Day 900. Survivors found: 11
One of the first things to come back to me was the sound of the cries.
There were these small, whimpering baby cries of protestation from all around the room. I guess we were all more or less babies at the time. There were about 6 toddlers and preschool children in the program.
My mind associates the sound of these cries with heat and sweat. After they got off of me, I remember everything being hot, wet, fuzzy and hazy. The whole world became blurry.
I told my therapist about this later, and she said that these are the effects of oxygen deprivation.
Sometimes, I’d be let up while some of the other children were still being laid on. I stood up in the blurry haze, looking around the room and seeing them forced to undergo the same things I just had to undergo, but for longer. Or being forced to undergo things that were even worse than I had to on that day.
I remember feeling grateful at first that it wasn’t me. Then I stopped feeling anything at all. I just stared out like a deer in headlights, frozen and numb. I now see the process of how my ability to feel empathy froze at that time.
The place where this program was held is still open. I requested to have my records sent to me. After encountering resistance, I was finally sent something.
It was ridiculous; the intake involved asking my mother to write a paragraph on ‘what do you feel your child’s problem is’, giving me an IQ test, then slapping a catch-all label of “emotionally disturbed” (they didn’t even diagnose me with anything) on me and making the recommendation that I attend their program for a year.
The program included 2.5+ hours of holding therapy every day with men and women in the group, plus at least 2 individual sessions of holding therapy, as well as on an as-needed basis at home.
I blocked much of that year out. Could we have been kept in cages, had our mouths duct-taped, or any of the other associated practices as well? I was 4 years old, and I still can’t remember everything. But I wouldn’t rule it out.
I do remember not being allowed to go to the bathroom, with my mom and therapist’s weight pressing down on me. I begged and pleaded and they said no. I asked when I could go to the bathroom, and they would not tell me.
I have another memory of my dad (who must have weighed between 180 to 200 pounds) lying on me and thrusting his lower body into me in a sexual way. Whenever this memory comes up, there’s always a voice in my mind that accompanies it, saying, “you’re making this all up, that couldn’t have been, he was just changing positions, adjusting himelf.”
I hope so.
I have a sense that there were body fluids – vomit, urine, etc. during the group holding sessions, though whether from me or from the other children I don’t remember.
I might write more later.
Thank you again for listening.