It’s okay to feel sad and depressed, but it’s not okay to end life. It’s okay to feel annoying, but it’s not okay to hate. That’s what I keep telling myself and how I’m living my life right now. Everyone deserve to be happy, including me. I starting to believe that. Though I’m still having regular psychotherapy meeting and consuming daily antidepressant, I could feel and see myself getting better emotionally and physically. I know I’m walking in the right path towards the betterment of my-own-self. I can’t erase my past, but rather than living with it negatively, I chose to accept it positively.
Thank you for spending some time reading this.