Tuesday 20th May

We had some beautiful weather this weekend. Sadly I missed most of it thanks to the accident of sleeping in. Unless I have plans I can’t seem to get out of bed before 12 or 1pm on a weekend. I always say I’ll get up earlier and do stuff, but it never happens.

This morning it was time for my second stage therapy assessment with the NHS. I managed to arrive at the centre nearly an hour early, so I was forced to share the waiting room with a stressed out mother and her unhappy truanting child. I learnt that he’d been brought in because he was feeling sick; the mother seemed to know better as she spent the entire hour nagging at him to stop pretending and allow her to take him to school. She kept asking him why he disliked school so much; I gathered this wasn’t the first time he’d done this sort of thing. Instead of listening to his answers she went on and on with the diatribe, telling him there’s nothing wrong with school, it should be the happiest years of his life, he’ll never get a job and a career if he carries on this way. In the end the boy was sniffling and in tears; I could tell he felt embarrassed and ashamed of having his problems aired in public like this; but still the mother went on, threatening violence and emotional blackmail if this didn’t stop. “When I was a kid my dad used to belt me if I stepped out of line and it never did me any harm; of course you can’t do that to a child nowadays, can you, ‘cause they’ll bloody sue you.” I dreaded to think what was going to happen to that boy when he got home that day.

When I was finally called to be seen as I walked up to the assessment room I knew I’d witnessed a scene that I myself went through as a teenager many times. How I wanted to warn that mother what she was going to do to her son; how he’d grow up hating her if she kept refusing to listen to him. I knew I was completely powerless to do anything to intervene, just as I was powerless to explain to my own mother why I hated school so much at the time. What I went through at school is something I don’t think any child should ever have to go through, yet clearly it’s still happening to children, and no one ever thinks to ask the child how they feel about their situation. The only important thing as far as my generation is concerned is the qualifications and the job prospects, never mind the happiness and well being of the child. It was on my mind as I walked into the appointment that the scene I’d just witnessed was exactly the sort of thing that added to my trauma in childhood; as a result we ended up spending most of the hour talking about my school years.

What it all comes down to is that I internalised the hatred I experienced at school, and this is still dominating my life in so many ways because I never processed those feelings properly. The very sympathetic therapist referred me to eight weeks of trauma counselling followed by ten weeks of self-esteem building group therapy. It might be apt to ask why I need to go through counselling all over again when I’ve had it countless times over the years – in answer I’d say that I don’t think I ever did it properly before. I never really knew what the real problem was, because I didn’t want to know. Now, at the age of 31, I’m tired of hating myself at my core. I know exactly what the problem is and I’m dying to talk to someone professional about it with complete honesty.

I had some news to cheer me up this evening; my landlord has decided to get a cat. Since I heard it’s all I’ve been able to think about. We’re going to go to look at cats at the rehoming centre on Saturday. Obviously I can’t wait. Having a cat has been a dream of mine for literally years.

Swimming again this evening with P; now I know it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in years. I managed to complete a few more lengths today, and I didn’t feel so exhausted and ill afterwards.

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