Life has been very hard for me, and many times I have felt like ending it all. Stop all the pain and suffering and finally let go of my life. 2 things stop me from doing this. The love I have for my darling husband and beautiful children is what drives me to keep fighting, and…well, I just can't let them win. Two individuals that brought the pain and suffering upon me, they did this to me. They ruined my life, what they did to me is something I will carry with me forever. I can't forget it, it's impossible. I live with the horror and shame of it all every day, and it's because of these two men that I have on several occasions tried to end my life. The first man stole my childhood, my innocence, and left me permanently scarred by his actions. The other, took what was left and caused me untold pain and suffering. No one fully knows the intimate details of the true horrors I have suffered in my life. They've been locked away, I've tried to bury them deep in the back of my mind for over 20 years and as a result, my mind simply couldn't take it. It was all too much to keep buried forever, I changed because they had changed me. I could have done so much with my life. I could have made my family proud of me, instead, I am the black sheep. The one who has acted out and rebelled against them all. Only one person asked ME why. My parents, my siblings, they all asked at some point why was I behaving in this way? What had happened for me to change so suddenly from a quiet and innocent young girl to an uncontrollable mess? But these were questions they asked themselves, and medical professionals, when they should have just sat me down and asked me directly. I would have told them, I wanted to tell them. I yearned for their help, their love and support was all I wanted, but it didn’t come soon enough. My behaviour was so out of control that they turned to doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists to try and “fix me”. But it was too late, my mind was a complete mess as I had tried and failed to make sense of what had happened to me. I was angry and felt isolated. No one understood me, no one understood what I was going through. I was all alone, and that’s exactly how he wanted me to feel. His reign of abuse over me may have ended but he continued to haunt my life, and even now 22 years later with him buried in the ground he continues to haunt me, in my nightmares and in my head, he’s always there. I would give anything in the world to be rid of him forever, but it’s forever etched in my mind. The best I can hope for is that I can one day get to a point where he doesn’t control the way I live my life.
The second man I have previously talked about in past blogs. He was the violent, two-bit drug dealer that groomed me when I was 16. Sadly, he’s still around, living a free life, partly because I was too scared to reveal the whole story to the police, and partly because the justice system we have in this country unfortunately doesn’t favour victims of rape and domestic abuse as well as it should. I don’t blame anyone, the police who helped me escape his clutches were amazing, and incredibly supportive, the CPS were determined to ensure they had a solid case against him, and the support I received in court was second to none, but he still got away with a non-custodial sentence and walked out of that courtroom a free man despite having admitting assaulting me and my friends. That’s why I never went back to the police station to give a full and detailed statement about everything he did to me, everything he put me through. I had lost any faith I had left. Twice in my life I had suffered at the hands of a man before reaching 20, and twice they had escaped justice, not that it was anyone’s fault. I was just too late. I spoke out when I was 12 about his abuse and it was reported to the police, unfortunately before any arrests could be made, he died. I felt robbed. No one was going to know what kind of a sick and twisted, evil person he was. He had ruined my life and I got no closure, what I got was decades of suffering in silence. I had found the courage and the strength to open up about my hell and now I was back to being silent once more. This changed the way I looked at everything. Never again would I trust anyone with the details of my past, I closed myself away, like a tortoise going back into its shell, I hid inside, never letting anyone in, never allowing myself to be approachable. This was one of my biggest mistakes, it’s what led me to the two and a half years of suffering I had to endure at the hands of the second one. By this time, barely 19 years old, my life was in ruins. I had endured pain and suffering that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone in this world. I had lost all hope of ever being able to live a happy life, and my mind was completely messed up. I withdrew into myself, I was completely lost, alone and scared. I tried my best to block out all the bad thoughts and feelings, but it was overwhelming. After I finally broke free from him, I thought that I was finally going to get my life back, and that everything was going to be better, but sadly that’s not the way life goes. Everything spiralled out of control, I was on self-destruct mode, I couldn’t handle all the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing so I turned to drink. I was making bad choices and was going from job to job, drinking way more than was good for me and behaving like I didn’t have a care in the world. I was doing everything I possibly could to try and avoid dealing with what was going on in my head. I refused to admit that I was suffering with a mental illness, I blocked everything about my past from my thoughts and refused to deal with it. I was spending money I didn’t have and getting myself deeper and deeper in debt. My mother warned me about my spending habits, and tried to get me to be more responsible but I didn’t listen. I presented myself to be a care-free, happy young woman, whilst all the time I was hiding the fact that I was still that innocent young girl terrified of her abusers. Whenever I was alone I struggled. I would close myself away in my room and cry for hours and hours. All I could think about was suicide. I didn’t want to be alive anymore, I wanted the pain to go away, I wanted to close my eyes and be done with it all. And I tried, a few times. I took painkillers with a bottle of vodka, but ended up passing out for a few hours before waking up being violently ill. I had thoughts about jumping off a bridge close to where I lived at the time, but didn’t go through with it because it was raining heavily and I didn’t want the police and the rescue team out in that weather looking for my body! That is genuinely what I felt, so I sat in my car staring at the bridge for hours before deciding to park up and go out drinking to try to forget everything. I did forget as well, until I woke up the next day and all the emotions and the dark thoughts came flooding back.
