Back in March 1997, I started seeing a counselor to help me recover from depression, post traumatic stress syndrome, and the violence I endured at the hands of my parents when I was growing up.
Over the course of thirteen years, we discussed all the things leading to my crisis. I told her about the time I was sitting down at the dinner table with my family. Too me, it was a special occasion, because we had spaghetti for dinner. Usually, my brothers and I were forced to eat chick peas or lentils which my father deliberately made flavorless, because he sad to add flavor to them would have only spoiled us.
On the evening we had spaghetti dinner, my heart leaped with happiness. Approaching the dinner table in the kitchen, I said gleefully, “Oh, how nice. We’re having spaghetti for dinner tonight. And with meatballs drenched in tomato sauce.”
No sooner than I sat down to eat, my father got up from the opposite end of the table, grabbed a hold of my hair, slapped my face, causing me to drop my fork which landed on my pant leg, and then fell to the floor. “Get up. What kind of hair do you call that? Go,” he said in a dangerous voice, as he kicked me, “No dinner for you tonight.”
He used the issue of my hair as an excuse to punish me, because I had happiness. According to him, happiness was no good for children, because it causes them to be spoiled. By depriving my brothers and me of happiness throughout most of our lives, he only made us sick on the psychological level, and on the emotional.
I know from my background knowledge in psychology, if a person is deprived of joy in his or her life for a prolonged period of time, the dendrites in the brain brake off gradually, and the brain loses its ability to produce the necessary chemicals and proteins needed to keep the brain healthy. As a result, depression sets in, causing a person to become suicidal, in addition to suffering from post traumatic stress.
For so many years leading up to me meeting with a counselor on a regular basis beginning in March of 1997, I had nightmares, causing me to cry and scream in my sleep. I often woke up finding myself crying and screaming from fear.
Every place I went and stayed the night, it was a regular occurrence. The nightmares began during the second semester of my junior year at Western Michigan University. I lived in the dorms. It was my roommate and the other girls on my floor who were there to bring comfort to me and calm me down. I had become terrified to go back to sleep, because in my dreams, I had nightmares of my cruel parents beating on me and bringing harm to me.
My nightmares went away sometime in 1998.
Talking to my counselor about all these things brought comfort into my life in addition to bringing about the healing process. She also instilled confidence in myself, in addition to belief in myself and a faith in my own abilities.
Throughout the years of meeting with her, I went from talking about the painful experiences I endured in my life, to talking about my interests in writing, and electronic painting on the computer. I shared with her some of my poetry, giving her the links to the websites they were published. We talked about poetry and other types of literature.
I went from being a sad, broken individual to bring a vibrant happy person who learned to smile, and wasn’t afraid to show my joy.
In March of 2010, she said I no longer required her services, because I had been in remission for so many years with regard to my depression. I was told I had graduated and was ready to face life on my own.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015