Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I still hear their screams

Dear all,

This is a very graphic post about Reactive Attachment Disorder. Please use discretion while reading. Any negative comments will be removed immediately.

I have coined a phrase. That phrase is: The Sunken Ship Syndrome.

Every once in a great while, memories from my childhood that I have long since forgotten (usually of the violence, sadness or my kidnapping) float to the surface of my thoughts, like decking from a rusting, hulking, broken ship on the bottom of the sea.

Lately, the screams of the animals that I killed as a child still resonate in my head. No matter how hard I try, I still hear the anguish, the pain that I caused and the nights as a 10 year old I spent crying myself to sleep, blood still fresh underneath my fingernails. No matter how many tears I shed or animals I killed, I couldn't abolish the anger that I knew was right under the surface, ready to explode at a moment's notice.

I write this post to help those reading about reactive attachment disorder and understand it's potentially lethal consequences.

Without going into very gory details I can talk about one of my household pets I killed while in a rage that even today shocks me.

I came home and for no apparent reason whatsoever (past the pain of my youth) I decided to beat a cat of mine with the end of a toilet plunger handle. A perfect weapon I thought. Immediately, I totally lost control over myself. I was watching myself mercilessly beat this defenseless animal. I watched myself swing, and swing and swing away and with each agonizing blow, I only became angrier.

I like to refer to this even like watching a movie. I could feel the seething anger, the depression. I could see myself killing this animal, I could hear it scream. I could feel my hands but I totally lost any kind of self control to stop myself. Still fresh in mind with the last blow I took, the cat stretched itself out and then died. (My eyes tear up even today thinking about that stretch)
When I close my eyes at night, I still wonder why that animal had to die and I didn't. I still want to vomit when I think about all that poor animal suffered at my hands, my anger and my disposition. The weight of so many lives I took weighs heavily on me.

To take a life, any life haunts you as it haunts me still. During these anger outbursts, I literally had no control over myself. It was totally unspeakable. I could be described as beyond maniacal.

After I dumped the body into my parents bathroom, I threatened my brother's life. I said " If you get in my way, I will kill you too..." The anger was still there, but slowly beginning to recede. I ran out of the house while my brother ran out saying "Mike don't go I love you". I didn't care. I didn't care about love anymore. I didn't care about who I was hurt and killing. I didn't care about the blood that I spilled over a disorder that didn't in those days even have a name yet. I just wanted to die. I was 14 years old.

I hid in a stream bed at the bottom of my family's home. The oddest thing happened. Above me, very dark, very low and very menacing clouds were flying through the sky at magnificent speed. The leaves on the ground from the new fall season rustled through the grass and passed over my hands and feet. I just layed there, the anger now subsided and I was very, very scared and above all, physically and mentally spent.

Today, 32 years old, I still hear those screams and I remember those clouds. I think about the countless other children and adults that are still suffering my fate as we speak. I pray that they read this post and realize they aren't alone in their sufferings. I understand what they are going though and if I could reach out to them and share their tears, I would in a heartbeat. People that have suffered from Reactive Attachment Disorder share a very special, yet violent and sad bond that only we that are afflicted with it understand. I understand.

I write what I wrote so that I could write what's next.

Last night, I had an opportunity (now I am cying a bit) to hold a brand new, 2 week old puppy who's eye's just opened. Barely able to crawl I saw this beautiful little creature try to crawl her way to me. As I looked both lovingly and awe inspired by the untamed beauty of this creature she finally stumbled over to me, head bobbing. She licked my nose and I saw the beauty of such an innocent and beautiful creature look at me with the fragility of her existence in my life.

I wanted to hold her soft body close to mine and renew my vow to love her as much as I could before I have to sell her. This is my penance for the sins that I have committed to so many household animals that died at my hands for me to survive. To see such wonderment in such a small baby puppy renews my hope that the screams I hear every night don't have to repeat themselves again.

I have told many that know me I would gladly give my life to bring back the animals that I took from this world in anger over so many things that happened to me.

Today, however, I wonder if the better choice to reach out to those animals and people that I can that I hold in such wonderment. I ponder if those that died at my hands died so that I can see the true beauty of a puppy crawling to me in the middle of the night. They may have died to show me that at 14 I felt like the devil himself (literally) but I am the exact opposite of the devil.

Yes, their lives were taken in vain but within that vain was the promise of hope their deaths gave me. That promise is the beautiful puppy now asleep who's life will enrich another's life and bring them years of joy and happiness.

I may hear their screams for the rest of my life but the puppy I hold with the gentleness of a champagne glass will never have to scream those screams.



Lisa said...

Now I am crying. Thank you, Michael, for sharing this. I know that it was probably very difficult to write.

I am so sorry for everything you've had to go through and you had every right to be very, very angry.

Wishing I could give you a giant hug but a cyber hug will have to do.

Thandi said...

Not a RAD mom or sufferer, just someone who seeks enlightenment.Thank you for opening up.The pain you feel at the things you did is so obvious.I sit here weeping for that little boy.And praying that the child who's arriving tonight to 'visit' us won't go through the anguish you went through.

Jo said...

This post breaks my heart. I want you to know I don't blame you for what happened, and I would pray that your memories don't torture you. So grateful you found a way out, and you are being a light to others.

:)De said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing that and thank you Lisa for yet another ray of hope.


A said...

I'm horrified - but more at the awful thoughts going through my own mind as I hope MY RAD child never has these words to write. I'm going to go back and read your story from the start. Thank you for putting this down for others to see, I can imagine that it has to be painful to relive.

I pray you are able to find peace in your healing, knowing you are no longer that person.

One Future At A Time said...

Thank you all for your support!