You see it doesn’t go away by ignoring it. I know that now, but at the time I was blind to the damage I was inflicting upon myself. By bottling up all my thoughts and feelings it made my illness worse. I was a ticking time-bomb just waiting to explode. I would have angry outbursts, argue with my family, then turn back to drinking. The only thing that stopped me was being given the best gift of all; a child. The second I found out I was pregnant I stopped drinking, and decided there and then that I was going to change, I was going to do something with my life, but most of all I was going to love and protect my precious baby. The birth of my daughter was the best day of my life. She was perfect in every way, and I finally felt that the dark times of my life were well and truly behind me. Once again, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Even though I now had a reason to live and would push the suicidal thoughts that crept in out of my mind and concentrate on my daughter I still hadn’t accepted the fact that I was suffering with severe mental illness. I continued to block out the past, and refused to acknowledge that I needed help.
I was severely depressed, haunted by flashbacks, enduring terrible panic attacks whilst still trying to block out the abuse I had suffered. The front I put on was my only defence. People saw the “fake me”, always smiling and joking, always up for a laugh with my friends. The confident bouncer, always greeting you with a smile, but fearless and always ready to get stuck in when the situation arose. That’s what everyone saw, no one could see how broken I was inside, how much I was suffering in silence. It was a difficult time for me, and I was falling deeper into darkness with no clear way out. I didn’t know how I was going to carry on living this way. I had so much to live for, an amazing partner and a stunning daughter but I couldn’t see a way forward, I was surrounded by people and yet I had never felt more alone. Finally, after two years of persistent persuasion, my partner got me to agree to see a doctor. It may not sound like much but to a person who’d been in denial over her mental health for over a decade, this was a massive step for me.
It’s been a very long journey, 8 years in fact. I still have bad down times, I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, severe depression and anxiety. I’ve been hopeful for the future and experienced days where I can’t even leave the house. My life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I struggle every day to deal with the events of my past, but as I sit here writing for the first time about the abuse I suffered in the past I remind myself of the most important thing. I am still here! Despite everything life has thrown at me, I survived. And that is the crucial thing to remember if you have ever experienced any sort of trauma or abuse, you are strong and you are a survivor.
I still have a long way to go, but now I know what I must do to move forward. My writing is my salvation; it enables me to release a lot of the bad memories I had locked away all those years ago. It brings me joy to call myself a writer, and it has on occasions helped others who have had similar experiences. The most important thing to do however, is talk. Don’t keep things bottled up like I did, that is not the answer trust me. There are so many people and organisations out there who are always on hand to listen and help you, I know it can seem daunting at first but I promise you it does help. I’m very fortunate to have a loving husband by my side who is always there whenever I feel that I want to talk, a caring GP who sees a person not just a patient and a fantastic psychologist who has worked tirelessly to help me find ways of dealing with my past to give me a brighter future.
I want to thank these three amazing people for helping and supporting me through the darkest periods of my life, without them I wouldn’t be here today.
Thank you to my wonderful GP for talking to me when I was most frightened, for explaining all the options I had available and for ensuring I was directed to the right place for the best help and support, for spending time listening to me about my fears and for being a friend.
Thank you to D.H. (my psychologist) for working with me over the last couple of years and for helping me to confront my past. For always telling me that I’m not to blame and for giving me hope.
Lastly, my devoted husband, who has always been there for me. My tower of strength, who has supported me all the way, even during the worst times, and has always picked me back up whenever I’ve fallen. The one who has never let me down, and has always believed in me. I love you so much and I couldn’t do any of this without you.
I would also like to say a big thank you to all of you guys for reading my blog. Writing has been a passion of mine that I thought had been taken away by those who hurt me. So, when I receive messages from people saying how much they enjoyed reading my work, and how it has helped people to deal with things that they themselves are going through, then it makes sharing my story even more worthwhile. Those “men” may have hurt me physically and mentally, they brought misery upon my life, but one thing they can never take away is my will to speak up, not just for myself, but for others as well. That is what drives me to carry on. So, look deep within yourselves, find that one thing you love the most, something that you feel passionate about and hold on to it forever. As long as you have that, then no one can ever truly break you.
Take care of yourselves, and each other.
Much Love xx