I don't recall what exactly happened before the drowning. I was under a year old and getting bathed. Maybe the water was too cold. Maybe my sensitive, autistic sink caused me to shriek when my hateful and angry mother touched my bare skin. I honestly don't remember.
I do know that my body was shoved under the water. The center of my chest/ throat area hurts, like I was punched just under the throat. Was the pain from my mothers forceful hand? Or was it the suffocating feeling of water filling my lungs, them into useless bags of cement? I may never know.
That chest/ neck feeling has been haunting me off and on, most strongly the past few days.
After that specific physical sensation, the memory stops. I'm stuck, cannot continue. Oh, I've heard myself say the sequence of events that happened next....my mother sliding her hands under my arms, pulling me from my watery grave. I've talked about remembering the sound water makes as it falls off the baby's head and shoulders. I remember saying how I looked at my left upper arm/ shoulder area and seeing my skin cool grey, as I lay on mommas shoulder and endured the pounding on my back as mothers wailed.
I don't know if I died that day.
I do recall how my body grew cold, under the water. The top layer of my skin became cold first, and then layer after layer of my extremities flowed from warm to cold, till all I could feel was the pounding, the heartbeat in my head and torso.
Then I get stuck....with trying to figure out this sensation. Why does it stop me like a dark, bricked-over roadblock. I'm challenged to find words for which I have no references. Words for sensations I've never read about or previously experienced.
Time to free associate...allow my subconscious veils to receded....I write whatever comes to mind and that which I see...
Momma was pushing me away from her. I had displeased her and she was making me go. All too frighteningly easily, I remember the quick, violent rush of water fill my tiny lungs. I remember the heavy, solid feel of not being able to breathe anymore. The cold. I was screaming and then suddenly, the rush of cool water. Unable to choke or spit it out. The upper chest pressure, her hand, her anger and hatred all rolled into that one shove. I couldn't breath and it scared me. I was terrified. I struggled...then floated into blackness deep inside. The only sound, the heartbeat in my head. Fast fast fast, at first, then slowing down.
Maybe I was under water for a second or two. Maybe she held me there till my struggling stopped. I have no concept of time. "Momma?" I was confused. Struggling inside and outside. Rope. Tied down. I don't think I thought she was trying to kill me. That thought doesn't register emotionally. My body. I didn't understand why she wanted me away from her and under water. I wanted to breathe. I didn't understand why it was suddenly taken away from me. She had all the power now. She proved she owned me. I felt small, insignificant, snuffed, completely counting on her for my fate. My life wasn't mine no more. It depended on her. She took something precious and dear from me, that day....my personal power, the right to own myself, control over my own fate. It was a dirty trick.
Did she know what she was doing? Was she holding me under, making breathing stop, on purpose? Was this an accident? I didn't understand.
Tormented. I can hear my gasps, my struggle under the water. See my small body...like seizuring, causing small waves. Alone. Naked. Still. Completely unmoving, laying on my right side. Everything went dark.
I remember the gasp. Coming out of the water by both her hands, quickly with an abrupt, brisk jerk. The water spurting out my mouth, my lungs with a violent, self-survival reflex, catching mom on the cheek and over her shoulder. The heavy handed pounding on my back. My watery, wet blurry eyes. The slapping on my back, omg, it was torment. It hurt, hurt, hurt, burned, like my back was on fire. The slapping I understood. Mom was good about slapping me, lots of experience. The remembrance of back....makes me really sad, adding injury to insult. I went from cool, to cold, to a rush of cool air and fire on my back. My lungs, omg, they hurt, they burned, too.
I remember, vividly my completely limp body, my head flopped on her shoulder, I couldn't move, couldn't control or really feel my body, cept for the slapping, slapping, slapping. Ah, I can hear it now, too. What a horrid, wretched sound. My skin, so very sensitive, turning, feeling bright red and completely burnt off. My entire body heavily shuddered with every, incessant, quick thump. It was continuos. Omg, I just wanted it to stop. More water draining out. Now breathing in hurt. Couldn't catch my breath. Tears in my lungs. Just kept gasping, struggling, practically convulsing.....against my will. I had no control. I was a rag doll...at her whim.
To this day, I freak out if anyone comes up behind me and presses against my back. My kids used to do that, when I'd be on the floor playing with them, or they would come up behind me to hug me and I flipped out. They quickly learned, as I calmly explained to them, that I can't have them touching my back like that. Now, I think I know why.
As I write, I feel, I relive, I reexperience the agony of this memory. My back hurts. I have to tell myself it's ok to breathe and that I'm not under the water anymore. Find myself holding my breath, making sure my inhaler is handy. Calming myself down.
I have to remind myself that this is just a memory...that her hand isn't on me, pushing me, punishing me. My lungs aren't full of water. This terror, this fear is okay to feel and express. She can't hurt me. Mom doesn't control me, or my body. My fate is not in her hand. My back, my poor back, seemed to hurt for days after that. The hitting. The jarring. Each smack seemed to hit to the bone.
She panicked. When she whisked me out of the water. Panic, fast fear in her voice. High-pitched regret and wet tears. Her body shook, trembled. She made the baby grey.
I remember the warmth from deep within my body, softly, slowly starting to flow outward. My body was definitely in some type of shock....my little mind, as well. For some time afterwards, I just lay on my belly, head to the side feeling the burning back, the slightly numb arms, the sick lungs wheezing. Felt quite damaged, inside and out. I didn't move on my own for some time. I was stunned.
Trauma causes dissociation. This is my earliest trauma.
I've managed to find words...and tears, to this first memory. I broke down the wall.