I am sitting here wondering how the hell I am supposed to condense my significant life events into two blog posts.
But it is something I must do. Because without an explanation of where I have been, how I got to where I am, will not make any sense.
Secondly, because my kids are napping (yes I am grinning) and there will not be another golden moment to write like this, for a while.
So here we go.
I am the only daughter of a schizophrenic father, a drunk and violent step-father and a single mother.
When I was about four months old, my mother ran away with me and a few bags in tow. It was the bravest, best decision she could have made, because unbeknown to anyone at the time, my father’s undiagnosed schizophrenia was beginning to take hold and he had become delusional and violent.
Being a single parent is tough. Being an Indian, single mother in 80’s Britain was shit. If it was not for the support of my mum’s sisters and her boss at the time, I would probably be telling a very different story now.
The family courts granted full custody to my mother, and I was required to spend every other weekend with my father.
At the age of six, I experienced sexual abuse from someone we were sharing a house with at the time. It didn’t last long and it is something I have only told my husband and a very small number of people.
So to write this down and declare it so publicly in this post, is the result of a lot of inner healing work. Healing work that I wish to share with you as part of this blog.
At the age of nine, my mum re-married to my step-father. The marriage was short-lived as he died suddenly from a heart attack six years later (I was fifteen at the time). I wasn’t close to him. Probably because he couldn’t handle his drink, had a very short temper and lashed out at my mum on several occasions.
Meanwhile, my actual father had remarried and had another daughter. She was six years younger than me and even though my relationship with my father had become strained over the years, my (half-)sister and I were close.
Unfortunately, my father’s schizophrenia had worsened over the years due to no diagnosis and a resulting lack of treatment. He absolutely refused to admit there was a problem or see a doctor.
Mental illness is difficult for anyone to accept, but within Indian communities it brings shame and gossip with it. Therefore, those who live with it are forced to hide it, letting it bubble under the surface until its mostly too late.
In the spring of 2003, my father drowned my sister in the bathtub and tried to commit suicide, while my step-mum was out at work. My sister was 13 at the time. Up until this point he had never been violent to either my sister or I and doted on us. Hence, this was particularly difficult for me and my family to accept.
He was charged with murder by diminished responsibility and eventually admitted to a mental health hospital within London. I haven’t spoken to my father in years and I haven’t seen him since.
The shock and guilt I felt over losing my sister and the anger I felt towards my father, resulted in my failing my first year exams at University. Somehow, with the help of wonderful friends and my mum, I pulled myself together to eventually graduate with a degree.
But I was lost. On the outside I seemed fine, happy even. On the inside I was raging and desperately trying to keep up with everyone’s expectations of being “strong”.
I was sad, depressed, lonely, angry and I lacked a huge amount of self-worth. At the time I didn’t realise it and thought that how I felt was ‘normal’, because I had lived with it for so long.
It was only after meeting my husband in 2009 and accidentally stumbling across a little book called ‘The Secret’, did my life really start to change for the better.
After years of trying to understand the principles described in the book, researching and practising many other methods, (and a whole lot of trial and error), I am finally in a place where I have honed it down to a few key principles and methods that work for me.
The journey from 2009 onwards will form the second part of my story. Only because putting it all in one blog post will just turn this thing into one long essay (if its not already), and my kids are also awake now and running riot!
So, if you have read up until now, thank you very much and I hope to see you (virtually) next week.