Why I’m Grateful I Had A Bad Childhood

As I have spoke about in previous blog posts I had a pretty s**t childhood. I came from an alcoholic mother, and domestic violence with my Dad, along with rubbish mental health. When I have told my previous psychiatrists about my past they’ve looked at me with complete sympathy and said things like “You didn’t really have a childhood.” And I suppose they’re right. From a young age I was having to ensure my brother was fed and put to bed because my Mum was all over the show, and then when we went into my Dad’s care I was lumbered with the same responsibilities because he worked nights. Granted it wasn’t every night because his girlfriend was there for a portion of the week, but a lot of the time she’d go weeks without coming over and that meant weeks of me looking after my brother from 5pm to 4am. I wasn’t allowed to go out and socialise and at school I really didn’t fit in. I lacked that time to just be a kid, and relax, and have people to fall back on. I wasn’t a part of a lot of family outings because of the strained relationships I had with my Dad and his girlfriend, so I just stayed at home, or at school, and that was my life until I stopped going to school because my anxiety was unbearable. I found a safe haven on the weekends by going to my Aunty’s but again, I didn’t fit in and things were strained. Everywhere I tried to fit in within my family I was just completely out of place. For outsiders it’s probably incredibly easy to look at me and pity me but I don’t want that because I am very grateful for my upbringing and here’s why…

Without my upbringing I wouldn’t be where I am today. Everything about my life today is because of the way I was brought up and it shaped me into a loving, compassionate, strong, and independent person. Perhaps I sound bigheaded but I’m proud of myself and rightly so. Since I left home 4 years ago life has been ‘trying’ but with every hurdle I’ve faced I’ve eventually learnt how to overcome it. I’ve learnt so many irreplaceable life skills and for that I’m so beyond grateful. Granted I wouldn’t want to go back and relive what I went through, but truthfully I wouldn’t change it for the world because my past is what gave me the strength to get to where I am today.

Today I can sit and tell you my life is great. On a scale of one to ten, I’m at an eight. There’s room for improvement as there always is but life is good! In the last 4 years I’ve managed to achieve all of the following:

  • Escape domestic violence.
  • Stop self harming (3 years self-harm free).
  • Quit smoking.
  • Battle homelessness and homeless hostels.
  • I’ve had 3 flats. 1 supported, 2 independent.
  • I worked in a nursery, which had my mental health been stable I would still be doing right now.
  • I volunteered in a charity shop in Didsbury.
  • I’ve created new friendships. Something which I really struggled with in high school but here I am, with a lot of very good, close, supportive friends who are like family to me.
  • Learnt to love myself even though I was told I was a horrible person who destroyed lives and would never achieve anything.
  • Learnt to survive independently, paying my bills, cooking for myself, keeping a roof over my head. It’s a lot of a responsibility when you’re only 18 but I’ve learnt and I’ve grown and now two years later I can say I’m independent.
  • Provided for myself, buying myself nice things which at the moment is near impossible due to my PIP appeal but I have surrounded myself with some nice things before my money got stopped
  • Not allowed my past to make me bitter. I’ve been bitter to people from my past but generally speaking I’ve never allowed my past to stop me from trusting people and loving people.
  • Started a Health and Social Care course.
  • Finally learnt how to the people from my past in the past.
  • Created some very happy memories.
  • Got myself the help and treatment needed to correct my kyphosis.

And most of all I learnt how to be happy again. Perhaps that’s a little far-fetched given my last post but I really have. Toward the end of my time at my dads I wasn’t finding enjoyment or happiness in anything or anyone’s company. I was just constantly sad and stressed and anxious. Although my mood yo-yos a lot, I have learnt how to find happiness again even in the small things. Because of the things I had to deal with as a child I’ve learnt to appreciate every small wonder of my life, whether that be the little squirrel (Cyril) that runs through my garden in the morning, the smell of a wax burner, the meow of my cat from the other room when she thinks I’ve gone out, a text asking if I want anything from the shop, a good song on the radio, or a particularly tasty meal. Everything in my life can bring me joy because I am grateful everyday to be in a home that I can call my own. I am grateful to be part of a group of friends I can call family. I am grateful because I am loved. I am grateful because I don’t go hungry. I am grateful because I am not stuck in a place that broke me over and over and over, and that’s why I am grateful for my past. Without it I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the magnitude and greatness of the life I have now.

“Start over; my darling. Be brave enough to find the life you want and courageous enough to chase it. Then start over and love yourself the way you were always meant to.” – Madalyn Beck

“May the the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary.” – Xan Oku


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