I keep hallucinating myself as a child…

It’s very bizarre. When I first saw the hallucination I couldn’t remember a single child who’d looked like her; a couple similar, particularly my own, but none that were her. I have been hallucinating her for weeks, and don’t feel threatened or concerned, just perplexed. It’s only when going through young photos of myself that I’ve realised that the hallucination is absolutely me as a 3 or 4 year old, complete with the same sweater as in one of the photos.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is the ‘inner child’ they all talk about? She peeps at me around corners but runs away when I look at her or call her over, and looks permanently scared and very sad, yet hopeful and curious. I hesitate to call her ‘me’ even though she is – it’s just that she seems lifetimes ago. It’s been making me realise just how vulnerable, small and innocent I was…just a tiny child looking for protection and care but instead being tortured and abused. I lose sight of the fact sometimes that I haven’t always been 20 years old. I was once a baby and young girl.

But it’s very strange. Sometimes I’ll go into my bedroom and she’s perching on the end of the bed, as if she’s waiting for something. On most occasions she’ll vanish very quickly, but sometimes she’ll murmur very quietly, “is it time yet?” I ask her “time for what?” and she shakes her head and vanishes. It perplexes me. Time for what?

I’ll see her once or twice a day, just hiding somewhere, peeping at me, and vanishing if I spot her.

The most bittersweet moments are when I hear distant and echoey giggles from children, which just hang in the air and the sound doesn’t behave like normal sound – I can’t trace where the sound came from. I’ll look around and I’ll see my younger self running with some of the children who were in the ring at the time I was that age. It’s like I’m hallucinating a memory. The children run past, little tiny children-like running, but evidently hurt and bruised and bleeding…but giggling. They don’t seem to notice me. I just watch them run past and become a blur, and the laughter is left frozen for a second, waiting for somewhere to go but finding nowhere, and so fades. The moment the sound fades, the normal-day sounds return,  which had blocked out without me even realising, and reality comes back. Sometimes I’ll have a similar experience but hear whimpering and low whispers, and if I look I’ll see the memory of me aged 4 with the other small, tiny children, soothing each other and holding each other for comfort.

It breaks my heart but I don’t know if that’s the whole purpose – that I feel the grief and shock, and absolute sadness for what has happened, that I don’t normally feel because I don’t let myself…but when I see it, and see how tiny and innocent and hurt we were, and yet still able to laugh, it brings home to me somehow that it was horrific and devastating.

These type of hallucinations I have once or twice a week, but mostly I just keep seeing my younger self peeping at me, and disappearing if I notice her. It’s very strange…

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