August. One step back.

August.

Arguably the hardest month in my life, well, that’s if we intentionally forgot about the time my close friend conned my laptop. Oh and that time i got raped by my “boyfriend” .

How can we forget about the two years in grade six and seven that i was beaten up everyday? For peeing in my bed. Peeing in bed is a classic symptom of anxiety in children.

The past one and a half years have been amazing. Lots of wins, i identified the source of my anxiety and depression, i become an advocate, for social justice and i am on my way to founding a safe space for children in abusive households. Especially in Africa.

I know the pain of not being listened to, or being asked to pray about it. I’ve made amazing friends and contacts, who are still friends. But hey, life is a ying yang. The losses have been there too. And most recently, i burried my relationship with my mom, which has been a constant source of pain and hurt, with depression and hopelessness sprouting out of the pain.

This time, i saw the storm coming. I could see the violence coming , i’d see the pain coming …

I went out to seek for help, but what did they all say? Pray about it. I get bouts of manic episodes everytime i think about the pain, i’m losing touch with my emotions because being in charge means i cannot spend a night in the house. Listening to my body, listening to my pulse, talkng to myself. What most people call meditation in the mental health circles. That, will ultimately push me out of toxic spaces. But, where would i go?

This month. It’s been hard. From battling suicudal ideations two minutes after a supposed therapy session, to deciding to launch a business and going back again. Back to losing friends, addictions i left a long time ago… Getting into a “relationship” in order to cope without losing it completely. Classic version of a broken Bee.

Hold fast to dreams, for without dreams. Life is like a broken winged bird

Dreams are what push me to wake up. A dream that one day, i’ll be in my own condo, possibly in New York or SA. Whatever works. That i’ll be there, happy. Waiting upon my Lord to come, writing stories and poetry. Praying. Living and loving life. I still don’t know what happens in my love life, i hope i’ll love the suprise though.

I deserve better. A better life. Better therapists. Better conditions to shine my bright personality in. I DESERVE BETTER. And so do you.

Keep waiting on the Lord. I’ll keep writing while i wait. Sipping my tea 😉

A poem in an ignorant world.

If i had the ability to draw and paint, like i’ve wanted to since i was ten. I’d paint a picture about this life i live. Growing in a drought and walking out of the storm unscathed, because, i’ll get out one day.

But since i love writing and i have the technical know how, i’ll paint a story for you.

Its 7:09 am Monday morning August, 2020. The year that was supposed to be, but turned out with the biggest curveball yet! Just like my life hey? So, welcome. Let’s keep painting. I just had an arguement with my mom, this time i’m lucky it didn’t end up in physical battery.

I’m in my room, writing. Not talking. Talking to people makes the pain worse, some don’t get it, some reproof me for being a bad daughter, others simply want to support the abuse going on. But here, here i can say it all and not have anyone tell me i’m being disrespectful. Heck! This is me being creative.

Let’s get the blue brush abd paint tiny little butterflies flying out of the burning house. Do butterflies smile? No, well, let’s add a smile too.

Have you heard of a Rorschach test? Its a blot, randomly blotted on pieces of paper. Whenever i look at the blots, all i see are butterflies, some big , some small. In psychology, that explains my inate need for freedom. I like to refer to myself as a poem in a world that barely understands the alphabet. I explain, explain, explain… No one wants to believe me.

The abuse still goes on. I’m gaslit everyday, beaten so often, its about to become a routine. The people who have the abiility to help, choosing to turn a blind eye, “praying” for the best to happen.

Amidst all these, God has brought the kindest people my way. Hi Kasz, Hi Doreen, Hi Buruchara, Hi Diana, Hi Chirry, Hi to you who has been kind and understanding. You are the only reason depression has been an old vocabulary in my life.

I’ll keep swimming. I’ll protect my agency as much as i possibly can. I’ll will be happy and i will make it to heaven one day. But before that, i will share this story far and wide. Irregardless of the consequences. That is what keeps me sane.

