For several months I have been trying to be brave and prepare myself for facing someone who treated me so appallingly at a time in my life when I was extremely vulnerable, under tremendous stress and at my lowest point health wise. This was a person I trusted and went to for help and support when my life was falling apart. He abused my trust and violated my body.
I held this incident a secret for so long as I thought that somehow, I was to blame. Afterall, I didn’t do anything to stop the abuse and I was so ashamed of what had happened that I assumed I must be to blame.
My mental health had deteriorated to such an extent I spent a year between bed and the sofa, and I knew that I couldn’t go on holding this secret in because it was destroying me from the inside out. It was only after months of turmoil I realised I was a victim of someone who preys upon vulnerable people.
The thought of having to see this person and go through every single aspect of the situation had left me broken to the point of suicide, it was so scary and beyond what I thought I could bear that I backed off reporting the incident. But God knew the only way for me to begin the process of healing was to be able to talk about what had occurred. God orchestrated a chain of events that meant I had to tell someone about what happened, and subsequently the police were informed, and I had to give statements about the events that were so hard to speak about.
My only reason for reporting the incident was the hope that no-one else would have to endure the pain and the heartache I had gone through. After all the statements had been given, I again began to panic about what the fallout of this disclosure would mean, not only for me personally but for the small number of people I had shared the details with and the individual in question. I had nightmares about having to share this information in court, and the thought of being cross examined about everything in explicit detail, further compounded my anxiety and fears, which again had a huge impact on my mental health.
I find that in moments such as this, I can get so anxious and into such a state, clear thinking goes out the window; and I tend to cry, a lot! The speed at which this change occurs is so fast it’s as if my brain doesn’t have time to catch up. I’m in the middle of a whirlwind of emotions, gripped by fear to the point of terror and anxiety that is paralysing.
My normal response is to cry, go to bed, and bury my head under the duvet. I don’t come out until I can begin to function again. It’s only at this stage, I can start to think about how I am going to deal with the situation; and it takes more time before I can rationally work through the issue. Is this just me or are there others out there in the same boat?
I want to talk to the people who are in the midst of a crisis situation. You can and will get through this. No matter what the situation is. It may be family issues, money worries, domestic or sexual abuse, work related issues, ill health, addictions, debt etc. But let me tell you, there is nothing, and I mean nothing that is so terrible that you should feel you need to end your life. You may not know how you are going to handle the issues you are facing but I can tell you from someone who has been right on the edge of giving up three times, you will make it through this. It will be hard, it will be difficult, it may even mess your head up for quite some time, but you are a special human being who is loved by family, friends, neighbours and you are here on this earth for a reason. I am living proof that no matter how awful your problem seems, there is a way to turn it around. And believe me, you will one day be so, so, grateful you hung in there in the darkest of times as you see your situation changing.
Last weekend I received a letter from the Public Prosecution Service and as I opened it, I was visibly shaking. This was the letter that was going to tell me when I had to go to court. I felt physically sick as I began reading, then horrified to learn of their decision not to pursue the case as they felt there was insufficient evidence to gain a conviction. I was devastated, no further action was going to be taken by the courts; and it almost felt like I was suffering the trauma of the incident again for a second time.
But let me tell you about how I handled this news. I now like to call it a wobble as opposed to a meltdown. A meltdown is something that is difficult to recover from, Webster’s dictionary defines it as “a disastrous collapse or breakdown.” The Oxford dictionary puts it like this, “An uncontrolled emotional outburst or a mental collapse.”
Synonyms related to meltdown are a knockout blow, calamity, catastrophe, and a disaster to name a few.
A wobble is much more manageable, Webster’s definition, “to move or proceed with an irregular rocking or staggering motion or unsteadily and clumsily from side to side, tremble, quaver, waver, vacillate” while the Oxford dictionary defines it as “to be uncertain what to do, or to change repeatedly between two opinions.”
Synonyms, agitate, flap, jitter, rocky, shaky, teeter, worry.
I am getting slightly better at dealing with the wobbles. A year ago, it would have taken me at least a month to reach any rational thoughts; I would have needed intervention from the Crisis Team, our regional hospital’s mental health professionals, who give home from hospital care for people having suicidal thoughts, for many people it can be weeks, months or even years to be able to deal with situations that arise and cause a meltdown.
For me, this time, I am so grateful the despair lasted only a few days before I could process my thoughts and realise this is God’s way of bringing me out of this horrible situation with my sanity intact.
For some of you reading this, you’ll think what is this woman talking about? And that is ok. You’ve probably never been seriously ill with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and to be honest at one stage in my life I would have been thinking exactly the same.
Please be patient with anyone you know who is suffering from anxiety, depression or PTSD. I hope with sharing this part of my story, that you will begin to understand the complexities of these conditions. We can’t just snap out of it. Or just get over it. We can only do our best to work through it, and that takes time and a massive amount of courage. All my love, Pamela.