The loss of innocence

It’s been awhile, too long, since I wrote a blog post. I am in a weird head space of late. I’m feeling nothing but feeling everything, all at the same time. I am mindful that January is my most difficult month. Many of my emotional traumas occurred during this month, and I guess I still have an anniversary syndrome of sorts. At the same time, one of the best things ever happened to me this month, and that was the birth of my second child. He was to be a February baby, a birthday present for my mom, whose birthday is the day before his due date. But he decided to show up early. That’s just how he is. He does things in his own time.

Despite my love for my youngest child, January is still difficult. It’s really the only time I cry over losing my paternal grandfather, even though that was 26 years ago. God help me if I hear “It Is Well With My Soul” during this time. It was his favorite hymn and makes me cry every time I hear it. I know he is in Heaven with my other grandparents, looking down on us, but it’s not the same.

The absolute worst thing that happened in January and what the majority of my friends and family don’t know the details of is that I was sexually assaulted by my then boyfriend in January 1992. He was emotionally and somewhat physically abusive and caused so much damage to my psyche that I ended up being admitted to a psychiatric hospital because of severe depression. I don’t remember every detail, being that it happened when I was 17, but I still remember enough of what happened. I also still get flashbacks when I drive past the street where he lived and when I see someone who looks like him out and about in my hometown. My logical mind says this is all completely ridiculous to still be concerned with so far after the fact, but something important was lost, my innocence.

The power of the loss of innocence cannot be measured. It hardens a person’s heart. I lost the love of my life due to my unwilling heart. I don’t think I ever allowed myself to love someone else fully, though I did come close. I think it was also the beginning of a long line of bad relationships. It didn’t help that my self-esteem was nonexistent for years. I wanted and still want to be loved.

I often feel broken because of my life’s experiences. Having bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder doesn’t help in any way. I was diagnosed with clinical depression after that event. I would go on to have two additional inpatient hospitalizations. I finally got the correct diagnosis at age 34 of Bipolar II Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It was both a relief and shock to receive those diagnoses. The stigma associated with mental illness plus my barely existent self esteem made life pretty difficult. I married a man I never truly loved, but have two beautiful children because of him, who are the joys of my life. He also tore me down, emotionally. The verbal, emotional, and financial abuse was almost as bad as being sexually assaulted. Having the very thing that stigmatizes you then be used against you is immensely hurtful. I stayed because I thought it was the right thing to do, but in reality, I should have left a long time ago.

So here I am, at 41 years of age. I am a mother to the two coolest little boys on the planet. I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish in my career as a RN. We have a lovely house in a lovely neighborhood. Although my youngest has autism, I have never seen a child with such unbridled joy. My 8 year old is very sensitive and shy, as I was when I was a child. I just hope he can avoid the genetics of bipolar.

Something is missing, however. Maybe I will never be loved again. That thought hurts me to the core. I would like my children to experience what it is like to have a great dad, a loving dad, an involved dad. I would hope that my children and I are worthy of that. I can’t say that I don’t have any regrets, because I do have many regrets. I miss my innocence most of all.