When I was a toddler, I used to have a record player with a series of recorded faery tales by the Grimm broths and Hans Christian Anderson. They were set to classical music; Strauss, Mozart, Smetana and other contemporaries of the Romantic period.
I would spend hours and hours in my little room, pottering about with crayons and some toys, listening to the music and stories, imagining a world entirely of my own. Lunch time went by unnoticed. Mum was in bed, cold out with her antidepressants. I was quite literally, away with the faeries.
Then one night, I started seeing crocodiles and monsters. And I got very ill.
It was always blamed on my epilepsy, just like my panic attacks were. But I’m not so sure now anymore.
The other day I was reading up on the causes of delirium because my hubby is quite unwell at the moment, and among the chief causes are dehydration and malnutrition. Epilepsy can be a cause, but I wonder how of a factor the lack of regular food and drink was to mine. Let’s be fair, it was enough of a problem for me to go find something to drink and end up drinking a bottle of shoe polish.
That was a fun ride – having my stomach emptied out at age 4. Got to say though: it did put us on the radar with Social Services.
After that, we had carers coming in every weekday, to look after me and take care of housekeeping. And my uncle came to stay with us for a while, because he and his girlfriend broke up and she threw him out.
He got my room, and I was moved into the smallest room of the apartment. He brought his dog with him. One of the carers took a shining to him and between the two of them I actually got to go out of the house.
They ended up getting married and had two children. Unfortunately that faery tale didn’t last long, and it ended in an acrimonious divorce.
My poor uncle. He was always my favourite but he ended up so very, very ill. A mystery illness that wrecked his body. He was stick thin and could barely walk at my mother’s funeral. Day’s later, he passed away himself.
The roots of trauma run deep in my family.