Recently I wrote a letter to my dentist explaining what I think are the reasons for my fear of dentist. I told him some of my old history, and I am sure I am right about this one: My fear of letting go of control or let my guard down in the dentist chair manifests itself as an overwhelming, irrational sense of claustrophobia. It comes from my subconscious reminding me of my Appa (father) going away forever, me screaming and not being able to run after him (I could not control it since I could not even walk when I was a year old). Me going in and out of hospital, receiving several vaccination shots and other unpleasant medical treatment, being all alone among people I did not know. Or me being moved into a fostercare for a while, to live among people completly unknown to me. I must have been terrified and in deep shock. Even the memory of the weight of my mother’s arm pressing me down when she was lying dead at my side. And once again being among complete strangers on my journey to Norway. Not having any control whatsoever, my life was changing more and more into a nightmare. And finally I arrived in this country and found myself once again and for the rest of my life among strangers. I have survived several traumatic experiences in my life, at what cost? What the dentist sees is a “difficult patient”, and I felt it was important that I let him know why.
I sometimes feel so lonely that my heart could cry a river, and so stupid because I can’t control situations I’m in. It depends on how my mood is or how physically strong I feel on those particular days. My experience from childhood had me turn out a very insecure and (I’ve been told) difficult person to get to know. I can seem to be very quiet and unsociable among strangers, which is a trait that I’ve inherited from my real mother. Only among friends can I be fully myself, the person I want to be, relaxed and open-hearted. I have never been a party person, nor have I ever desired to be the center of attention. So in a way its a huge step for me to write down my feelings here in this blog.
Going to the doctor just makes me frustrated, and talking to a therapist is worse. Why can’t the mental services in this country see that my issues are great wounds that will never heal? I have an indescribable grief which I was never allowed to express or even cry for. I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO GRIEVE THE LOSS OF MY REAL PARENTS, because my adoptive parents did not like me to speak or even think of Korea. Even though it was easy for me to see that I didn’t look like them at all, I was forced to suppress my feelings. I was supposed to be grateful that they had saved me, a poor girl whom no one would adopt, exept them of course. Now I know that although I was a very tiny, poor, sick girl, all alone in the world, I was not totally abandoned. My Appa did come back for me one day, but we never met again.
So today society expects me to get a hold of myself, to move on and follow the masses, to be successful and happy. How can I? The world ripped away the ground from under my feet. The authorities in Norway and Korea took everything I had. I was erased from Korea and signed into Norway through a web of lies. And they expect me to be grateful for this mess? My name, my culture, my birthdate, my Umma and Appa, my confidence, my zest for life, my siblings in Korea, my relatives and of course my korean language are all gone. The ship has sailed with any chance for me to reunite with my family and live in Korea, and my chances to fully recover these adoption losses are gone.
Lately I’ve been lucky enough to get in touch with someone abroad, a psychotherapist who has studied and works with adoptions issues, who has really helped me. He was so kind to write a letter which will hopefully make it much easier for me to get help, that will make them realize that I really do have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and that this diagnose is for life: it doesn’t have an expiration date of 15 years.
It seems that here in Norway no-one knows anything about adoption issues and adoptees’ struggles. We are told that this is not a problem, we were too young to be still affected by what happened to us then, and that babies do not remember. That we should just go on with our lives. That it happened so long ago, that we’re only acting out or we’re really stupid to believe that any of our early traumatic experiences could mean so much later in life.
I wish ordinary people could experience what it’s like to not get help or not get any respect when some of their loved ones die. Then they would hopefully understand, and give us opportunity to heal, allow us to cry and grieve even if it takes a lifetime. Adoptees have suffered many traumas and obstacles. Please respect the fact that we are grieving over our lost parents even if we dont remember them. Deep down in our hearts they are not forgotten, and they are as treasured and missed to us, as anyone else who loses their mother or father.
So please, please don’t give us a hard time. We are in mourning all of our lives. Have patience with us, and please try to understand this. It would mean a world of difference to us, to me. This is my prayer to the world. May it listen to all of us who suffer so much all of our lives.