Last night I was laying in bed, cuddled in a favorite quilt, just starting to get sleepy while watching firelight on the ceiling (better than a nightlight!), when a memory popped out of nowhere and banished sleep for hours.
It wasn't about the sexual abuse abuse. It wasn't about the physical abuse, even, initially.
It was about my seizure disorder, and my first Traumatic Brain Injury.
You see, when I was two years old I fell off a 9-foot, un-fenced deck. I was lucky, I fell off the tiny portion that had stairs under it, so I only fell about 7 feet before fitting the stairs, tumbling the last few feet, and cracking my skull on the cement. (Somehow, there is no fear in the memory.)
I was passed out for quite a while, from reports, but even though my mother had the advice of nurses at her disposal (my aunts), she did not take me to the hospital. Several hours of unconsciousness was a welcome break from her 'bad baby' daughter, according to her. After all, through most of my infant days I had never stopped crying, always a high, fretful cry, never, ever stopping (she'd had a home birth with a self-trained mid-wife because she'd never stopped using LSD, cocaine, or heroin while pregnant). So sorry I was going through withdrawals, Mom! /epic sarcasm
I know how I had reached the subject. The perfectly innocent thought of "This SSI process would probably be going quicker if I still had an active diagnosis of seizure disorder" had crossed my mind. Given my status of no income, it's been rather heavy on my mind. But it set the stage for what happened later that night. (Seizure disorder is an almost automatic yes.)
POSSIBLE TRIGGERING MATERIAL AHEAD.
But there I was, laying in bed. And a full memory flashed into my brain, whole and complete, sound, scent, sensation, visual, emotion, and there was no escape.
I was have what I now know is a partial absence complex seizure. My mother runs at me, screaming at me for having 'that look' on my face. (I never knew what 'that look' was. I never tried to make it.) She has her favorite wood spoon in her hand. Iam terrified, because I kneo what is coming, but everything is moving in slow motion, and I can,t move. I can never move when she's yelling at me about 'that look'. I'm sitting at the table and all I can do is watch her run at me in slow motion with the wooden spoon even though my thoughts seem to move at lightening speed. Rainbows wreath everything. Why does the spoon have to look so pretty as it's coming toward my face? It's moving so slow! Why can't I get out of the way? I can see so many ways to avoid it, even though I can only look ahead!
Why is she so angry at me? I was just doing my schoolwork and looked up at the clock for a second and got stuck. I can still see the clock, I know less than a minute has passed. Why did she have to be looking up just then? Why can't I be in public school? Then she wouldn't be hitting me in the face with the wooden spoon covered in rainbows.
(These kinds of interactions would later make most shoujo anime rather surreal.)
Finally, finally the rainbows start to fade, and i twist my body and the spoon, her favorite, catches my shoulder with a horrifying, fatal crack. Part of it falls to the floor. I immediately drop to my knees and begin apologizing. I am in SO much trouble now!
She screams at me that I broke her favorite spoon. I'm consumed with guilt. She grounds me, orders me to not read for a week, and tells me that my father will deal with me when he gets home. I deserve the beating I will get. I broke her spoon. I'm horrible. I apologize as I run to my room and sit on my bed.
I wish I knew how to stop making that terrible face.
When I'm 18, I find out I have severe PTSD, but as part of the workup, they do an EEG. The tech and the neurologist have never seen so much seizure activity before. I'm having 15-20 petite mals a day. They are not daydreams. I have no control over 'the face', it is a classic sigh of a seizure. The rainbows are 'auras', also classic. The neurologist is furious, someone should have noticed. A pediatric dose of Dilantin completely controls the seizures.
My mother insists I faked the EEG. My aunt nurses try to explain how that's not possible, especially because I've since had an MRI that found the cyst on the left frontal lobe causing them. My mother screams at the family that I am just looking for attention, and that I need to stop taking the Dilantin.
I can't help it. I cry.
They tell me to understand her, and to stop being emotional.