Today marks 8 months of physically living without you. Physically you‘re not present, yet you’re working your magic from the other side to help me understand YOU and piece together the pieces of your puzzle. I can just see you sitting across from me saying “Happy Mum! Finally no secrets! You wouldn’t let it go! Now you know everything!”
Me: “Lilly, Who hurt you? You have to let us know so that we can protect you”
Lilly: “It’s not for you to know. It’s between me and my therapist”
The cutting & alcohol abuse started in the fall of 2012
No one knows what triggers or causes Bipolar Disorder. Some experts believe that experiencing a lot of emotional distress as a child can cause you to develop bipolar disorder. This can include experiences like:
sexual or physical abuse
losing someone very close to you, such as a parent
For eight years I tried my best to find out what was the initial traumatic event that caused Lilly to self-harm. It all had to start from somewhere. Who had broken her trust, who had violated her, who had hurt her? I was never able to find the answer while she was alive. The professionals were bounded by confidentiality and Lilly always maintained that it was not for me to know. Miraculously, I found the missing piece of the puzzle. Lilly orchestrated a series of events and just like that, I got my answer.
Research indicates that children are especially vulnerable to trauma because their brains are still developing. Children experience a heightened state of stress during terrible events, and their bodies release hormones related to stress and fear. This type of developmental trauma can disrupt normal brain development. As a result, trauma can significantly affect a child’s long-term emotional development, mental health, physical health, and behavior.
Trauma unfortunately never goes away. It can be managed by effective evidence-based treatment. The symptoms can be managed well and can remain dormant for years, even decades. However, there is a possibility that the symptoms can be “triggered” at any time in the future.
The symptoms of trauma include shock, anger, self-harm, embarrassment, lack of self-worth, shame, guilt, depression, powerlessness, disorientation, flashbacks, nightmares, denial, anger, fear, and anxiety.
Lilly’s depression, anxiety, nightmares, anger bouts, self-harming started in December 2012. She closed up and spent many hours in her room. At around the same time, she started drawing fallen angels with tears, roses with tears, hooded profiles. We as parents knew that something terrible had happened. We tried to get her to speak but the shame, guilt, fear, denial kept her silent. Throughout the years, I would try to get Lilly to talk but she was adamant to keep her secret. A secret so painful that it haunted her till the day she died.
Self-harm does not start because you have an obstinate defiant child. Self-harm starts when the child has suffered trauma. Trauma so powerful that it causes the child to feel shame, worthlessness, fear, anxiety, and depression. It is a lifelong battle to treat the traumas experienced in childhood.
I can only imagine how frightening it must have been for Lilly to hold this secret for so many years. So many of her behaviors make sense now. Not trusting anyone, self-loathing, not feeling good enough.
I wish I could clear the veil that separates us and pull Lilly down from Heaven. I would hug her tight and tell her “It Wasn’t Your Fault”. “You didn’t do anything wrong”. ”You are not any less for what has happened to you”. “You are still the same special girl with a golden heart”.
Lilly - thank you for helping us unravel your secret eight months after your passing. Papa and I will do everything in our power to get you justice. Lalla - we love you beto....