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© 2023 by inTune Pathways 

ABN 78 435 698 441

  • Kristy Forbes

As I stood at my Grandfather's grave

Updated: Feb 25

Trigger warning: Suicide, self harm, mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction. ——- As I stood at the foot of my Grandfather’s grave Saying my final goodbyes yesterday afternoon, A woman approached me. I had never seen her before in my life. She said: “I am so shocked that you turned out so well. I lived in your neighbourhood and you caused your Mother SO MUCH TROUBLE.” I put my hands up to my cheeks and asked “Who are you?”.. I don’t remember anything after that. In the moment, I think I felt shock. Since then, I’ve not been able to stop processing it. With sadness, shame, humiliation and, Anger. I did cause my Mother a lot of trouble. It’s true. I kicked over her pot plants, Smashed a plate on her floor. Smashed a window, Swore at her. I was violent. I was often dropped off outside in a police van. I was in and out of juvenile court for malicious damage, Assault. I was out of control. I caused trouble. So much trouble. I own it. Boy do I. In amongst that time there was shame Self hatred Self loathing Self harm Repeated suicide attempts That began in primary school. Handwritten apologies and goodbye letters. Living with the knowledge that within my family No matter how they treated me, Everybody thought I was a little bit mad. Unstable. Not right. My mother had to collect me from the psychiatric unit at 16. Emaciated. Starving. I couldn’t remember who I was, where I was or how I got there. I was a drug and alcohol addict. In alcoholics and narcotics anonymous by my early 20s. But not before homelessness and a teenage pregnancy at 18. I did many geographicals; Ran from myself until I realised I’d taken myself with me. I knew. I knew I caused trouble. I felt worthless. Unwanted. Unloveable. And I caused so much trouble. But why? Why did I cause so much trouble? Why don’t we, as a society ask this of children? Do we really REALLY believe that children behave in these ways because they want to? And is this really REALLY where it ends? Are children REALLY REALLY either good or bad? I didn’t need anyone to give me a hard time A shake up A kick up the arse. I was already giving myself a hard time. More than anyone could ever have imagined. I mean.. I wanted to die. Children Give others a hard time When they Are HAVING A hard time. Extreme anxiety. Is what I lived with. I couldn’t do the things I knew I could do because I was so afraid. Afraid of failing. Afraid of not being good enough. Afraid of there being something very, very wrong with me. I needed help. And nobody could help me. Because nobody knew what I needed. I didn’t know what I needed. I didn’t know. I didn’t know I was autistic. I didn’t know I was living with chronic anxiety Debilitating demand avoidance. I just fought. Fought for my life. Fists up, in front of my face, living from a space of defence Permanently. Everything I did Was wrong. Everything I said Was wrong. Everything about me Was wrong. Because our world didn’t know What it knows now.. What it’s still working furiously away at understanding. The violence, the screaming, the meltdowns. The drinking, the drugging, the absconding.. This behaviour Is an expression. It is a physical manifestation Of an internalised experience. One hell of a mess. And who I am now, Was underneath all of that The entire time. I felt. I felt and thought so, so deeply. And that was my greatest pain. So I learnt to shut it off. And within many circles, In many environments, In many relationships, I have worn many labels. Selfish, self centred Self seeking, egocentric Mad, queer, psycho Mental, Thinks she’s better than us (When I wasn’t able to communicate at all). We NEVER ASK WHY. We must start asking WHY Our children are behaving this way. Behaviour is a byproduct When we lack the understanding The language The skills The self acceptance The self love. Behaviour is a series of acts Of desperation HELP ME. HELP ME. HEAR ME. SEE ME. LOVE ME. Yes. I caused my Mother, my entire family, So much trouble. And I live with this every time I am in their presence. I feel it; my difference. The damage I caused. There are no happy stories about my teen years. For anybody. My mother did all she could. Panicked, desperate, isolated, a single parent. Booked me in for counselling, Walked me around the block whilst I was in the midst of a psychological breakdown. She did all she could. Nobody knew. Nobody knew what to do. I then went on to parent Still not knowing what we already didn’t know Parenting for 16 years Not knowing Until I did know What I know now About autism. And, I am not alone. Diagnosed at 33. 7 years I’ve known who I am. For 7 years I’ve been getting to know myself. Making amends. Healing. Recovering. I haven’t turned out well; I’ve always been this person underneath. And diagnosis freed me. . . Kristy Forbes inTune Pathways . . Art: We Heart It