By Nicole Hilton, August 5, 2019
After the Incident, I was broken. I began a lifetime of stuffing down my pain while trying to pretend everything was “normal”. It wasn’t always possible to keep up the charade.
I had no idea what had happened to me. But the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual effects of the attack were still there. To add insult to injury, because no one—not even myself—knew what had happened, I was expected to carry on as before.
But everything was different, and I knew it. It was as though I was one person one day, and a completely different child the next. I knew I was different deep down inside of me, like seeds of darkness had been planted there, and I couldn’t pluck them out. It felt permanent, and the fruits thereof turned my life upside-down. I had borne my afflictions fairly well before that day in second grade; I had been a cheerful, loving, and sincere little girl. But after that day, something was broken…and I seemed to be the only one aware of the fact.
I tried to carry on as normal, but I couldn’t. When I couldn’t, and I had meltdowns or bipolar-like episodes, everyone judged me. When everyone judged me, I tried desperately to remember what “normal” was, and I tried to act that way—pushing all of my emotions down. When I pushed all of my emotions down, they would burst out of me in odd moments and in disturbing ways. When that happened, and none of the children or adults in my life understood, they responded with frustration, anger, and even abuse at times. Then, I would push my emotions down harder—and the destructive cycle would continue.
That is the very short version of why there were tear stains blossoming across my pink frilly pillow case; I secretly cried myself to sleep every night for almost all of elementary school. And that is the very short version of what led up to my suicide in fourth grade.