There's a Fine Line


By Teresa Joyce

ISBN: 978-1-84991-185-6
Published: 2010
Pages: 125
Key Themes: memoir, mental health system, abuse, sexuality



The subject of my book covers more than one issue; itís a true story that ranges over a period of many years. It covers the first married years of my motherís life, and the abuse she received from my now deceased father. The hardship she found within her life in so many ways, no one should have ever had to go through, but sadly it just seemed to follow her around. Some years later she remarried, but unfortunately this union would tear her once more into tiny pieces. She would see everything slipping away from her. Was her husband really having an affair with her daughter? It seemed to her that was the case, why would he lie? It would see the breakdown of her complete family unit, scattered to the wind without care.

I would find myself in a situation that I had no control over, and in the grip of a complete madman. To follow there would be self mutilation, and the bartering of shot guns as if it were an everyday occurrence. The threat to life was very real, my own included.

I would spend many years within the mental health care system; in fact I am still under their care umbrella. I would move from a heterosexual relationship and into a lesbian relationship. Totally at a loss of understanding anything controlled by anyone male.

After an accident I was ill health retired, and most of my days are now spend in considerable pain. This of course gave me a lot of me time, which if I am honest I never really wanted. I was made to stare into the face, of so many things I had tried so very hard to bury. But I guess that was a little naive of me, muck will always rise to the surface at some point. The lid on Pandoraís Box was opening an inch at a time, and no matter how hard I pushed, I was never able to close it again. People would be hurt both physically and mentally. No one was safe if they stood in the way of my stepfather and what he claimed was his.

Years later I would sit and watch my mum die, when if dealt with properly it should never have happened. They say the good die young, or that they were too good for this world. Well both proverbs to my mind sit well whenever I think of her. To this day I stand in awe of the person I was so proud to call my mum. Itís a story that needs to be told for that fact alone.

Itís a story that resembles hell and it was my life for many years, as such I am equipped with everything I need, to help you relate to the madness which ensued. Although this has been extremely difficult for me to write, my hope is that someone out there may take some strength from it, if finding themselves in a similar situation. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel; all we have to do is reach out for it.

I understand that this book/memoir is just a little different to most other memoirs i.e. most are written by ghost writers. This was something I never even considered. To my mind I had to be the one to write this. I hoped and needed to be able to express my feelings within its pages, as no other person could. With the best outcome being, that you would feel like you were taking this journey with me. Strangely I feel an amount of support, at being able to think that you are out there. There is a fine line between sanity and insanity; I know this personally, through the experiences I have had to go through involving my stepfather. I also have a personal insight of my own, of a mind battling to stay on the right side of that line, because in truth, I came so very close to crossing over myself.

About the Author

Teresa Joyce was born in 1958 the middle child of three. After losing her father at a very young age; it was to set the pattern for the rest of her life. Losing was something that she would have to get used to. Today she still has some memory of her father, but in truth itís all a little hazy. Her mother through no fault of her own after that loss had no other alternative, then to return to her parentís home with her children in tow. This family unit were to spend only a few years there, until the wind of change came around once more. Teresa still holds many happy memories from her time there as a child. Happy memories are something that Teresa holds in very short supply, and she has treasured them always. Her mother was set to meet the man that was to become her stepfather, and they moved on once more to a new city with the promise of a new life. Hopefully it would be a happy one for all concerned, but it became a place for Teresa that felt far more like a prison. One in which she would spend many days months and years hating. Teresa swore to herself that she would leave all this behind her at the first possible occasion. She can still clearly remember the day that she left that family home and joined the Royal Air Force. It was just two months off her sixteenth birthday. Her stepfather had informed her that to remain living in his house, she had to live by his rules. This was a big decision for her to take being so young, but she could no longer live by any rules that he imposed. Never really understanding at that time, what she was really running from. Memories of those years living by his rules were buried so deep, that previous years and events were only a burr to her. Teresaís Time spent while in the Royal Air Force was very rewarding, and she involved herself in all and everything possible. After meeting her ex -husband whilst she was on leave, she then left this all behind her and married. It was greatly missed and in retrospect, it would be something that she would live to regret many years later. Life as a married woman changed many things for her; the biggest of all would be the arrival of her son. Teresa loved him even before he was born, and he is still able to pull on her heart strings daily.

