The Inner Child And Medication Side Effects
I’m really struggling to write entries. I’m being distracted by television or work and one of the things that used to prompt entries, strong emotions, is missing. I am not feeling the same level of anxiety or distress and it’s harder to concentrate than it used to be.
The three days maximum between posts that I have set for myself has passed and I am simply not able to write about anything new. At times like this I turn to my past for the old stories. The ones I have told many times. Here is another memorable thing God did with me that helped turn me into who I am today. Hopefully I will be able to finish this entry and post it.
I was 23 and struggling to cope with being a single mother to my son. My daughter was on the way and her father had left me for another woman. I had problems with anger, poor self-esteem, undiagnosed, and untreated, anxiety and depression and his betrayal was hard to bear. One night I was at the end of my tether and begging God to help me.
Through my tears I heard the calm, gentle, voice in my mind that I later came to know was God speaking to me.
“There is someone I want you to meet”, He said.
I wondered what meeting someone had to do with my prayer for help but I asked Him who and He gave me a mental image of a windowless, filthy, unfurnished cell. I gazed into the darkness of the cell and saw movement off to the right. I looked in that direction and saw a child, a little girl, trying desperately to hide from me by squeezing herself into a corner. She was naked, filthy and obviously terrified of me.
I looked closer and saw she was chained to the wall. She was covered in bruises, scars and bleeding lash marks and I was horrified. She was only about four or five years old and so thin it was clear she was being starved along with all the other abuse.
In my mind I turned to God. I was angry and indignant that any child should be so brutally treated. I thought God was showing me this image so I could rescue this child and I was ready to go to battle on her behalf as soon as I knew where to go.
“Who is she?” I asked God, “And who is doing this to her?”
“She is you,” God said, “And YOU are doing this to her!”
As soon as God told me the child was me I was overwhelmed with anger, hatred and a complete revulsion towards the child. I backed away from her and closed my heart to her.
“She deserves it”, I told God flatly, “I hate her and the sooner she is dead the better. I want her out of me – I want her dead!”
“You have asked me to help you,” God said sternly, “I cannot do that as long as you treat her this way.”
I looked at the child again. I hated her so much but some small part of me was able to recognise she was just a child and no child deserved to be tortured like that.
It was the start of a healing journey. At first I was only able to agree to stop torturing this inner child of mine but, over time, I came to love her and every step I took away from that hatred of my past self was a step closer to feeling good about myself. It ended up having to be a two way process though. First I had to stop hating my inner child and start loving and caring for her but once that was done I had to get HER to stop hating ME!
One day I read about an exercise that could help put people in touch with their subconscious self. They said to use the hand you normally don’t write with, ask your subconscious self a question, and write down the answer. The theory was that you will have to focus your conscious mind completely on controlling your hand to make it form the letters and this will make room for your subconscious to dictate the message.
I tried the exercise one day after I had done something self-destructive. I was sure my inner child was deliberately sabotaging my efforts to build a good life for myself and I wanted to know why.
So I sat down, asked my inner child why she kept pushing the self-destruct button, then tried to clear my mind and write the answer with my left hand.
To my surprise I wrote “I hate you”. When I looked inside I saw my inner child did hate me. I asked her why and she said “because you believed them”. I realised she was right. I had imprisoned her, tortured her, hated her all those years because I had believed the messages from my abusers that it was all my fault. I blamed HER for all the abuse instead of blaming the abusers.
I have counseled many survivors of childhood abuse. When I talk to them about the concept of an inner child most of them can relate to it. When I ask them to try and imagine their own inner child most of them can. They relate the same sort of image God showed me. A hated inner child whom they are punishing for what their abusers did.
They usually know roughly how old their inner child is and I ask them to find a real child of that age, take a good look at it, and ask themselves if a child of that age could really be responsible for the things that were done to them.
Every child deserves to be safe, protected, loved and nurtured – even inner children!
As a child I couldn’t get the adults in my life to meet my needs so part of me stayed young and needy. Another part of me adopted the critical, unloving, harsh attitudes of the adults in my life and continued to abuse my inner child long after the adults who abused me were no longer part of my life. For years I tried to get what I needed from other people and failed.
Once you grow up no human being can ever give your inner child what it needs. The inner child of an abuse victim will never be satisfied by what any normal human being can give. Nothing in the present can ever fill the voids created by past experiences.
Only the creation of a loving, nurturing, sympathetic, inner parent can fill the needs of an abused inner child! An inner parent can be there 24 hours a day to comfort and reassure the child within and that child needs 24 hour attention to begin the healing process. Only an inner parent can convince that child there is no need to fear being abandoned because only an inner parent can be close enough for the child to believe love will last.
The inner parent of an abuse victim can be trained to be loving and supportive but it takes time and effort. I had to learn to stop myself whenever the inner parent began to get abusive and remind myself mistakes are part of life and nobody is as bad as my inner parent believed I was.
It took a while but I retrained my inner parent to take good care of me when I felt small and helpless. I trained it to tell me everything would be OK and I was not a bad person. Most of the time things went well in that area but, whenever my coping skills were overwhelmed by a crisis, I would sink into panic and depression.
At those times my inner parent would become abusive again.
Now I am on medication to try and overcome the tendency to sink into that panic stricken, depressed, self-abusive state and it is helping but I am finding one of the side effects almost intolerable.
I have always been able to write. Any time, any place, effortlessly. I think of a topic, mull it over in my conscious and subconscious for a few hours or days then sit down and pour it out onto paper or, in this case, the computer. It always comes out of me pretty much complete – no gaps, no missing bits, needing nothing but a few minor alterations to grammar, spelling, or the choice of words.
That skill, that ability, that talent seems to have deserted me right now.
I am really struggling to write anything because I cannot complete things. I start writing and realise there are pieces missing or I cannot find the right words or it just does not read right. Sometimes I just lose interest in the topic and can’t finish it.
I hope this is temporary! I hope my mind and body will adjust to the medication and my ability to focus, to concentrate, to think of things worth saying will come back.
I would really hate to discover my writing talent is, in fact, a side effect of my mental illnesses!
That would be a truly horrid way to discover there is a silver lining to even the blackest of black clouds. If it turns out I can’t have my writing abilities unless I keep my depression I am going to go off the medication!
It has taken me three DAYS to write this! It should only have taken me three HOURS or less!