The other day I was sitting in on an Eqafe Interview and I could completely relate to what was being discussed.
During the Interview I was looking back at my own experiences around childhood traumas, specifically around the years surrounding my fathers death. I had experiences great difficulty dealing with my fathers death for 2 reasons:
Firstly the fact that I knew he was going to die years before he died - let me explain. My father was a chain smoker. He developed a heart problem which was exacerbated by smoking. After my father had his first heart attack I remember the one day I went with when my father had a doctors appointment. I cannot remember how old I was then, but basically I was asked to sit outside the doctors room and wait while they talked. They left the door slightly ajar probably so that I would still be able to see my parents, not realizing that I could hear their conversation. So basically I heard the doctor tell my father that if he carried on smoking that eventually he would die from another heart attack - his heart was that weak. So as you can 'imagine' what shock this is for a young child to hear.
mind and body as a perpetual fear that my father could die any day. Of course my father who also had depression, did not seem to concern himself with the doctors warnings and continued to chain smoke, which of course confirmed to me that any minute he was going to die. I don’t know why my father carried on chain smoking the way he did, whether it was because the addiction was to strong or because he did not care. I suspect that it was a combination of both points - meaning he had depression and from my own experience as I am sure other people are able to relate once in a 'depressive mind state' you pretty much become numb to what is happening around you and thus don’t 'care' about your life or even your health. Combine that with an additive personality or an addictive substance such as what most of us have experiences at some point or another and you are bound to end up with creating physical consequences due to the abuse of some form of substance or reckless behaviour.
Over the years my fear of my father dying turned into paranoia. If for example my father would not arrive back from work at a certain time, I would start fearing the worst and imagining (paranoia) all kinds of situations and that any minute we would get a phone call from the hospital. I would spend those evenings sitting near the windows to watch and see when his car would turn into the drive way, and when it did I would obviously feel immense relief. At least he was safe and with me - at least until tomorrow. This went on for years and eventually I started to develop a paranoid personality, where I would fear things like sleeping over at my sisters apartment or going for sleep overs at a friends house. I remember whenever a friend would invite me to a sleep over, I would be struck with anxiety and would try and first make excuses to get out of it. Therefore I rarely slept over and when I did I would often start becoming to paranoid (without understanding what was happening) that I would wait until my friend would fall asleep and then I would go and sit by the window and hope that some how my mom and dad knew that I was frightened and would come and fetch me.
Eventually my paranoia turned into sleep walking, where after an evening of sleeping over at a friends house, my friend would tell me the next morning that they were woken up in the middle of the night to noises coming from the kitchen. There lol they would find me unpacking their kitchen cupboards mumbling to myself. This sleep walking also happened at home where my mom and dad would often find me wandering up and down the passage way and often when they would go to bed they would find me sitting by their bedroom door. I would of course not remember any of this the next morning...