Growing up in an intensely stressful environment it has had permanent effects on me, here is the aftermath of my childhood:
Paranoia: When I was 10 years old, I ran away from my father. I bought a train ticket for 200 kr. and got on the first train to Stockholm. While sitting on the train, in the wrong car, looking at the trees fly by, I grew more and more paranoid. I turned off my phone, foolishly thinking no one could track me that way. I sat patiently the entire 4 hour train ride home, just itching with anxiety. I just wanted to be home with my grandma and mom safely.
When I finally arrived at my destination, as I was stepping off the train into my grandmothers arms, three men grabbed me. I freaked out as the men pulled off the train, with my grandma standing by powerless to help. The three men that had grabbed me were police officers dressed plainly so as to not arouse suspicion. I soon learned that the Swedish police had been stalking me since the news broke that I wasn't in school that day.
Since then I am constantly aware of my surroundings. At all times I know how many people there are around me, where they are, who they are. How many cameras are in the room, and where the cameras are looking. If my phone is on me, is it trackable? Am I being noticed? Who is looking at me? Did I put my hands anywhere? Will it leave fingerprints? I count every step, I listen to everyone's conversations, and I speak quietly. I always have an escape plan mapped out in my mind, and I am never able to trust anyone. Over the years my paranoia has calmed down, but I still find myself counting cameras, and covering my hands so as to not leave finger prints.
PTSD related nightmares: For many years of my life I have had night terrors and this has caused insomnia. I can go for days unable to sleep due to my nightmares.
I've had night terrors since I was a baby. I have many memories of being starred down by a mangled version of myself, or waking up screaming terrified as my mom held me tight trying to calm me. Typically the dreams involve my father, sometimes a looming dark figure is just haunting me, and other times I see my younger self in the dream. These dreams leave me feeling so incredibly distraught. I would categorize them into three categories:
1, Abandonment. These dreams often have trains in them, and that tall dark figure looking around a corner.
2, Longing. In these dreams anything could happen but no matter what I will see my younger self standing with my teddy in the distance looking so incredibly sad, and there is nothing I can do to cheer her up. Just now, thinking about her, I'm tearing up.
3, Melancholy. These dreams are bright, but a song plays in the dreams that makes my heart hurt. Its a very simple piano song that I call the blue song. I have tried to recreate it many times but to no avail. It lingers for days after.
PTSD: Memories and similar situations tense me up. If someone touches my back the wrong way I freak out. It reminds me of my father and the way he would "calm me down" by patting my back as if I were a dog. In the past when someone blamed me for something, or trail me in with a group of wrongdoers I would get incredibly defensive. I was be so scared to get into trouble, I would do anything to evade blame. I would start arguing with the accuser doing anything in my power to make them believe me.
Another PTSD relate issue I deal with is that cannot hear people when they yell. Not in the literal sense, but when they yell I don't register the words, everything just goes blank. The problem with this is trying to explain to someone who is yelling at you that you can't hear or understand them, that only gets them more upset.
Missing my childhood: I never got to have a childhood, I never got to be a kid. When I turned 8 years old I was thrown into a cross continental custody battle. I have a few memories of being a child, but the few happy memories feel like a safe cooling breeze on a warm summers day. I don't know what its like to run around with friends barefoot on the grass. I don't know what its like to play dolls, other than with social workers, and for many years I didn't know what it was like to hug my mom. I pined for anything remotely close, I begged for that comfort, and I hope no one else ever experiences this pain.
When I have children I will give them the childhood that was taken from me. I'll never get those years back, but I can give them to my future children. I can fight for others, to make sure they sleep safely at night. I can create a system that helps kids, rather than uses them.