Humans.

I’m currently glued to the Channel 4 drama Humans. For those in the USA/those who don’t know, Humans is about synthetic humans which have become an integral part of our day to day life. They are our servants, doing menial jobs, looking after our children, even serving as prostitutes in a brothel. Five of them an feel. They are anomalies and they are hunted by the government because of who they are.

I love Sci-Fi. I’m a huge Blade Runner fan, I dig the old Star Wars films (the new ones sucked big time, for so many reasons), I love my Star Trek and Prometheus blew my mind. So, Humans was always going to be on my “must -see” list.

What I didn’t know was that it was going to be so deep.

Niska, one of the feeling synths, is forced into hiding in a brothel. She endures countless encounters with awful men until she snaps and kills one of them, a particularly horrible perverted man who wants her to “act young and scared”. She becomes hardened to violence and pretty terrifying.

Mia has her whole personality buried deep in the meaningless code of a household synth. She is given a new personality, and Anita is born. Mia struggles to break past the mask of Anita to get the message through that she is not like normal synthetics.

Leo, once a normal human boy, has an accident which changes him irreversibly. His memories are digital code, his brain wired and chipped, his means of staying alive bizarre- a hash of human and machine.

Niska affected me the most originally. I was torn apart by her suffering and I understood her pain so well.

Tonight, tears poured down my face for a different reason.

(Spoilers, please look away now if you haven’t see the latest episode!)

A childlike and wonderful synth named Max sacrificed himself for his “brother”, Leo. He let himself die so Leo could get away.

He smiled as his eyes shut for the final time, his innocent face awash in bliss that he had saved his brother. He was innocent and adorable and saw the best in everything and everyone.

I found myself sobbing like a child.

I know why I was crying. That sweet, innocent person was like the childhood me. I was so naive and loving and I cared so deeply for pretty much anyone. I wanted everyone to be happy… Just like Max.

I feel like watching Max die explained something to me. The innocent child in me died when I was fourteen, that horrible night that I thought I would be safe with the boy I loved. She died and I miss her. She was uncomplicated and sweet and thoughtful, and I miss her purity of spirit and her desire to be good and helpful.

I am lucky that some of that child lingers in me, that some traits we both have. I still want to believe the best of everyone, I still care for everyone, and I hate to see anyone suffer. But the innocence has gone and I don’t like the experience that’s been left in its place.

It’s funny, how these things come to you in a flash. I think tonight I will curl up and mourn the child I was, the little girl who was so similar to Max.

TW: little one.

I barely have words for this.

I’ve been doing better- dissociative, absent-minded maybe, but better. And now it’s nearly July and I had my miscarriage then, and I am currently bleeding because I forgot to take a pill two days ago.

It’s bringing back memories of the horror of realising I was pregnant and pretty much immediately after that realising my marble was dead, my baby was gone. I have that hollow emptiness between my hipbones again where life should have grown. I am not cradling a three year old girl or boy in my arms, soothing my little one to sleep. I’m ragged and in pain, bleeding just like I did then.

I thought I had managed to put this aside a bit better than this, but I think that my body has not finished grieving yet. It’s still grieving for all the sorrows, crying out for all the times it was hurt and couldn’t do anything to stop it.

I hope I stop bleeding soon. I keep thinking that there’s something wrong, but what’s really wrong is that someone once put me through so much emotional pain that I lost my child.

I think I will have to ring the phone number the doctor gave me for the rape crisis centre near me. I think it’s time to find out what’s happening with my body, and to let myself continue to grieve for a dream that never happened.

Mayday warnings. (Guess what, TW. Stay safe folks.)

Hello again all…

I am so sorry I managed to, yet again, vanish off the face of the earth. I’ve been having a pretty hard time. I haven’t even been keeping up with my journal.

I’ve realised why my voices have wanted me to kill myself in May.

Big step forward, I hear you say, and yes it is… a huge step. It all started when I took my puppy for a walk and began to have a conversation with the ‘it’ voice of the dark passenger.

We sat on a tuft of dry grass, I threw handfuls of it for the puppy which she chased. The it voice wasn’t screaming its usual deluge of vitirol. Instead, I was having a conversation with something that was acting like a scared, naughty child and then BOOM-

I’m eight years old or thereabouts. I’m sitting at a table with three naughty boys, the worst in the class. They pinch my belongings and hide them, empty pencil shavings in my hair and on my work, they call me names and hide my precious glasses, without which everything becomes a blur.

