2015 was supposed to be a good year.
I had high hopes for my writing career, and many plans for the new year. After the home invasion, when my family and I were held captive for 3 hours, most of my plans for 2015 went down the drain. Three months later, and I still find it hard to write (as witnessed by the three-month long gap between posts), and most days I spend just trying to stay out from under the bed.
Recovering from trauma is difficult, and takes a long time, and we are all dealing with it differently. There is no “one size fits all” quick fix here. My oldest son started getting aggressive – he hits his little brother and throws his toys around, but much more worrisome, he is starting to exhibit signs of self-harm. My husband pretends it didn’t happen at all, and sleeps a lot to get away from it. He’s never truly experienced anything that violent, and he has no coping skills to deal with it. Me … well … I don’t sleep, I have severe anxiety and I get panic attacks. I don’t want to be home (at all, the less I can be here, the better), and every time I read about yet another attack (and believe me when I tell you, there are plenty right now), everything comes crashing back, and the little progress I’ve made disappears.
I can deal with what happened to me, in my opinion it wasn’t that bad. It could have been much worse, and judging by what others had to deal with who were victims of the same gang, we got off lightly. I can’t deal with what happened to my son. Over and over again, I replay that moment he ran into our room with that big smile on his face, the moment they grabbed him, the moment I begged them not to hurt him, the sudden fear on my child’s face as he realised Mummy and Daddy weren’t having some kind of late-night party going on in their bedroom. I remember the moment they started trying to tie him up, his voracious fight, the moment of blackness when they pistol-whipped me, coming to and seeing them choking him, but most of all I remember my impotence to do anything about it. I hate myself for failing my child. Realistically, of course, there was nothing I could do. My arms were tied behind my back, and I was disoriented from the blow to my head, but that doesn’t stop the feelings of self-loathing and failure. I keep running it over in my head, wondering what I could have done differently. I should have done more to protect him.