Posted by GMGittins
11th Jan 2014

I wake up suddenly at 4am, usual time, the sound of a church bell ringing in my head. I am sweating. I go downstairs to make a drink, the churchbell continually ringing. A tear rolls down one of my cheeks. I can feel my heart pounding away as if I'd been running, not sleeping.

I am standing in my bedroom. I am five years old. My little sister is screaming and crying hysterically because she knows that she's next. I am trying not to cry because I don't want to frighten her even more. And, because I can't tell what burns the most. My backside or my hatred of him.

He pulls down her knickers, yanks her across his huge knees and begins to spank her tiny backside. Every whack sounds so loud and she is screaming. He is a very big man, a bricklayer.
Finally he puts her down roughly. He shouts at us both, slams the bedroom door and stomps off downstairs. More shouting, this time at mum. Money. Threats. Shout, shout shout. TV. Shouting above the TV. His voice, on and on and on.

I hold her close and take her to lie down on my bed. She is hot with crying. We curl up together. I tell her a story, making it up as I go along, trying to make her laugh. Gradually the crying is replaced by sobs, then shuddering intakes of breath. Then, I think she's fallen asleep.

I lie there with the sound of my dad's voice downstairs shouting, shouting, shouting. It never stops.

Welcome to my world. The world of PTSD, where my brain chooses a traumatic memory from a selection of many, and plays it back to me. Forces me to relive it. Time and time again.

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