The teacher watches and laughs and blames me for their behaviour. I’m only rescued from that table when my mother, mortified that nothing is being done to protect me, goes round to her classroom after school ends. She’s met with indifference from my uncaring teacher, and a justification for splitting me up from my friends and putting me with the class bullies: she’s weird, she deserves it.

The it voice then chose that moment to point out that it had been born on that table with those three horrible boys.

I’m not surprised, then, that quite often I felt like I was dealing with a naughty upset child… because I was. I think I was dealing with soundbites from three nasty little boys that my traumatised brain had classed as a voice. Now I know what it is, I’ve learned to treat it firmly but gently. It’s pretty much vanished now. It’s dormant and quiet and sleepy, benign and un-frightening now. I did an interview with a girl who was training to be a psychologist, and explained what I’d done with the it voice and how much the voice had changed since I engaged it and started asking it questions like that. She was amazed and pleased for me, as was Dr K, and I felt the glow of pride there for myself, too.

The next big event that has happened is working my timeline out and understanding why May is so hard. It’s a trauma anniversary, but I’m sure I’ve wondered about that somewhere in my journal, then dismissed it as I couldn’t think of anything bad that had ever happened to me then.

Whilst with Dr K at therapy, I let her know about the it voice and about my continuing manicy feelings. I said I was feeling anxious a lot and frightened, and that I didn’t know why. Dr K asked me about May again. She reminded me that I was very ill last May but I was ok now, doing a lot better, able to do more and see further into my future than this time last year. She’s right, that’s true. Last year, I was only able to to a thing a day and to keep my schedule for living that the hospital had given me.

I’d been wondering about something all week though, and wanted to know why I was fixating on it so much. I was wondering about the boyfriend I’d picked up at Spring Harvest, an Eastertide Christian event I used to go to when I was younger. I hallucinated pretty badly there, seeing Jesus and angels and all manner of things that should have been reported to a mental health worker. I even heard the ‘Voice of God’- pretty sure now that it was a mania-induced hallucination. Anyway…

Dr K mentioned something about Spring Harvest and my anxious, manic feelings and suddenly something clicked.

I was fourteen when I met Ash. I was on the rebound from my first ever, fairly fantastic boyfriend, and I was so lonely and feeling so unloved that when Ash asked me out I said yes. I went to visit him a little while after we’d gone home from Spring Harvest- he came to visit me first, behaving and sounding like the perfect boyfriend, telling me that I was special and that I needed his love to feel better from my previous boyfriend. So, going to visit Ash at his house was exciting and I was so, so hoping that I would, at last, feel like I was moving on.

What happened was very different.

I was going to bed, after a day of meeting Ash’s friends, seeing the church he went to, meeting his bandmates and his parents. I was pleased with how it had all gone and how happy I was and just, really, the fact that he was so nice. I supposed that kindness was a whole Christian thing- maybe I was lucky now. My old boyfriend had supposedly been a Christian, but I thought maybe he wasn’t so Christian as he would question his faith and try new things. He would push the boundaries- but I liked it. Maybe, this new relationship would become like that…

I was snuggling down in bed but my insides were jumping with excitement. I knew he was across the hall and I knew he could just come over to my room any time, and I wasn’t above a bit of fun before we slept. Actually though, what I wanted most in the world was for me to go to sleep in the arms of the man I loved.

Suddenly the door opened and Ash was standing there. I looked up in surprise. He sneaked in, locked the door, and my feeling of excitement drained into a clump of something else in my stomach. I asked him in a whisper what he was doing there, and he said he wasn’t happy we were apart and he would stay with me. I relaxed a bit. Clearly he just wanted that hug, the same as I did.

The problem was, he didn’t.

The problem was, he started kissing me and trying to move my hands and I wasn’t happy about that, but then he shoved his hands into my pyjama pants and it was hurting and I was asking him to stop and my hands were up against his chest-

I heard footsteps up the stairs and I was so afraid they’d come in and find me and I wanted him to stop so so bad-

He got out of bed in a hurry and there was a knock on the door. He went to open it. I felt so so embarrassed, so ashamed, so upset and revolting. His mother was there, asking him to leave the room. He wouldn’t go.

So of course, she brought his father up and he still wouldn’t leave the room. Two grown adults could not make one teenage boy leave the room, and they had the door open the whole time I was sitting in bed, covers up round my neck, legs pulled into my body as tightly as possible. I was obviously to blame here. They hadn’t addressed a word to me since they had come upstairs. Clearly they were disgusted with me.

