Now, in my final weeks, my therapist suggested I write a letter to myself about my journey. Here it is.
What a huge pile of ground-in dirt, damaged pieces and crumbling mess you've had to crawl through to come out on top ... on top of 54 years of trauma so deeply ingrained that it affected everything you did, everything you said and every relationship you ever had with any person.
You've braved looking at the baby you were. Little Tamsin Dawn, nurtured for a couple of weeks and then left to be adopted. You've cuddled and comforted her, mothered her and accepted her now. She doesn't need to still be searching for a mother. You've taken her into your soul to nurture forever.
Then there was Kizzy! A spirited imp who fought like a tiger to survive the torment and abuse of her adoptive mother. You've been 'acting out' as Kizzy for years, 'Kizzy the Diddakoi', hanging on to a children's TV programme in the hope of being free to live independently. What a fight to survive. Every bit of wit you have about you now Kiz, was Kizzy's hyper-sensitive survival mode in play. Every look from a passer by, everything a person said, every movement or utterance, Kizzy tuned into, to make sure she wouldn't be attacked and destroyed. It is great to see Kizzy resting now. She still drops in having a skittish moment now and then, brings a giggle to the table and plays. She can live the life she longed for now. Independent and safe. You've saved her Kiz.
Hilary. What a name to have written openly here, yet a name you had for your whole childhood and teenage years Kiz, from being adopted until you finally got rid of your toxic adoptive parents, a full 30 years after being named. You hated that name when we started this therapy Kiz. You could hardly bear to speak it and it took until half way through your therapy before you would even acknowledge her. You are still working on actually liking her, but at least you are accepting of her and don't hate her anymore. You are not beating her up and berating her any more. Be kind to her and always be mindful of the fact she was protecting you. Be compassionate to her Kiz, because you are so easily compassionate to others, but if anyone ever needed compassion, it's her. Hilary the teenager and young adult was controlled in the most appalling manner, likened to living in a cult, she looked after Tamsin and Kizzy in the only way she could, by taking the hurt and pain that was inflicted on her, into herself, so they (Tamsin and Kizzy) wouldn't be noticed and made vulnerable, they wouldn't suffer as she was. The sexual abuse and the messed up understanding of relationships was not her fault, but lessons she was taught and had to obey so as not to be killed. The self harming and suffering with chronic depression took its toll and made Hilary a sallow and dreary person, an oddity at school, an easy victim to bullies and a quiet, watchful and unobtrusive soul. She had to become your very own control freak ... watching everything around you intently, manoeuvring and swerving to try to stay safe and not get attacked. Of all of the parts of you Kiz, Hilary has been the hardest for you to accept. She still makes you angry sometimes. She still triggers self loathing and beats you down, but the more you come to terms with the fact she saved you Kiz, all parts of you, the easier your life will be.
Since you've become Kiz, the adult, you've had to continue to battle your demons, the demons you thought were Hilary, but actually the very demons Hilary has been holding onto, so as not to spread to Tamsin and Kizzy. Now Kiz, you have taken those demons from Hilary and set them free. Hilary is not holding onto them anymore. She held them for far too many years and the toll has been enormous both physically and mentally. It's been really hard for her. She has been holding onto those demons for so many years and she sometimes grabs them back for a moment. Be mindful. Look after her. Its your turn to protect and let her have a life, let her now enjoy music and dancing, being out with friends and being creative ... all the things she was unable to do as she had to grow up so quickly. Let her enjoy her freedom, her time and uninfluenced thoughts.
I'm proud of you Kiz. Really proud of the strength you have. Proud that you are finally understanding what equality in relationships and friendships are, putting in boundaries and finding stability.
Your diagnosed illness', the ones that brought you back to therapy, you know where they come from now, why they exist. Your brain was not nurtured and loved by your 'formal caregiver' as it should have been. You've grown up in a highly toxic, life threatened and dysfunctional state of being and your diagnosed illness' are a result of that. Your depression has all but gone. Yes, you get low days, days when the old demons come knocking, but you are no longer suicidal (you must be mindful each day and watch for those old demons though!). You have found some contentment in your life. The consistent pain you have in your body where it spent years being unreleased, now has an outlet. Your exhaustion will hopefully start to be alleviated, as you treat yourself more kindly and compassionately and take life at a more normal pace. Your new diagnosis of bipolar, well, we will see how that manifests, now that the desperately low and devastated Hilary and the manically highly anxious Kizzy are in a better frame of mind!
Laugh Kiz. Enjoy your life. You have lots of years left. Enjoy the love you've found for Tamsin, the relieved laughter Kizzy can now have and the carefree life Hilary has in front of her. Keep all of those parts of yourself safe, close to you, because they are yours. No-one can ever harm them again. You are an adult now. You have the power over your own life to be in control of it. You will continue to get things wrong because you are human. You are allowed to be human now. You can't be hurt for just being alive anymore. Live.
I'm so very proud of you Kiz. You are now complete.