At the age of 23, I woke up one weekday morning with the feeling that something was wrong. I searched my mind. Oh, yes. I remembered. I remembered that I was living a new life; a life that I didn’t create. My world was gone. I’d walked into someone else’s life and was living it. I would have a replay of a tape in my mind every morning of facts of the five month period in which almost everyone and everything in my entire world changed. The tape included basic facts. I was no longer married to my daughter’s father, I no longer worked at my job that I’d been at for two and a half years, and I was married to someone else and he was kind and would protect me.
I also had a separate tape that played and gave me specific dates that I needed. I met my soon-to-be-new husband on October 18, moved my current husband out, and the soon-to-be-husband in. In November, I was divorced and engaged on December 23rd. I was remarried on January 26th or 27th, and found out I was pregnant with my second child in February. I had very few still “snapshots,” or still memories, that I could access in my mind to look at and place with the facts.
In a daze, I open my eyes and reality tells me that my thoughts, and the tapes, are real. My bedroom furniture is gone. It’s replaced with new furniture that I’m not familiar with, but am at the same time. I go into my daughter’s bedroom. She’s fine and sleeping. Her room is untouched from change. This body would spend many times curled up in her little bed with her stuffies seeking different sorts of comfort at different times.
I leave my daughter’s room and wander downstairs and reality hits me again. My furniture is gone. The new stuff is there. My pictures that were on the wall are gone; the walls bare. In the kitchen, my table and washer/dryer set are gone. Yes, it’s all true. I may live in the same apartment, but this is not the apartment that I furnished and lived in a short time ago with my husband.
Soon there’s a knock at the door. The thought in my head, “Don’t answer it.” I mind. I hear a car door and know it’s my boss’s car. The tape plays for me that he’s been coming every day to see where I am and to check on me. I don’t open the blinds, answer the phone, or answer the door anymore. My mind tells me, “I don’t work there anymore and he’ll just have to accept that.”
Every day, for many days, was the same. I was in shock. I didn’t know what had happened. I didn’t know why I couldn’t remember. I’d hurt so many people? That was not me! I was stable. I was the young mom who was actually a good mother; one who didn’t run around and party and kept her child clean, fed and nurtured. I’d worked at a job as a legal assistant for two and a half years and was respected for such a young age. I had friends and family. Everything, almost, that I had was gone to me. I’d cracked and I knew it. I didn’t know why, though. All I knew for sure is that my life had changed and I didn’t remember anything but the basic facts.
I couldn’t think about it. I didn’t want to think about it. I wanted to “go away” again but could not. I needed to tend to my daughter and my housework. I needed to get ready for my new husband to come home. I was sick because I was pregnant. I would live my new life, and my children would come first. There was a good explanation somewhere. I just wasn’t aware of it! I’d just had too much stress or something. I’m always making more out of things than they really are. It’s not as bad as it seems. I needed to quit thinking about it. My new husband would be home soon. I couldn’t act continually upset when he came home. I didn’t want to anger him. It was a scary thought.
I did what I was supposed to; what any good woman would do every day. I just wanted to be a good woman and person. Days passed into weeks and weeks into months. I was getting to know my new husband, and father of my second child. Mainly I delved into preparing for my new child and working with my firstborn so she would be ready for kindergarten. I had a role to play and somehow that was very easy for me. In fact, it was easier than just being. I played my role until I became that role in my new life.
I never forgot the facts that my world had completely changed, that I didn’t remember how or why, and that I would make this work because I would not be like the people in my birth family who went around hurting and using. I would make this work somehow. I was, after all, the world’s best actress. That was one of the few things that I truly knew.
Story, P. (2006). My New Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/my-new-life/000216
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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