Stuck in a toxic home.

#trauma #global pandemic #practicality.

Folks, here’s the thing. I just want to go to heaven and i want to be happy. I’m practicing choice theory; deciding how someone else’s behaviour affects me. I’m meditating, i’m being present, careful not to get zapped into my complex traumas, but its hard. Its hard doing all of this, self love, in a toxic home.

No. Let me break that down for you. This is what our “family” looks like, I’m 21. My mom is a narcissist and my dad is an abusive husband and dad. Both of them are traumatized, hence the abusive traits and the narcissism. I’m their first born, carrying around the scars of complex trauma –I’m not even sure if i want to get married . My other siblings? They carry around th same weight. My younger brother is a narcissist and my youngest is an empath. Extremely altruistic, just like me. This is a family bonded by trauma, hence welcome to the trauma bonded “family”.

Two months ago, my mom beat me. I hadn’t turned twenty one just yet. It was painful, multiple blows on my back for no apparent reason. She found me napping in the afternoon and those blows were my wake up call. We are in the middle of a pandemic, i wish it was different. A week later, i still had this excruciating pain on my back but i had to keep a straight face.

To some of my closest friends? ‘Your mom has a right to beat you.’ They said.

I kept imploring my “parents”, asking why beating me at 20 was so acceptable in their eyes all they said was, “We have the right.”

It has been twenty years of torture. I’ve watched my parents fight, i’ve watched my dad try to slit my mom’s throat, i’ve watched my mom step on me and kick me in the name of “punishment” , i’ve sat through all the “family” interventions where i’ve been told i have demons, just because my trauma was manifesting as suicidal ideations and relationship addiction. We call it trauma because if we were to unpack the load behind that name, you wouldn’t keep a straight face.

I walk around with visible scars, on my feet from that time my mom beat me, and the invisible ones: PTSD, Bipolar disorder and depression and anxiety. This has been my childhood and early adult hood. Is it going to stop? No.

My name is Beryl Apondi. In my native tongue, it means “I love to hide.” But today, i am peeling the mask off, letting you in on what i mean by complex trauma. This has been my life for as long as i can remember. I haven’t had parents, i have friends and i’m re-parenting myself.

I grew up hating everyone. I’d ask, why would you let this happen. Some church members even encouraged my mom to beat me up – I don’t talk to them. It has been a tough journey and as i approach the best years of my life, it will get harder.

Part of having a toxic parents is that you only do what they let you do. There is nothing you can pursue on your own without getting physically or emotionally abused, and that’s why i’m writing this story . I need help, i need support and i need you to pray for me while still being practical about it.

This is the life of a 21 year old trapped in a home with traumatized parents, during a global pandemic.

30, April ’20|Poetry.

We thought we could change the world.
My beloved and I,
Walking down the block like we were the only ones alive.
Our hearts filled with love for each other and posterity.
We thought we could change the world.

One day,
At 2 am in the morning, our worlds came crumbling down.
As Chinua Achebe says, It was things falling apart.
My heart dropped from my chest,
His mask dropped on the floor,
And he, he just stood there,
The beast staring at his beauty,
The damsel in distress.
We thought we could change the world,
We thought we could change the world.

My world fell apart,
Dreams, hopes, aspirations? None of that mattered,
The beauty wanted her beast back, but he wasn’t coming,
With a shattered heart she walked away, tears trickling down her cheeks.
She thought she could change the world.

One year down the line, she has changed the world.
Her World.
Her mental health striving, she is slowly getting back to her self
The beginning.
Her life has just started.

She has changed the world.

18,Feb ’20|Love in a dark world.

Isn’t it so strange to be alive at such a time as now? Where people are constantly lying and basic decency is responded to by the might phrase, WORD! And i’m just left thinking.

