(she/her), 21, Black, New York, business management student
I remember when I was about 14, I would leave my high school and then, an hour or two later, end up in the middle of my therapy appointment with no recollection of anything in between. I would have full-on conversations with my mom, be on social media, but I just wasn’t actually there. These episodes would happen a couple of times a week and occasionally a couple times a day. It was like my body was on autopilot and my brain was knocked out cold, like someone had punched it. I was also having a lot of suicidal thoughts then. I never got diagnosed for my dissociation, but I had several psychiatrists who told me that my symptoms were common among people who have depression, anxiety, ADHD, and borderline personality disorder. Later, I saw posts on Instagram about dissociation and its relationship to anxiety and depression, and it finally clicked.
When I was 15, my psychiatrist wanted to diagnose me as borderline, so I spent a lot of years clinging to that identity. Growing up, I had this whole identity crisis, being a fat Black girl from a middle-class background going to a private school on the Upper East Side, where it’s literally like Gossip Girl. From day one, I was the number one target for the other girls to bully, whether it was for my race or my size, or my family’s socioeconomic status. Plus, being Black in America, my family never really knew where they came from, and when I asked, my parents would say, “the South.” They didn’t know any more because their parents or ancestors didn’t know, either.
Then, I found out I was adopted. I thought, I not only don’t know who I am, but I wasn’t who I thought I was, which is nobody. I always felt like there was this missing connection between me and my bio mom, like it was the piece of a puzzle that just never came in the puzzle box.
Since then, I’ve been in contact with my bio mom, which is great, and I have two little siblings who are wonderful. But I’ve come to learn that all adoptees have some form of adoption trauma. I’ve been more intentional with looking for communities of adoptees. For me, it’s more than just having a POC space, a Black space, or a Black queer space, but a group of people who get what’s it’s like to not really know where you come from. Now, I’m honestly glad that everything happened the way it did, and I don’t want to be anyone else. I love this version of me.