Tag: victim support

Is that an absinthe with your coffee? – These fragile little changes.

Is that an absinthe with your coffee? – These fragile little changes.

Wednesday was a really difficult day. I had come back from my stay with my friend and my goddaughters and started to have a glimmer of the thought that perhaps, mentally I was feeling a little bit better for the first time since well before Christmas. I wanted to hang onto the good that the weekend with my friend had given me.

In what has become a frustratingly typical pattern, as soon as I began to take hope in this and the idea that I had a rest day to recuperate before going back to work the next day…. bang went that one.

First I got a letter about my Housing Benefit. Somebody thinks I earn nearly £300 per week and therefore they have stopped my housing benefit. My claim had already been suspended for several weeks whilst they recalculated the (clearly extremely complex – ahem!) change to my income caused by the fact that I am working 2 more hours each week. So I have been receiving no benefit whilst waiting for the decision to be made, and hoping to receive a payment. Now they have stopped it completely so I have nothing. £300 per week coming in would certainly be nice but certainly is not true! I have no idea where they got that figure from. It’ll be another trip to the Housing office on Tuesday to try to sort this mess out.

Then I spoke to the CPN working with the Victim Support services. She had been meant to call me a month previously. I am still too upset about what she told me and how she handled things, to be able to write very much about it. Basically she still flatly refused to help me or even in her terms “signpost” me to support.  The Personality Disorder Service have given her the impression that they are doing trauma work with me and meeting all my needs, which is just absolutely untrue. They are not, they have told me they have no intention of doing it, and they are not helping me access the services that would do it. She continued to block me at every turn as I tried to suggest ways she could help me.  Apparently I am just not allowed to have the support any other victim of crime would receive, just because I have a personality disorder, and apparently, everyone thinks this is fine and wonders why I’d need any help with the nightmares, hallucinations, flashbacks, panic, etc, etc…

I was in complete distress after that call. Once again, I felt as if I’d been tricked into trusting someone, brought to the edge, cut open, left as raw as possible (going through the inevitable distress of making the statement and reliving the memories and the vulnerability of having started to trust somebody to be there), then kicked, ridiculed, not believed and rejected. It was like going through being a victim of someone’s abuse and deception again.

Something inside me was different this time. Something resisted the instant urge to cut and cut til the noise stopped and overdose to freeze everything out and enter the safe, numb world and preferably lose consciousness. Perhaps there was some little thing inside me, built up during the weekend with my friend, or built up from the strength of having resisted self-harming for several days, and the grace and mercy of my God. This time I decided to make it different.

I didn’t shut myself away. I stayed outside and walked. I went to a cafe I know I like and that feels safe. I ordered a coffee (it’s the best coffee there, in my opinion) and the suspicious green concoction pictured. No, it isn’t absinthe 😉 don’t worry. It’s a very refreshing drink made from almond syrup, mint syrup, ice and very cold water. Odd, I know. LS., my favourite barrista there, invented it. Anyhow… so I ordered my coffee and I sat and wrote down everything I was feeling about what the CPN had said and how I’d been treated by her and all the wrong information that had been passed from the PD Service and other sectors of the mental health trust. I sent the PD Service and email to say that I would now be making a formal complaint. I also sent them another email requesting in writing the discharge summary / care plan and letters they have so far refused to allow me a copy of.

I went and got my nails done. I went home and made myself some food for dinner. Okay it was only cooked frozen veg and chicken with considerable assistance from Captain Birdseye*. But it’s the thing most reminiscent of cooking myself an evening meal that I’ve done since autumn. After dinner I didn’t binge-eat. I had some more coffee and I made several greetings cards. (Hand making cards is a hobby of mine when I’m feeling more well.) I took the proper dose of my tablets and I slept. I had nightmares and had to move back to the sofa half way through the night, but at least I slept in the bed for a little while.

So, you see, I did what I could to break the pattern and keep some strength going and not resort to only what hurts me most. Instead of cutting and cutting the hurt into myself, I wrote it all out on paper. Instead of imploding I started to take action, beginning my complaint. Instead of agreeing with the voices shouting ugly, evil, liar, etc, I pushed them away and did something nice for myself and something nourishing. Instead of letting the destruction going on in my head take hold, I tried to create something positive and pretty.

Here’s to these little changes.

Ginny xxx

[*For those readers not from the UK – “Birdseye” is a popular brand of frozen / part-prepared meat and fish products; Birdseye fish fingers used to be advertised by the character of “Captain Birdseye”]

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Punished for hope

Go on then. Smash me into the ground and kick me as hard as you can.

That’s what they do to me.

I was promised “victim support” when I went to the police about the abuse. I was promised support from the victim support team’s specialist CPN and to finally get help with the trauma, flashbacks and PTSD. A phonecall with the CPN was booked in for today by the support team. The police officer who took my statement knew.