Yesterday i had a panic attack infront of my “boo” and it breaks my heart to talk about this, and he was lost for words, the only thing he could say was that i was being dramatic. Dramatic and chidlish for carrying my heart on my sleeves.I don’t know what happens outside my safe haven. How many women suffer in the hands of abusive men, men devoid of feeling but there is one thing i am sure of, if we all become better mothers to our sons, we create a generation of men who’ll respect women.

By being better people, we make a better world. Love yourself and that love will automatically radiate to the people around you. The aura of self love is so powerful but only if we embrace it. Fill yourself with love.

Dear lovelies, we live in a dark world. Empaths light up the darkness and i will forever be proud to be an empath. And just like a child,i will wear my heart on my sleeves until my last breath.

20,Nov ’19|Musings about my therapy sessions.

I wish I could tell you that going to Chiromo lane for diagnosis and therapy helped. I wish I could tell you that after I was discharged I got better exponentially, that life for some strange reason looked better, that I smiled wherever I went to, that the demons didn’t come knocking again but baby, they did,i cried and I’ve had breakdowns too.

“How’s your heart today?”

Don’t ask me that if you aren’t ready for the truth cause it’ll crush you. A friend asked me that couple of days ago and I couldn’t quite put my hand on what was bothering me. I just felt disinterested, sleepy but not angry. I was having a breakdown. Again. For the umpteenth time. Trust me at this point we can’t even keep tabs on the number of breakdowns we’ve had.

Let’s head back to Chiromo lane, shall we?

I was admitted for a couple of days, saw a psychiatrist-before today I was scared of seeing a psychiatrist- she was amazing,honest and straight forward, but above all willing to help. Well before you get there, she can’t help you if you’re not honest. So first I was willing to get help and I did, though it didn’t change anything much it changed my focus in life. Showed me the important things and I learnt how to cope before getting into a ditch.

One thing she said striked me,

“…You’re a grown up, with an ability to make decisions, there is nothing much I can do to help but I would love for you to know that you’ve been shown how not to live, that doesn’t give you a right to kill yourself, It gives you the power to change the world...”

These words walk with me everyday. I’ve met people like me. Who are resilient to say the least. People who’s life story sounds like one of those sad movies but they still thrive. That in itself is a testimony. I’m a walking testimony, you are a walking truth,so how about you own it ?

Therapy may not always give you the answers you seek. If you’re waiting for me to tell you that bipolar or depression will just disappear in a day after seeing the therapist, then I’m sorry to burst your bubble. It won’t. Bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and PTSD is my reality. I make it beautiful by being there for anyone like me and cheering on the fighters. What’s your reality ?

Therapy sessions are meant to educate us about what we’re going through but not heal. Healing largely depends on what you want. Living healthy keeps the demons locked away but you’ve got to keep a clean circle of friends too.. People who don’t trigger you unnecessarily.

I’m wishing you healing. Praying that you’re able to shift your focus onto things that will make you feel blessed.

What has trauma taught you about resilience?

17, Nov, 19

I often ask, what is the place of religion in my mental health?

I have friends. Being a mental health advocate, I’ve met people who for one reason or the other do not believe in the existence of God. Saying this just breaks my heart but most atheists are people who for one reason or the other haven’t felt the power of God in their lives.

I have something to say today. I’ll speak my truth. The one I try to hide but everytime my heart throbs within me to open up. So I will.

There was a time I was sinking deep in pain. I’d see everyone who’s hurt me in my mind, the pain fresh as the morning dew but somehow I couldn’t get myself to slit my wrists I walked numb of any feeling. Thebwind instead of being a relief under the scorching sun was more of a nuisnace. I lost friends, some whom I hoped would check up on me but never did.

The pain kept building up, words stuck at my throat anytime I’d open my mouth to speak. I was alone. My mind distraught at that point death still wasn’t the way out but it seemed like the only option you see. So I started plotting how I’d kill my soul. How I’d silence it forever…

The funny thing about suicide is. You really don’t want to die but you just want a beautiful life, but at the bottom of that deep dark hole, you can’t see the light.. You just can’t.

