Last Saturday morning I spent my time with two peers at Club HEAL’s Peers’ Support Group meeting. It was an intimate two hours musing upon our memories – our first memory among others.
My first memory was when I was just about two years old and I moved from Kampung Melayu at Jalan Pagak to a three-roomed rental flat in Chai Chee. The adults were busy carrying and opening boxes and I took my toy guitar and found a quiet corner on the staircase and strummed and sang. I felt so independent and free.
Another peer’s first memories were of being a cry baby, sickly and unhappy all the time. She remained so for most of her youth and adult and cries easily. Our early memories made me think that we have already a personality and a certain make up from the day we were born.
On my first day of kindergarten I told my mother to go home and not wait for me like so many other mums who were peering through the windows and I insisted on making my way home alone which was just a block away. The next day, I told her not to send me to school anymore.
When I forgot to do my kindergarten homework, I told my teacher I was going to go home and take my book. I went home, did my homework and went back to school to deliver my work.
I used to kick up a fuss every time it was time for an outing when my mum dressed me in pretty but hot and itchy clothes. It was a ritual which everyone dreaded as I would be angry and unhappy and bawl my eyes out.
I was a sensitive soul and would often get upset with my cousins’ and siblings teasings and went sulking in one corner and entertain myself by playing ‘masak-masak” (cooking), exploring the contents of a beautiful display cabinet with all the antique contents and even once walked all by myself from one kampung to my kampung when I was just four years old.
As an adult, in my mania, I will sulk and leave home and explore my own universe far, far away from the maddening crowd.
As a little girl I loved playing with dolls and come bonus time when my dad took us to the toy store to pick a game or toy, year after year I would choose dolls. I treated my babies with love and respect, caring for them day and night.
But when I was in primary school, I had visions of having a secret baby that nobody knew I had. And I would beat and gag my baby. This was a memory that I only retrieved or remembered last year during a session with my strengths coach. I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I felt. My psychologist suggested that it was the result of domestic issues that was in my family whereby I felt somehow abused and did not have a say thus the gagging.
Recently a friend shared with me that her husband beat her up and that was witnessed by her one year old baby who screamed and cried at the sight of her beloved father inflicting pain on her mother. I can bet she will not remember the scene but it would be a memory that is embedded in her subconscious and affect her in one way of another.
When I am in mania, my subconscious take over and I scold my parents for all the wrongs that they have inflicted in me. It is not pretty – these gut wrenching screams from the depths of my soul but it has been liberating to have expressed what couldn’t otherwise be expressed.
And thus I feel that being given this gift called Bipolar Disorder is a means to work out old wounds and understand myself better. I never knew I had so much toxic memories and feelings throughout my life which I needed to resolve so that I can be at peace with myself and my fallible loved ones.
Thus I entitled this blog, Mentally Blessed. Our mind is a wondrous thing and we are blessed to behold it in whatever state it is in. God knows and He is Kind and Merciful.
Written by Yohanna Abdullah