Finland….The country of my birth, and the source of my years-long emotional and physical pain.
I left twelve years ago and have traveled the world, but occasionally go back for a visit. It gets harder and harder and time goes on and I work on myself, recover more memories, come to painful realizations and become more and more detached from my native land and culture.
I had decided to go back for a visit this August, and as I said in the previous post, I suffered from insomnia, anxiety and stress three weeks straight prior to my departure. I tried to go with an open mind, but landing at Helsinki-Vantaa airport and hearing Finnish made my stomach ache and just made me very uncomfortable.
I don’t really know what it really is that bothers me about Finland, but somehow I have hated and looked down upon that country for as long as I can remember. I have always felt that Finns were close-minded, self-centered, rude and jealous people who are racist and judgmental, who can’t do small talk.
Pheww. A lot to say about my countrymates! But really, I think because I didn’t have a good experience growing up, I learned to dislike all the people in the country, and left as soon as I could. Call me a refugee as I didn’t have a choice; the country and people around me made me emotionally and physically ill.
In any case, I went back for a visit, and…I feel much better! It must be because I have now been in two intensive therapies for a while (NHS-provided Mentalization-Based Group Therapy, and individual counseling) and have grown enormously. I have the emotional stability and mental strength to face my birth family (with whom I have a lot of issues. A lot) – minus my father of course who disappeared from my life in my teens, as well as the country itself, and the memories visiting my home and city brought back.
After 9 days of visiting family (some of it new, as I have very recently been reconnected with an uncle and an aunt plus six cousins whom I had never met before this trip!), enjoying the outdoors and relaxing, and spending a lot of time on my own thinking about things, I now feel more whole, somehow fulfilled emotionally.
I am finally okay with – no, wait, I am finally proud of – where I come from. I am Finnish, I grew up in Finland, and yes, the sexual and emotional abuse, witnessing domestic violence and emotional abuse, as well as experiencing bullying, domination by older girls, and growing up having to hide all of the pain in my little heart have had an enormous impact on who I have become, yet I have persevered and can finally say I fled and I survived, and can now go back periodically to rebuild the little me that was crushed all those years ago.
Inside me will forever grow the feelings of enjoying the summery lakes and forests, the footpaths in the woods and the fresh clean water and air. I appreciate the land for what it is, and for what it offers the adult me. I had a great time, and as I landed back at London Gatwick my heart grew proud of my achievements, for I did survive, and for the first time I feel like I am actually able to thrive in life.
Stay strong and blessings to all of you readers,
PS, If any Finnish survivors of abuse stumble upon this blog, please visit the Delfins site for support.