The next day, my mother and father had somehow found out about Ash coming into my bedroom, and I was absolutely mortified. I was upset, too, because I didn’t have a clue what had happened the night before and I felt dirty and bad. I had clearly sinned. God was clearly punishing me. Because men always need reining in and the women have to be responsible for that and I hadn’t stopped him, it was my fault I was hurt. I was also at fault for sacrificing more of my purity- who wants to marry a whore?

What I understood in that flash of memory, whilst telling Dr K, was that it was at May half-term that I went to see Ash.

MAY HALF-TERM.

I was so unhappy for all these years in May because I was violated for the first time ever in May half-term.

This week is May half-term.

That’s not been the only thing that’s been the problem.

I had three voices- he, she, and it. It  has become an ally, something gentle and quiet and sleepy. He and She were still angry and volatile… until last session with Dr K.

We learned that my She voice is actually angry, frightened, upset fourteen-year-old me, trapped in my own head and screaming for Ash to stop hurting her.

Dr K and I got her out of her little hiding-place in my head. I felt strange, like I was having a flashback, and then suddenly my arm was moving of its own accord- like it used to do once long ago when I would self-harm and not feel like I was in control of my own body. My arm started to write words, and Dr K and I watched it as it spelled out:

STOP IT.

Then:

THANK YOU.

I was shocked. Dr K asked what needed to stop, and then suddenly my arm reached out again:

HE HAS TO STOP TOUCHING ME.

We were both shocked, I think, but she kept writing, and she told us the story of that night when I lost trust in men and started to believe that I was sullied and revolting and that God hated me.

Dr K told me and her that we are not to blame for the adults blaming us, for the horrible boy who sexually assaulted us, for the fact that for years I was uncomfortable with what happened but still, STILL blamed myself.

I was exhausted and sleepy after the she voice had her say. Dr K was so proud of me, and worried that I had to teach later on.

I’m a mixture of everything. I still don’t want to admit that the she voice is me, but since I confronted her, she’s quiet and sad, but not that flaming ball of anger that she once was. She’s me now, and that weird schism in my brain has mended. I can feel it there. The wall is torn down, the split gone. Maybe now I can heal better, knowing that two of my voices are actually hurting parts of me that need just as much love as the rest of me.

I am also disturbed that I didn’t recognise that two of my voices were actually parts of me. Also, the arm moving by itself, the writing alone… That’s DID symptoms right there, and I’ve been thinking to myself that I definitely didn’t have DID. Has anyone got any advice for me here? I’m so confused and I would love to know what’s been going on.

At least I am more whole now… although…

Maybe I have been more fractured than I thought.

Miserere Mei.

I never grieved.
I never did that. I was locked in my own agony for two days solid, wandering around in a sea of horror, but I never grieved properly. I was never allowed to feel bad with him so I was not allowed to grieve.
There was life sparked in me. I held it between my hips, I cradled it into life unconsciously, I breathed and fed it oxygen and love. I had a chance to do what I have always wanted to do- hear a cry and scoop my precious one into my arms, hold tight, breathe in that scent of milk and something special. I wanted that, and I couldn’t see that it had begun in me.
Instead of testing and realising, instead of counting missed pills and thinking of weeks, I cried. I was bleeding in my heart long before the real blood ever came. I was dragging my mangled self through broken glass, every one of his words revealed as a lie. My insides were bathed in acid and I wanted to scream, but shock placed its calm mask across this burning sea of torment and I was forced to smile by memories of his expectations.
Instead of growth, and joy, and calm, there was a withering and death. I remember thinking that the pain couldn’t possibly get worse, but it did. I remember thinking that I couldn’t keep losing all this blood, but I did. I wanted to scream and panic but instead I cleaned myself up, swiping bloodstains off my legs, and curled up in the corner of my room.
I was going crazy, wasn’t I? People like me didn’t have miscarriages because they didn’t deserve children.
But the symptoms fit. My laptop’s cold screen told me so. I stared.
It was pain worse than the break up at first. I went into meltdown in the corner of my room, rocking and begging something out there to please make it stop, because I couldn’t hurt any more. The pain in my heart and the pain in my womb conspired to make the agony worse than any I’d ever had. I wanted an end and nearly considered this being the end of me, but the vain hope of getting him back stopped that.
I went into shock the next day. I was still bleeding clumps of blood, stuff that had once been alive. I was so selfishly absorbed in my own pain that I couldn’t see my own child fighting for survival. I was a bad person and would have been an even more terrible mother.
I have a vivid memory of sitting on the couch in the living room and searching for signs of miscarriage on the internet. My dad was listening to something I’d never heard before- I know now it was Allegri’s Miserere Mei. I ached. I felt hot tears flow down my face.
How can I have not seen my little one inside me? How could I have not seen the first life I’d ever created? I felt almost like I’d snuffed it out myself, but I know that his abandonment and my grief played their parts. I did nothing wrong, but my little one knew they would never last in such a cruel world.
The music broke me, as it breaks me now. I can’t hear it without crying. I can’t be in the same room as it or I feel that pain again. I should have a three year old child now. I should have this little crazy bundle of joy running around with dinosaurs and my puppy and missing his old dog and wishing that he was a horse or a wolf or wanting to be in space. She might have been a little girl, watching Noggin the Nog for the thousandth time and pretending she was following them into the cave where the dragon hid, or flying kites with me, or cuddling with my sister as she read her a bedtime story. I would have told my child stories of London, where Auntie R lives. My child would have seen videos of me dancing, taught Juno new tricks, refused to eat her or his greens and lived and breathed and loved.
I have empty arms and a heart that misses what I never had and never will have again. I can’t afford to have children, suspecting as strongly as I do that I have bipolar disorder and knowing that my PTSD can send me spiralling into despair. I don’t want to put my child through watching mummy suffer and then experiencing the same thing. I don’t want to watch my child for the mania, the depression, the self harm and the pain of bullying. I know life is full of all sorts, but I don’t want my child to get the same end of the stick as I did. No more.