The night before, I remember writing a eulogy for my family. I wanted to be a guest at my own funeral.. Funny right? Deep down I didn’t want to do die. But I didn’t know what was the way out of the pain. I just wanted the pain to end and the best way I knew how was leaving. Just leaving.

There’s someone who said,

Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it passes it on to the next person.

Knowing all this still didn’t charge how I felt though,made me even more determined. So that night I had pills in my room, a glass of water and a Bible. Woke up at 1am. Rather, I sat waiting for everyone to fall asleep, then at one. I walked to my study table, my safe space for the longest time. I looked at what I had lying there and subconsciously picked up my Bible, knelt down and prayed and I remember crying so hard I forgot the pain I was feeling and I just felt the Lord speak to me. I heard that still small voice still crying.. But point is, I’m still here and my heart is thriving. I’ve had episodes where I think about death, but that’s all there is. Just a thought.

Your heart is a garden, water it, till it and let the flowers thrive.

This was said by a poet. And in the Bible,

The heart is your mind.

Guard your heart above all things for from it flow the issues of life

Your mind is,

Your system, if you’re a tech savvy.

Your stove, if you’re a chef.

And if you’re a writer like me, it’s your inspiration.

It’s that thing that you need to live healthy. To be happy and to love and change the world. Mental disorders orders stem from the mind and the Bible speaks about our minds admonishing us to guard it above all things.

Well, before you misinterpret me, what we mean is protecting your love and your morals. We don’t mean shutting people out. That’s closing off your heart from growth. Religion speaks about our minds. The Lord created us. He created our minds. The minds which are now plagued by mental disorders, He knew all about it from the start.

He who started the good work in you will see it to completion.

Don’t give up, keep striving. Look at the cross, there you’ll find the peace and healing you so yearn for.

Yours Truly,

Bee💚

16, Nov, ’19 |BROKEN CISTERNS

” Leaving home isn’t the answer, you have to heal first”

Everytime I’d hear her say those words, I’d writh in anger. This was my third therapy session with her and I wanted nothing more than to leave this hellhole dominated by ‘monsters’. I ran, I cried, I loved… But as you can tell none of that worked for me. In the book of Jeremiah, It says, ‘You have built yourself broken cisterns that hold no water.‘ That’s my mantra. When I’m using something else to numb the pain, I know it’s a broken cistern that’s gonna let the water out.

The only way out is in.

Unknown

I looked for love and validation from people I didn’t grow up with, there’s a famous quotation that says, “Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know” Dysfunctional families, toxic relationships, traumatic experiences.. You name it. Someone around us is going through this probably with no idea how to heal through it. I’ll tell you my story. How getting in helped me figure my way out.

On the 16th day of June,’99 momma gave birth to a beautiful African princess. Okay back then I didn’t know I was going to take my African heritage so seriously,*chuckles*. Dad was happy, he named me after someone I still don’t know about but I love my name to bits. Apondi, that’s what my late granny used to call me, may her soul rest in peace.

Momma says i’ve always been a quiet child. Very little to say. Truth is, I’ve always spoken, only I speak to myself. I remember this particular incident in school, I was speaking to a friend then all of a sudden I get a flashback… One of those things we bury so deep. Yes I saw them fight and I started crying. Fun fact, I can cry next to you and you’ll not even notice. No one saw me cry. Life moved on. I graduated eight grade went on to high school. Here things got a little too rough. My mental disorder started kicking in unbeknownst to many, I was having major breakdowns affected my grades, but just once. After four years, I graduated and was called to one of the best universities in the city. It was a good day.

So, being a quiet girl, I never really had a connection with men. I would crush on a guy from a distance but one afternoon as I walked home from work, I met Dan, a pretty good-looking kamba guy. Just out of highschool. As we spoke for the first time, I noticed some chemistry though I didn’t wanna act on it. Couple of weeks later he invited me to his home. I took a million microseconds to talk myself out of this but I still went to see him.

