By Daniel Harrison


So, what now? My emotions are starting to move or are they? I woke up and suddenly realised that at the centre of my chest was a young baby staring out from its cot at a terrifying world. I have lived my life from the centre of this hurt, unable to let go of my emotions, of my grief, because to let go would be all too much for me. I am terrified of the world; I am terrified of accepting that she has gone, that this is it, and that my family can never come back. I am terrified of accepting that this was always the case, once Mum left there was no going back but as a baby how I could accept the loss of the figure that to me represent life. Without her I was lost, dead, unable to survive and so I did the only thing that I could think of doing, I froze emotions, I bailed from my body, I stuffed everything into the deepest recesses of my mind and spent my life trying to get her back. What else was there to live for? What else was I to do?

Well all my grand schemes have come to nought; I learnt the hard way that one cannot step in the same stretch of river twice. That is all very fine but what I am I to do with this pain, how am I to accept it, how am I to live a life in which my family foundation has been smashed in which I belong nowhere. I cannot return to my family, I only belong to some members of my adopted family, my life is a ruin, my dreams are in ruins, and my way of coping with this loss by trying to undo what has happened has just resulted in even bigger losses. This is a crazy life, but what else am I to do, I have to cope this, I have to find a way through this, I cannot stand the fact that this is the case but I can’t undo how I feel.

So, what am I to do with this baby? I wake up terrified of the world, terrified of this loss, at a loss as to how exactly I should cope with this. The anger and resentment whirring round in my brain, my fear of rejection, of abandonment, the fact that the world for me is an abandoning mother, the pathways that I have not taken because I have been too afraid to open my heart, to love, to live. My anger over the lost opportunities, my confusion over what exactly I would like to do anyway given that I have spent a lifetime pleasing others, Over the course of my life, just when I thought all was lost another trail would open up, another door, as I trod through the dark forest towards this point. Yes, it has always been this bloody point that has been the point of my life, dealing with mother leaving, with the loss of my family, trying to get a handle on how to cope. Now some people argue that you just get on with it but what does that mean?

The truth of the matter is that I cannot get on with it when I have built on it, on this pain, my entire life, a life that was solely designed to help me cope with this loss. That is the truth of the matter full stop. I was met with a deafening wall of silence from the moment I was born, my emotions, my emotional state and needs were secondary to the needs of others, shoved to one side so that others could offload children, the government got rid of children and the adopted parents got hold of children. Where the hell was I in this equation, I was a parcel, a commodity delivered to the good middle class family from my oppressed, fallen mother whose feelings and needs were denied also. No wonder our reunion did not go swimmingly

But I cannot speak for her, I can only speak for myself, and at least I am speaking. The major part of the problem you see was the fact that I was robbed of my voice, of my emotional intelligence. When society refuses to let you cry, when society refuses to acknowledge your pain, when society turns a blind eye to what is happening, no not a blind eye, actively aids and abets my being stolen and my birth certificate falsified then who am I to trust? How am I to trust myself when I am only a child, a baby and I do not know what the hell is going on? How am I to trust my emotions, my heart, and my soul when society says that stealing my mother will have no impact on my emotional wellbeing and punishes my brother with welfare when he dares to act out, I knew all too well that I had to hide out, not show my true feelings, act, vacate my soul, my mind, my body, hide who I was so that I could deal with the blows. But what happens when that becomes de rigueur as a way of coping, as a way of living. Heartless, too afraid to follow my heart, to fall in love, missing out on so many opportunities in life because I had lost all self-confidence, all self-trust, oh so willing to sell myself down a river for nothing, for love from the outside, all too willing to be hollow, to feel nothing, to bury everything inside.

But what goes in must go out, or rather what is generated inside, emotionally has to be released otherwise one becomes frozen, a corpse, a walking talking corpse. Now plenty of people tell me that what I am saying is terrible, and say poor me, but I would be more afraid for my health if I was still silent, for at last I am thawing, I am moving through the ice, through the darkness, through the sickness, through the buried anger, through the terror inside. Previously I spent a lot of time wishing that I was dead, now I am feeling very uncomfortable but very much alive as I sit in my bed aware that there is a baby slap bang in the centre of me who is terrified of this world, who is terrified of accepting that this is it, I can never go back, I will never be a babe in my mother’s arms or be protected by a family. When I first met my mother the thing I most wanted was for her to hold me but she could not do that all those years ago because, so she claimed, my father was a rapist and she was afraid that I might rape her.