Even so…
My baby, oh god. I miss you. I wish I could have kissed you. I wish I could have counted my little one’s tiny fingers and toes, played hopscotch in the rain just for the hell of it, put you to bed and cuddled you. I wish it was possible to just experience that with you. Even the frustrations and sadnesses of watching you grow up… I want that right now and I will never have it.

I hurt so much right now. I am still crying and I want to know whether I will ever feel any less tormented over this. It’s as if I opened a raw wound in my heart and it’s bleeding fire into my throat and lungs.
Inside, I feel so empty. I feel empty and lost. I still want to scream, but the house is silent and everyone is sleeping.

Miserere mei.

Scream.

I am really fucking struggling at the minute.

I nearly had a panic attack in a restaurant tonight. I am so wrought and wrung out that I am at flipping point, and I could feel the old, sickening paranoia crawl up my throat and make its home in my head, my chest, my hands. I had to go outside to calm down, and I cuddled my friend’s baby boy to keep it at bay. I think I’m going to have to start taking more of my meds, but apparently I have to have a medication review soon and will not get prescribed more until I go and tell the doctor I need to stay on it. So irritating, but I guess it’s to check I’m not getting worse on it.

I heard the dark passenger the other day. I heard his voice first, and I knocked it down, but the taunt that he vanished with was, “You can medicate us into silence if you want, but we will always be here for when you get off it, waiting to make your life worse again.”

I told them that whilst I was in therapy I would be fixing it so they would never speak to me again, or hurt me again. I’m so tired, though. I am  having trouble concentrating, and my dissociation is back really badly.

Thirteen year old me hates the arguments that are happening in the house at the minute. They are only small, insignificant squabbles about who put what costume where or what was supposed to be printed out when, but I feel frightened and am inclined to stay out of the way as much as I can whenever there’s one happening. My pulse races and I’m terrified that I will somehow be found to blame.

Dr K and I were talking about my marble last session. She is worried that I never grieved for him or her, my baby-that-could-have-been, and I am sure I never did properly. I know that I was suffering from the breakup with my sociopath ex, and unable to deal with that grief too, so I buried it. Now, it is all flooding back and I feel desperate for the beat of a small heart in my arms, tiny waving fists next to my cheeks, and a pain of eyes to stare back into. My arms are empty. I am alone, with a hole inside where that child should have been and a hollow dryness in my eyes where tears should be.

I would have been so mixed up about having that baby. I would have never escaped my ex- he would have used that child as leverage, he would have tried to twist and taint my baby. I would have had to fight for my rights as parent every single day. I would have watched my child grow up and have to wonder whether the eyes looking back into mine were his, housing all that warpedness, or would my child become like me?

I know logically that overall I have been spared something really horrible in that my ex would have wanted sole control of both of us, but holding my friend’s baby has made my heart and arms and womb scream out for mine. I want him or her back. I miss him or her, I miss my child.

The scream inside me is louder than words. It is the scream of the mothers of Sparta, of the Somme, of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the scream of failed childbirth. It hoarses my throat and burns at the corners of my eyes. It sears inside me and I can’t escape when I am alone. Putting the happy face on it hides it from my mum, who I never told, and the rest of my family, but I need to scream and I can’t.

