29 years ago I was in Primary 3 and a neighbour came into the classroom and began whispering with my teacher. I knew they were talking about me because they kept looking over and then the teacher told me that I had to go home to my neighbour’s house rather than my own. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Why were they talking about me? Had I been bad? Did Mum and Dad not love me any more? At my neighbours house I watched ‘John Craven’s Newsround’ which mentioned that two policemen had been killed in Northern Ireland and I still remember thinking how sad that must be for their families. I didn’t think that I would be one of those family members, but I was.
I only mention this because I have been thinking about how childhood incidents impact on adult behaviours and I have realised that this need to know what is going on all around me and to try and control everything in my life and to be perfect all the time stems from this incident 29 years ago.
My Uncle’s death was terrible and tore the heart out of my beloved grandparents but for me I hardly knew the man. Instead I grew up with the icon, the carefully crafted image from my Aunt and cousins. If he had lived he’d be 68 (I think) but our lives would be very different. I wouldn’t have had that experience of watching my Mum screaming and crying and not being able to help her or take her pain away, no matter how good I was. And he would just be an ordinary man instead of a saint.
I always thought I didn’t have any “incidents” in my childhood that could have caused my adult depression then bipolar disorder. It’s amazing what surfaces when you start to really look! I am so grateful for my yoga and meditation practice as they help me through this introspection.