I did not have an easy childhood by any stretch of the imagination. As long as I can remember I was a depressed child. I can remember exhibiting suicidal behavior as young as 6 or 7 years old. I remember around that age that I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took the 2 tops of aluminum vegetable cans and proceeded to slit my wrist- without much feeling. My dad rushed to the bathroom after the door had been closed for some time. When he saw me and he looked as if he had seen a ghost. As he cleaned my wounds I told him that it was a mistake and that I had only been playing with the can tops. I can still hear his helpless voice, “What in the world did you do girl?!” I replied again that it was a mistake and proceeded to cry uncontrollably. At last! I had my father’s full attention. After much reflection on this incident, I can say that I cried more for my Dad’s love and attention than the actual pain. “Awww girl it doesn’t hurt that bad”, he said as he bandaged me up. What my dad did not know was that I would inflict myself with many other wounds in later in life that did “hurt that bad”. I never knew why he did not take me to the hospital for treatment. Much later I learned that like myself, my father had the same type of mental illness that I was exhibiting at a very young age. My father was diagnosed a little before my parents’ divorce of 24 years. I often wonder if he received the diagnosis earlier how much that would have changed our family life. Unfortunately, before he was properly diagnosed he was already using illicit drugs to self-medicate himself.
So many times in my childish ways I longed for attention from my parents who were wrapped up in their addictions and saving their marriage. No matter how many bandages my father used that day it could never “bandage” the blinding hurt, pain, and disappointment I experienced because of my parents’ choices.My dad willfully avoided talking about our upbringing for many years and it drove a wedge between him and me.
Although my mom found out later not much was said about this incident. The flesh wounds eventually healed but the wounds in my spirit and heart did not. It was through the Jehovah’s Witness organization that I sought solace and comfort for my depression.