I got the call from the CPN who told me she is employed by the same mental health trust as the hospital I’m seen at for my personality disorder. Oh good,  I thought, that should help, shouldn’t it? She’ll know my mental health background and have my records. Wrong! She said that she’d organise support for people who aren’t currently seen in the mental health trust and get them therapy to help them deal with the trauma of what they’d had done to them but because I’m seen in the personality disorder service I’m “already in the most appropriate pathway” and she can’t help me.

But the personality disorder service specifically don’t address trauma and PTSD. The therapy I have there doesn’t deal with flashbacks, memories, hallucinations etc.  It deals with here and now. Which is great and important but leaves all the trauma untouched. I need help with that.

Why am I not allowed that because I have personality disorder, when a victim who does not have personality disorder, would be allowed to access it? Why am I denied help with one condition because I also have another diagnosis? You wouldn’t say to someone who had been in a car accident and fractured their leg as well as aggravating a pre existing back injury, “oh sorry we aren’t going to get a surgeon to set your leg to heal because you’re already being seen in the spine clinic.” So why is it deemed okay to deny me victim support because I have BPD?

The CPN said I should make a list of all my unmet needs and take it to my appointment with the psychiatrist next week. Oh my days have I not already begged for help with all the “unmet needs”! She just didn’t seem to grasp that the personality disorder service simply do not address the PTSD area. Which in itself is fair enough, it’s a specialist PD service – but it’s not okay if you’re denied access to other specialist services!

Why was I promised psychological help from this victim support team and this CPN if this is the outcome?! Everyone knew I am being seen in the PD service.

Then the CPN said oh they just don’t offer this help in the community teams. Yes and don’t you think I know, after fighting for 15 years plus. … and that’s why it’s speed to be coming from her!

This is yet another kick and yet another betrayal. Yet another thing I held on to snatched away. Yet another desperate hope gone. Yet another trick, this time effectively from the police, it feels like, though it isn’t the officer’s fault, he was nothing but supportive and this victim support team is separate…. but this is the last hope of people believing me and allowing me any help. And it’s now gone.

It’s absolutely proved everything my mother threatened. People would think the fault was hers, if they ever found out, and they’d take her away. Nobody would imagine a child could do all this. But really she’d know and I’d know that it was my fault all along, and what I’d done (and how evil I am, the voices add). I told. They found out. They think the fault is hers. But I must remember, the voices say, really it’s me all along, really I don’t deserve anything because I’m so evil. It’s confirmed it. 

It’s the hardest kick and tightest grip of the terror and memories again.

I was promised support when I went ahead to make the statement. Now I’m left and left more raw than before. I don’t regret doing it but can’t cope and I’m not okay and I’m not safe.

To top it all off I called the personality disorder service to be told there are no calls back today because the team have gone on an away day. Shame the voices and flashbacks haven’t gone on an away day. Shame the planning for how much hurt I can cause myself hasn’t.

 

Telling

Telling

On Tuesday I made my statement reporting the years of emotional and sexual abuse from my mother. Two officers were with me for about 3 hours. There were a lot of preliminary questions and forms to complete then my statement was recorded by a small camera. The recording itself may be used in evidence, and a transcript will be typed.

It was a bit surreal at first, but the anxiety was rising in my throat and pumping through my whole body. I thought it would consume me and I would not be able to speak. The officer stated the date, time, place, who was present. Rather like on TV shows, except this was real. Then I spoke. I spoke for about 50 minutes with just a few breaks and questions, then there came more questions at the end.

The officers were incredibly kind and compassionate and made the process as “best” as it could be in this situation. It did make a difference. They were respectful, and gentle, and had empathy for the impact and the cost of speaking. I know from what readers have shared in the comments on other posts that this is not everyone’s experience of reporting this kind of crime to the police. How I wish it was.

Right now I feel shattered, like the picture. I’m so tired. Every joint feels as though it has been smashed with a hammer. At the end of the day at work today, my legs are hurting so much I can only walk very slowly and my feet recoil from the ground. Partly it’s the fibromyalgia and arthritis. Partly the stress, I’m sure.

It’s as if I don’t really know how to stand right now. I know that it was the right thing to do and that I needed to give this statement. Yet those 3 hours change everything.

Suddenly those “touches”, those words, the coercion, the threats, the violence, are unquestionably crimes. A substantial chunk of my childhood written, taped, recorded, in a couple of hours. What happened was no longer sickness (or no longer only sickness). No longer to be excused. No longer misunderstanding or as she sometimes claimed, the product of her fear. It was a crime. In the police’s words I am the victim of her crime. My mind is shattered, too, try to understand this concept….

Ginny xx