This journey for me is not easy, it goes in spirals, people say oh you should just accept it, well I don’t know how to just accept it, maybe I am a crazy permanent failure, I struggle to see reasons to live even when lying in the arms of my wife, I have in effect lost all faith in love, in God, in life. My mind whirs round and round with all the losses that have piled up, anger and resentment over all the years that I have spent chasing my tail trying to deal with this and no this is not a hobby, this is life and death, all those years ago when my coping mechanisms collapsed I had no choice but to embark on this journey. To find out what made me tick, to find out what had happened, to understand what I had been running from all my life, mum leaving, my adopted family, running from my adopted family , my shame over my adoption. Like geological layers, I have had to peer back through time and understand myself, what makes me tick. I have had to try and work out what is going on in my head because if I feel like crying and dying all the time then I can’t very well live can I?

Once could say that I am depressed, I would prefer the world despair, a land of total ashes, not a lot is written about despair, but people have spoken about being in this state for fifteen to twenty years, my state began when I was born but it was only when all my coping mechanisms failed that I fully entered into it. For many years I refused to be involved with anyone at a heart level because I did not want to hurt again and I wanted to understand why opening my heart nearly destroyed me. For many years I have put my life to one side as I have gone deep underground and I have learnt much but at the end of the day trying to move on from the underground to living again is proving to be very difficult. I don’t have a clue what I want to do anymore and I feel like a fuse in my brain has been pulled out, there is nothing but static, darkness, a wall and no clear map of how to move into the light.

People give me all kinds of answers but at the end of the day I trust my intuition, I trust my heart, I have learnt the hard way that I need to be true to myself, that my intuition will let me know what to do. The problems is that for the first time in my life I feel completely bamboozled, I feel as if I will never leave this place, that this journey has led me to the middle of a swamp, of a desert, that there are no breaks coming, nothing, that this is it.

Now, if I am honest, I would say that I have felt this way since my mother left and after all my coping mechanisms collapsed a few years after reunion. My mother had not managed to heal my heart as I had hoped she would. There was I going to her door from another country as a young twenty year old with all my worldly possessions in my bag, hoping to regain my family, while worried about leaving my twin behind. By the time I had left the dream was over. Years later I am still reminded of how that dream could never be with facebook pictures of my brothers who grew up with my mother close and happy talking about the family with some of their posts leaving me feeling like an angry and resentful outsider. At the same time, after twenty four years of listening to my mother’s problems I have decided to keep my distance from her by not phoning because I was not getting anything out of our relationship except anger and the realisation that my life in pursuit of her heart, of her healing me, of her undoing my adoption had been in vain.

So had my pursuit of qualifications, they did not bring the love that I desired and the academic staff had little or no appreciation of emotions and therefore of my adoption issues. Trying to resurrect that career not only brought anxiety and panic as I remembered my breakdown and felt ashamed of it and indeed could not cope being on the campus around people who knew what I had gone though.

This was not helped by a lecture within the sociology department telling me that they had a file on me in the office. In spite of this I struggled for three years on that Doctorate before finally admitting what my intuition had told me at the beginning, this was no place me, this identity was dead, only an emotional and intuitive based understanding of adoption would ever help me on the road to recovery.

But how do I understand myself, how do I hear myself and would I know that I was healed? I am in a swamp, or a desert, or a room with all doors locked, all opportunities walled out, take your pick so I have no easy answers to this. I was telling my wife that I have no choice but to keep going on this journey but I really have lost faith that things will get better but then again I have to be honest and say that I gave up on ever rebuilding after the collapse of the foundation that I had built in order to cope with the loss of mum. Crazy really, how can one give up at the age of twenty four, I am now forty five, when there is so much life, water to flow under the bridge, what kind of hurt, emotion impelled me to make such a crazy decision? To truly believe that I was too old to rebuild, that everything was lost, why bother doing anything after all those years of self denial in order to gain those degrees had gone down the gurgler in a welter of shame and self-loathing and a self-inflicted disastrous love affair. What amount of self-loathing, of hurt would lead me to make such a decision? How deep is this wound, bottomless?

What is the point of living if one has lost faith in love, in repairing ones heart, how can one live without a stable family base? My wife and I have not been gifted with children and so it would seem that once again the Universe has thrown in my face this question, I do not feel like I live in a safe universe, in a traumatising universe where I have had to deal with a hell of a lot of heartbreak yes but a safe universe no. This is not an exercise in self-pitying, this is an exercise in belief and faith, what does one live for if ones family has been destroyed and now one cannot take the safe route of having children thereby replacing what was lost. What do I live for? What is it as my wife would say that brings me joy? I could say our relationship, wine, food, books, friendship, dinner parties but what is it at a deep level, at the deepest level that makes me tick?

I would have to say love but how can one connect with that, how can I regain faith in love, how can I take the place of my mother, how can I convince myself, my baby that there is enough love inside and outside to live.

Posted 2.12.2013 Within These Walls facebook group