Extract from Chapter 5: Health & Stress.

Stress had a vast effect on me. During my late teenage years I developed tiny wart-like spots that scattered over my face. They remained throughout my studies. I went to the doctor but she could not give me a diagnosis, only asking me if I was suffering from any stress. I didn’t tell her the truth. These spots stayed for two years eventually disappearing on their own. Once again, he used them to his advantage and regularly questioned “What’s wrong with you?” Or repeated over and over that I must live like a “pig” otherwise why would I look like such an “animal”?

During those two years, I also acquired raised, scar-like scabs that covered my right arm. Once again, a trip to the doctors gave no answer and within a year they had also vanished by themselves. I felt hideous, turning to food for comfort and beginning a cycle of insults from him. Again he would call me “animal” or “mutt” and questioned my hygiene, it made me feel worthless. I looked after myself and could not give him the explanation he interrogated me for to justify these mysterious marks. Usually all would be said behind a smirk. I could see his sick pleasure staring me in the face.

I would have terrible period pains, feeling incredibly low during this time. I would sit and cry for hours. Something I could never vent to him or allow him to see. He had no compassion for a woman at this time. “Just get on with it”, “A man wouldn’t complain” he would repeatedly say. In the later years I would use my period or what became known as “my thing” (he hated the word period), as an excuse to keep away from him.

During my mid-twenties my health was at its worst. My father was truly a monster by then and I couldn’t keep myself together. I had found a better job, but longs hours at work and no peace at home meant constant spells of poor health.

“You’re always ill!” he’d scream at me. 

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