Monday, April 22, 2013

Memories: Seeking Safety

Safety has always been very important to Daughter.  She has special difficulties at night.  Of course, one of her brothers testified in court that when she cried at night their dad would go in and backhand her.  I'm also pretty sure she was molested at night. 

For years, she sought a safe place to sleep, especially when other things were triggering her PTSD.  She never wanted her bedroom door closed-- though she now sleeps with it closed.  I remember the day she was throwing a tantrum.  I picked her up to carry her into her bedroom and put her on her bed.  When I started to close the door behind me, she panicked, holding up her hand and saying, "No!  No!  No!"  I told her she needed to stop crying then.  It was a struggle for her, but she stopped.  She did not want to be alone in her bedroom with the door closed.

Once, when she was afraid of the monster in the closet, I asked her what the monster looked like.  Her response was quick, "Daddy." 

After watching the Start Trek episode Shore Leave, in which Dr. McCoy stands in front of a female crew member to protect her from a knight on a horse, she named my big teddy bear Dr. McCoy.  She took him everywhere to protect her.  She slept in her bed for a while, then she moved to her closet.  She tried the guest room, then my closet.  She slept on floor of my room.  It finally reached the point where she couldn't sleep unless she was literally sleeping on top of me.  She wouldn't go into the bathroom without me, and she wouldn't take a bath.  She would only take a shower if it was with me and I stood between her and the drain.  She was afraid she would slip into the drain, where her brothers and father were waiting for her.

She had also begun hearing voices.  At age 7, she went on her first anti-psychotic.  For the first time in weeks I was able to shower alone.  I couldn't believe how good that felt.  I hadn't realized how stressful it was to have her next to me all the time.  She no longer needed to be sleeping on top of me, which meant I slept better. 

For years stress would drive her to the floor next to me bed to sleep.  I can't imagine what it must be like not to feel safe in your bedroom or the bathroom, but that's what her birth family had done to her.   

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