Guess what happened though, he assaulted me. This was the beginning of a long long journey of healing. I’ve never been the same since. I find it hard to trust men. He’s actually not the last man who hurt me, just the first and it changed my world in ways I never imagined…

**to be continued

18,Oct. ’19 :Narcississm.

Yes. Narcississm./na-si-ci-zm/ that’s how you read it. The unseen monster within us, the one we didn’t choose to become victims of but somehow we are. I’ll break the big word down for you, don’t worry.

Suppose you’re in a room with a friend. Let’s call your friend John,

‘Hey buddy, can you get me a glass of water? ‘

‘Sure John.’

*You get him the glass of water but it slips and falls down*

‘This is all your fault Mike, you made the glass break! Look what you’ve done.’

Now this is what we call gaslighting. Narcissists are master gaslighters. I listen to stories of people living with narcissists,more importantly I listen to me.

I still remember how happy and beautiful my relationship with Pi was, we always, always met each other half way consequently we rarely had disagreements. Bit by bit my life slipped from my hands whenever I decided to meet him halfway.

I’d just started my blog but slowly, almost imperceptibly I lost the will to write. I just couldn’t write. Hey, before you say anything just listen. I wasn’t unhappy. Rather consumed. The relationship consumed me to a point I lost me, any healthy relationship respects your individuality. But everytime I wanted to be me, I risked losing us. Now this. This is manipulation.I’m not a psychologist but this is a red flag. The first one you’ll get from a ‘monster’. Fast forward to when we had our first fight and all of the problems we had were my fault. Never his fault. Apologies were rare . Love only near when I ‘met him halfway’. I loved him, I still do, these weren’t red flags for me. This was love.

I got drained. My mind was constantly in a maze, ‘Is this okay with Pi? I don’t want to make him angry’ What hurts me the most is none of my friends saw the red flags. I’d share the story and they’d urge me on with words like ‘it’ll get better, just hold on’ Along the way it got Increasingly hard. We eventually broke up. I was shattered left bleeding on rocky ground. I was on edge, starved myself for a month, contemplated suicide more than once that month. Why? I lost me. I lost my life in a relationship that was broken, I didn’t know where to start. Mostly because I’d invited a monster into my life. I’d given the devil the keys to mess me up and he did. Real good!

I met a narcissist. Loved a narcissist and dreamt of a life with him. This is the reality of people brought up by narcissistics. You almost can’t control it. It just happens but no one believes us. With comments from ‘Why can’t you just let him go? Why are you in a hurry to love? Look what you got yourself into’ I can count the number of times I’ve left a therapy room crying yet I walked in with a smile. It’s a cruel world. With narcissistics preying on the empathic souls. The world couldn’t get any worse now could it?

There is a streak of hope. That light that’s always at the end of the tunnel? Yes. It’s right at the end of my blog today. I left. I lived. The Lord’s strength was made manifest in my weakness. I’m not a victim anymore, I’m a survivor! A fighter! You know what I wanna do next? Fight the monsters with my small army of survivors. And my kindness, my kindness will never be a monsters doormat!

10 Aug ’19 “To inspire change”

I’ve met people who with respect to what they have undergone in life, would rather keep their story in between the sheets. Who would rather have their stories whispered than spoken.

My story. What I go through, is something I want to shout out to the entire world. I just want to speak and be heard. This of course is not something I grew up aware of, but in the long run you realize there are things bigger than what you go though. Love and respect remain at the top,regardless of what we go through. You may be sinking but one thing that’s gonna pull you up is love.

My love for humanity, for people who have gone through trauma, attempted suicide survivors, troubled childhood you name it. The love I have for these people pushes me to speak up and in turn I hope to inspire change and healing amongst us. Healing starts when you reach your hand to the next person.

Inspire change today by speaking up.

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