Sadly after many years, she found herself unable to stay within that marriage. The onset of a set of circumstances beyond her control would stamp its seal, rendering the marriage unworkable. Engineered by the involvement of the one man Teresa had learnt to hate - her stepfather. The marriage was dissolved and there was no going back on her part, that door was firmly closed behind her. Some years later she would find herself in a long term lesbian relationship, firmly believing that anything touched by a man was tainted; bringing with it only pain and heartache. Teresaís thoughts at that time were that the worst was surly now behind her, but her life was set to make another turn from her envisaged path. It was to arrive in the form of an accident, which once again would alter her life forever. After many months and many doctors reports she was ill health retired, unable to return to work in either one of her two loved occupations. Teresa was affected by this far more then she could have ever expected, she was left alone with nothing but time, and still within the mix of a completely insane situation; it was at this point that Teresa would enter into the mental health care system fully, to have any hope of dealing with everything going on around her. That care umbrella is still part of her everyday life. The loss of her mother through less than adequate health care, brought her pain like she had never thought possible. Teresa saw herself delving deeper and deeper into her own unconscious thoughts, revealing to her at that time memories which seemed so alien. Ultimately her mental health would prove to be a factor, in the disintegration of her then lesbian relationship.

Itís something that Teresa is still trying to come to terms with even now. She now lives alone with only a small dog for company, which in truth she is happy with. Firmly believing that she canít hurt those she loves, if they are not there for her to do so; to her mind segregation is the answer. Teresa is still unable to work and in constant pain daily. Maybe today you could say that she has once more taken back control of her life, but only outwardly. The truth is she still carries the past along with her, like an uninvited guest at a party. The one that never seems to know when the party is over and itís time to leave. Teresa is now trying to live her life as fully as possible, through her son and grandson; they have become her light at the end of the tunnel.

Book Extract

Where do I begin to write this? I guess I need to go back to 1994 and chronicle events as and when they occurred. At times I will also need to reference childhood. Some relevant history surrounding that time is needed; the reason for this is that without the knowledge of past events, it would be far more difficult to understand. As we proceed through this book you will be able to see exactly why it is so relevant, and the conflict of interest I would find myself in as an adult. In truth, maybe I am now trying to heal myself through this process, but I am also hoping that maybe someone will read this book and take some strength from it.

It was not until I sat down to write this, that memories I wish I could have left buried hit me full in the face. But you know nothing ever really stays that way; buried that is. You want it to and you pray that it will, but itís always there. You try to understand it; you convince yourself it was your fault entirely; you look into the mirror and you hate yourself. I am remembering times and events that were so very difficult for me to live though, and to be honest at times I didnít want to. Having just passed my fiftieth birthday I now feel ready. Maybe I have now reached a point in my life when I feel a little stronger, so itís time to open Pandoraís Box. What will I find there? Well I guess I am not going to know until I can no longer close the lid. How it will affect me? I havenít a clue, I just know itís something I have to do; I need to find some kind of closure.

I feel itís only right that I refrain from the use of names while writing this book, or indeed exact months or years. They will only be given loosely if at all. It will be enough to just stick to the decades these events spanned over. This is not because I feel the need to hide my own identity in any shape or form, but there are still people living that I need to consider. For this same reason I will also not be disclosing my real name. If I were to do so I could then be linked by association to others, causing them untold pain. All of the facts that I am about to tell you were well documented by my own doctor at that time, along with the numerous people I have seen within the mental health care system over the years. There has been many, all hoping that they can help me put this to be - lay it to rest as it were. To this day that has not been possible for me; the truth is that I am still under that care umbrella, fighting to find some peace. When will I be totally discharged? I am really unable to answer that question.

So what is my purpose or intention? It is too hopefully rid my head of the demons which seem so reluctant to leave, and not to cause new ones in others. So I reiterate here once more, thatís not my aim. It may be the case that if this book is ever printed, someone will pick it up and recognise themselves in it, but that will then be their own choice over how they receive it and deal with their own emotions. The point I am trying to make is that recognition will not be forced upon them. How will this book turn out? I have no idea, as I have never thought of myself as a budding author. Itís not even something that I have ever thought about as my chosen career. But this story needs to be told. It may never leave the hard drive of my computer, but if it does, hopefully, I can at least make it readable and find some escape for myself. This is a true story, but you will never know just how many times I have wished and prayed that it wasnít. They say that there is a book inside of everyone just waiting to be written, be it a fairy tale, fact, or fiction, so this is to be my offering and all based on fact. In some cultures they think and believe you know if the devil crosses your path, and if this was not him it was a very close relative.

The first few chapters may read a little like a reference book, but they are an essential ingredient. They are the calm before the storm, where I am hoping and trying to paint a picture. I have toyed with the idea of not doing so, but to my mind they are greatly needed. There is a difference between fact and fiction. While writing fiction you can quite easily embellish the story, but non-fiction is all about the facts. We will quite quickly reach a point in the book where they cross over, and no embellishment is needed. Thereís a fine line between sanity and insanity

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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 06 May, 2010.