The first year of being in my new home was really rough. I barely knew my new family and struggled with the fear of living with a new man in my life. I quickly took on to calling my great aunt “mom” as she became quite the maternal figure in my life. I referred to my great uncle as “uncle” because I refused to open up. I spent most nights having nightmares and struggling with dealing with my pent up aggression and fears. My new guardians made sure I was seeing a psychiatrist on a daily basis to help me talk about my experiences so I would not act out at home. I was quickly diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or CPTSD. The psychiatrist I was working with used various forms of games and photos to help me open up and explain my feelings and try to help with the nightmares. The psychiatrist helped me work through my fear of being in the room alone with men and my fear of abandonment and being left alone.
Going into elementary school was a serious adjustment for me. I was not a very socialized child. I spent a lot of time doing those Pre-K and Kindergarten practice books that taught me the alphabet and helped me practice reading. I found solace and peace in learning new things, It helped me drown out the graphic memories of the first few years of my life.
Once I started school I completely opened up. I blossomed into a bit of a social butterfly of sorts. I made lots of new friends and started adjusting to my new life at home. It did not take long for the teachers to notice something was off. I would refuse to answer by my last name and not listen to the teachers when they asked me to do something. My teachers brought my guardians in to discuss my home life and behavioral issues in class. They advised my new mother that they believed I had Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. My new mother brought me to my routine psychiatrist appointment and advised her of the situation. I was quickly put on Ritalin. I finished out the remaining years of elementary school experimenting with various ADD medications.
Meanwhile, at home, I listened to my new mother and my uncle fight over whether or not the medication was just a “crutch” and that ADD was just a made up thing to describe a child’s hyperactivity. My uncle was from South America and raised with a completely different mentality. My mother was becoming increasingly worried about me not warming up to my uncle so she advised the therapists I needed additional counseling. After quite a few years of behavioral therapy and various play therapy games I finally was able to see my uncle as a father figure. My fear of him dissipated and I began to call him dad.
Finally things were coming together….