To Terry- an amazing dog.

Yesterday I lost my dog.

He had battled kidney failure, arthritis, spinal problems, hip dysplasia and anaemia. He was hard of hearing, and he couldn’t see well, but that totally didn’t stop him. He was 13 and 3/4, his birthday was coming up- he was a Christmas eve puppy.

In his younger days, he was the fastest dog on the block. He would run as fast as he could to the front door and jump up with a splat, woofing from his boots. This fearsome display would terrorise postmen and boilermen alike, until they realised that he was only jumping up because he was far too pleased to see them! He would lick you to death, we would always say, and that was true. Terry had the biggest heart of any dog I have ever known.

If any of us were sick, he would come and sit with us until we felt better. He would lift up his big, soft-furred head for us to stroke, and the end of his tail would swish gently on the floor in bliss. He was exactly the same with me whilst I was really depressed. He would lick my hand to try and cheer me up, get me off the floor when I was crying with his no nonsense happy attitude- he needed a walk, and he needed it now! I have lost count of the tears I’ve cried into his fur, him sitting there stoically and taking it all like the noble hound he was. Just seeing him in the morning could flip my day from bad to bearable, or good, within a matter of minutes. He was my personal therapy dog, patient and loving and loyal.

He was hilarious, too. He was big and a little goofy and so over-enthusiastic about life. He would bring you his scruffy bit of rope with a huge doggy grin plastered all over his face, and you would try to take it from him only to find he would back off, that long shaggy tail switching to and fro in excitement. “Chase me!” was written all over him, so of course we would oblige. He would gallumph off and we would run with him, laughing our heads off.

One of his favourite games as a youngster was ‘get that dog!’, which involved him whizzing around our back garden, evading capture as we each tried to catch him. None of us were able to! He was speedy and light on his feet. Many was the time on long walks that I had to yell at him “not too far Terry!” and he would whip round and wait patiently for me.

He lived for food, too. Oh gods, did he love his food. The same dog food  he ate for years was the best thing EVER, no matter how many times he ate it. He would perk up immediately if we mentioned breakfast or tea, and he used to bow for his meals. He would stretch his front legs out, low to the floor, so his back end would stick up comically. He would pirouette in tight circles in glee, excited for his tasty tea. He was so funny at Christmas- we used to give him a little bit of Christmas dinner, as a treat from his tightly controlled diet, and he would stare at us in rapture as the heavenly dish descended. He would glomp, smacking his chops in anticipation, even if it was just a dog biscuit.

Walks were so much fun. He was so happy to go- he would leap into the boot and sit down smartly, excited for the chance yo go and swim, or play with the other dogs in the fields, or scavenge for unwary fishermen’s sandwiches! Naughty boy. He would attempt to eat the bread left for the geese and ducks, and quite often get pecked for his trouble! He loved to sniff and run and be free for an hour or two, and he loved playing chase or fetch or silly games with a plastic bottle. He could jump, although he wasn’t allowed to, and quite often he would surprise us by jumping over a fence he wasn’t supposed to!

He was a big softie, too. He would climb up on your knee for a cuddle, despite his size. He was as heavy as a ten year old child, but that didn’t stop him from climbing onto your knee and groaning in happiness if you let him stay for half an hour. He would often fall asleep there, only shifting to bark loudly at the doorbell. He would fall asleep on the floor at your feet with one slim paw wrapped around your feet. He used to drag my mum in the house with gentle teeth round her sleeve, so pleased she was home.

Terry was a pretty handsome boy. He was born into an old bloodline so he was brindled- the flecks of grey around his mouth and on his legs were originally golden brown. His head was proud, his tail full and swishy, his coat shiny and smooth. He had a lovely, gentle face, and was kind with children and attracted admiration from everyone. He was pretty much incapable of taking a bad picture- a goofy one, a silly one maybe, but never an ugly one. He was good inside and out.

In these last few months, I have tried to give to him everything he ever gave to me. He was my best friend- I tried to be his. He helped me through the darkest time in my life- I tried to help him through his last illness. I hand fed him, I cuddled him, I kissed his head and cleaned up his messes. I told him he was a good boy- because he was. He was the best friend a girl could ask for.

I will miss him every day. I hope that he us with my gramps on the rainbow bridge, Gramps throwing sticks and he fetching them and trying to get a younger, fitter Gramps to chase him. I hope one day I get to see them again.

Thanks to everyone for being here for me. And join me in raising a glass to the best dog who ever lived- Terry Jason Bone, my best friend.