I sat motionless as I stared dumbfounded at the computer screen. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was as if someone had hit me in the head with a two-by-four of knowledge that left me seeing stars. “Oh. My. God. I never had a chance.” I thought as the realization gradually took hold of my mind. I found myself on the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect , on my journey to understand my anxiety and where it came from. My research up to that point had revealed so much about my life that I had no idea was the result of childhood trauma. “I feel like I have been stumbling around in a deep dark hole my entire life.”, I told my sister as we talked on the phone. I couldn’t keep the giant ball of emotions that my revelations had brought me, to myself. I had to share it with someone, so I called my sister. “Yeah, but you’re still in a hole.”, was her response. “Yeah, but now I KNOW I’m in a hole!”, I brusquely responded with a chuckle. It was a harsh and bittersweet reality, to know that what I called my childhood had manifested very real and serious physical and psychological symptoms that had been and would be with me, for the rest of my life. But to know that those same symptoms, were not just in my head, and also, not my fault. Yep, that’s right. Not. My. Fault. As I read about child abuse and neglect, I thought it quite coincidental (What do they say about coincidences?) that a lot of the symptoms I had as a child were blamed on a “learning disability”. As I took in this information, I couldn’t help but think back on my childhood in a new light. “Wait a minute!”, I thought. How does a kid who was pestered by her teachers to join the TAG program in elementary school (which I was not allowed to join by my step-mother), and who was in honors and AP classes throughout high school have a learning disability? I mean, I guess it’s possible. Either way, it made me look back on my childhood with a new air of suspicion, as if what I had been told all my life wasn’t squaring with reality. While I pondered this newfound reality, I was hit by a slight pang of sadness. How much of life had I missed out on? How many decisions had I made because I thought that was my only option? What if none of what I had been told about myself as a child was true? What if it was all a complete lie? Who would I choose to be then?

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