Victoria Phillips, SA, Australia
I grew up in the Adelaide Hills in a three bedroom house with my family. As years passed it became apparent that I was a 'special' child, an IQ bordering on genius and a gift for knowing things I had never been told. With these talents however, came a lingering strangeness, I never felt happy and often had an uncontrollable urge to harm myself and others.
Time went by, my parents divorced, my brother left home, and my mother spent an increasing amount of time at her new partner's house until she finally moved in with him leaving me alone in our family home.
My feelings of emotional disturbance rose, I began slicing my skin with razors, needles and eventually scalpel blades. I heard voices, and saw visions in my mind of violence and hatred. Rarely did I feel alone in that house, I could feel a presence that would not let me alone. I frequently awoke to the feeling that a man was in my room, watching me with silent ire. On one Autumn night I woke suddenly feeling smothered, unable to breathe and in a panic.
Being scientific of mind, I sought psychiatric help, but medication did not stop me feelings of apparent paranoia. I was losing my mind and no one could help me. One night I made the decision that continuation of my life was pointless, and thus cut my wrists. My mother, on an uninvited visit, let herself in to the house and found me unconscious in pools of my own blood. I was rushed to hospital where I was placed in a psychiatric ward. After several weeks I was diagnosed "sane" and sent home, yet as soon as I returned so did my feelings of anguish. I went on like this for over 20 years resigning myself to the fact that I was suffering some mental malady yet to be discovered, and being intermittently sent to hospitals and doctors who proclaimed me normal and sent me home only to become unhinged upon my return.
At 21, due to a sudden turn of events, my mother was forced to sell the house, and I to find a new home. The relief I felt at leaving that house was like the rapid unlacing of an Edwardian corset, only on permanent departure could I feel the effect of that house on my soul. I was free of the pain, of the morbid obsession with my own end and the fear of that cold prickly feeling that affected me so often.
I have since lived in several homes, some old, some not, and although I do not always feel alone I have never felt threatened or unsafe as I did in that house. The rage has gone, the misery subsided, and the wounds I inflicted are now barely visible.
I do not know what happened in that house or why I was so unwelcome there, I do not want to know what horror could cause such animosity. I believe that all one can ever truly know, is what one feels, and I feel that I was haunted. Someone in that house wanted me gone, the question is, was it just me?