My early life

In some of my Cerebral Palsy blogs, I have touched on various issues around the condition itself, but I’ve not talked about how visible it was when I was a child or how exactly the whole Cerebral Palsy thing played out.

Although it would go on to take me years to find out there was a diagnosis, I never knew. All the difficulties I had eventually took their toll and manifested itself in anger issues. ‘I was an angry child living in the depths of emotional despair’ that this was even my life.

Being misunderstood and continually having to fight my corner to be heard; to be listened to. To be understood instead of being misunderstood all the time; feeling out of my depth on so many issues; being out of touch with reality; wanting a different reality that wasn’t mine. Finding a way to cope with life; with my anxieties and with myself. Trying to find a place with my family, alongside all of those difficulties and hoping that one day I would wake up from a bad dream I just didn’t get.

I knew I had a bad left leg and and I later found out a ‘foot drop.’ I was unaware of my struggles, but I knew I struggled. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. When I was standing straight, I was lopsided because of a leg length difference of ¾”. When I wore school skirts, the lack of muscle tone in my left leg was visible and people would stare. I walked with a continual limp and would trip when I got tired.

I also hated that I walked toe heel and dragged my leg. I hated that my father thought to pick me up on something he knew I couldn’t change and I didn’t know. I hated that my shoes wore differently and that I was made to wear a heal raise for my leg length difference and that I had to have shoes made that didn’t work, because they made my foot look even more deformed.

Not having the support so that I could at least function ‘in my own normal’ meant that I retreated into my own little world early on; a world that I was familiar with and one that recognised me. I didn’t have to think about anything, but perhaps there was nothing to think about. Perhaps I had already worked out that things would never change. Perhaps I had already worked out that it was me that would have to change. But even through all those times, subconsciously I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t done yet.

I failed at most things. In Games lessons I managed easier sports such as Netball. Where I needed a sick note to opt out of certain Games lessons like ‘The High Jump’ I was expected to participate. Being allowed to opt out wasn’t an option and where I needed understanding, there was none.

I was expected to be the same as my siblings, no allowances were made. My siblings also struggled around my difficulties, they seemed indifferent towards, but they also didn’t understand, because in the early years I’m not sure any of my siblings knew either.

Perhaps them being in the dark for most of their lives was an issue for them too, but also because they were living on the other side of my difficulties.

5 Mar, 2018

6 thoughts on “My early life

  1. So young, so sad. But you somehow stayed upright, with your distinctive characteristics, lovely in every respect.

    You are far far away from the snakes and bugs now Ilana.

    1. Your words mean so much. Thanks Tim. Yes, deep down somewhere in my psyche, the universe was telling me not to give up. That feeling of ‘just knowing’ although not understanding ‘the knowing’ stayed with me.

      But without my experiences, without having gone through this life, I couldn’t do what I do today with my website, in what I do. Through some very dark days, I feel I’ve come through even brighter.

      As my story shows, through opportunities we have a choice. The sad reality is that although people see their opportunities, as I saw mine, they’re too scared to open the door for fear of what’s on the other side.

  2. This makes such sad reading, especially when it was all so unnecessary.

    You can take some comfort in that those who could have changed things and put you first, are listening to you now and are probably very proud of you and your achievements.

    Hard as it was for you and no child should have been subject to that, I believe you went through it for a reason. I believe your Diary is that reason.

    1. Thank you. Although there is so much abuse and negativity tied to my experiences, I am not choosing to see it that way.

      It doesn’t do us any good to hold on to our past. Holding on is like holding on to coals because we’re the ones that get burned.

      It doesn’t take away from those that are responsible, whether they own up to their responsibilities or not, but it does bring understanding into the equation.

      Not only for me but for others with their own story to tell.

  3. I was a very angry child myself, seeing as I was the youngest and had a lot of issues that I didn’t know how to deal with.

    They may not have been the physical issues that you dealt with, but the lack of concern and compassion from your parents, sounds all too familiar.

    I was acting out in ways that most parents would have considered disturbed and horrifying, but they barely batted an eyelash. It was the reason I started drinking and doing drugs, seeing as I couldn’t even stand myself.

    I didn’t want to be crazy like my mother or a drunk like my dad, but it turned out that I was just like both of them and so much worse. I have spent most of my life trying to forget who and what I was, which hasn’t really worked since you can’t escape from yourself in the end.

    I’m guessing that you don’t like to spend a lot of time thinking about your childhood either, seeing as I know for me it only makes me so very angry to the point of rage.

    I guess both of us grew up in a different time where they didn’t seem to notice things, like you walking toe to heel or for me the way I was acting out. It just boggles my mind as to why, would both of our parents go so far out of their way to act like nothing was wrong?

    I’m sure that is why I have battled so long with that feeling of I’m Not worthy, considering how my parents treated my siblings and I, as if we were such a burden.

    My early life was a hell that I remember all too well, seeing as I had a fantastic memory when I was a child and couldn’t forget even as much as I wanted to.

    Now at 49, I have memory issues and have a hard time remembering what I had for breakfast yesterday, so I kind of have to live ‘in today’ and make the best of it, whether I really want to or not.

    1. Thanks Randy. You weren’t the burden, your parents were a burden to themselves. Sadly, you were the scapegoat of their many issues. You weren’t the issue.

      For myself, I was trying to come to terms with what I had to deal with, to bother or think about anyone else. But I know I wasn’t the problem. I presented with a problem.

      This isn’t yours to own and try not to feel bad our beat yourself up about it. This is their issue and their issue alone.

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