I am a survivor. My estranged mother abused me. Mostly emotional abuse, often verbal abuse and rarely physical abuse. Like many survivors I have depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, a binge eating disorder (a form of compulsive behaviour). Not surprisingly as a survivor I find it difficult to trust. Recently my psychiatrist made mistakes in part because I wasn’t letting him far enough in.
I started being depressed at 15. Remembering being suicidal makes it easy to define. I didn’t tell anyone. Not my parents – Dad’s a nice guy but he tells mum absolutely everything, not my friends, not my teachers. I didn’t know I was being abused. When mum locked me in the house at 19, my friends had to tell me I was being abused. My first reaction was denial. Not uncommon. 19 was when I first got some treatment.
The painting is called (Abuse) survivor. It is 11″ x 16″. The black is for the harm already done and the darkness still within. The maroon is for dried blood, for the feelings of shame, grief and guilt. The yellow is for hope. The green for growing in healthy ways. The brown is for feeling like dirt or feeling dirty. The red is for wounds still bleeding in the psyche. The pale pink is a Caucasian skin colour. It’s not pale enough for my skin tone but I am the colour of a china doll. It’s there to symbolise psychological scars.
If you have been abused or still being abused, there is a wealth of information out there on the internet. If you are south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, I recommend Connections who I have worked with in the past. I haven’t linked to them because at the time of posting they were having server problems. If you have a friend being abused, keep in mind you can only help them as much as they want to be helped.