Malcolm writes: The title of this blog "Leaving The Grey Room" was my idea. My original intention was to create a blog to pass on any helpful information from my forthcoming counselling sessions. After talking to Micky the idea evolved into a much broader concept; to reach out to anybody who has survived abuse in childhood and to break the taboo that surrounds this pernicious evil. Now I'd like to tell you the real meaning of the title...
In its most literal sense the Grey Room is my childhood and teenage bedroom. When I was 12 I was, for the first time in my life, allowed to choose the colour scheme when Dad decided my room needed redecorating. Almost without hesitation, and to my parent’s discomfort, I chose grey and resisted all pressure to select a brighter colour.
The colour seemed to epitomise my life at that time; there was hardly any fun left in it. Continuing abuse coupled with bullying at school was causing depression and I seemed to be constantly in trouble at home. I wasn’t allowed out even for a little while on school days all I did was study and practice my violin although, in fairness violin was my one joy. To make matters worse, First and Second Formers at my school wore grey shirts to identify them as the lowest of the school’s low.
I was being isolated from the boys I’d grown up with simply because they all went to the local Secondary Modern school while I went to Grammar school and my parents had high expectations.
My room was also the place to which I was banished following physical punishment, usually with the words “now get out of my sight!” ringing in my ears while I hastily readjusted my clothes. Thus my grey room became synonymous with punishment and imprisonment.
The Grey Room is also a metaphor for the effect those various forms of childhood abuse have had on my adult life. Depression, mood swings and a general feeling of inadequacy have been an almost constant feature and all too often the outlook has seemed well, grey.
My hope is that when I start my counselling sessions in December I can start to metaphorically repaint The Grey Room with a brighter colour scheme.