4th December, 1984 [Physio.] felt she should be able to use her right hand more than she does. To be more firm with her.
13th December, 1984 ….tried to get her to do something with her right hand – useless! Had tantrum and got v upset.
Extracts from the baby diary my parents kept until I was two years old. I remember the battles with physio. when I started school, but not from this far back. How the exercises would hurt, so I would scream, and the physio. would never get done.
This past week I’ve been pregnant with the emotion I daren’t express, that it would be inappropriate to express. In the back of my mind, I am conscious of my review coming up, that will decide whether I enter the Therapeutic Community or not. Part of that is “history”. Whirling around, again and again, the anger I felt as a child around disability. Being told time and again, that I had nothing to be angry about. I should feel lucky, ‘blessed’; it could have been a lot worse. The anger I now feel at my parents. And the guilt. They were doing their best.
The problem is that I was an angry child. I was angry when the physio. hurt me, when the exercises hurt; angry when I was forced to do something with my right hand that I could already do perfectly functionally with my left (why, why, why?); angry when there were things that I couldn’t do – or worse – wasn’t allowed to do because I was too slow at them, and my parents could do them much faster for me. And angry, angry, angry with the children who teased and taunted. But I wasn’t allowed to be angry. Anger was wrong.
So I have stuffed it all down into some barely accessible box, right at the back of my mind. Stayed rational. And now I am frightened by anger. I have no control over it, so it has to stay down, stay hidden. But it is strong. This week, thinking of the preparation that needs to be done, memories of past anger have swept through me and knocked me sideways. I’m not sure whether I can keep a lid on it, when the next meltdown will be, what it will cost.
My default, fail-safe, is to run away when I feel anger. Leave the room before I hit out, cause damage. But you’re not supposed to run away from emotion in the Therapeutic Community. You have to face it, breathe through it, explore it. I’m not sure I can do that. If I open the box, the anger will try to get the better of me; if I keep the box closed, it will consume me. I want to scream and scream and scream.