Where have I been?

I have on so many occasions in the past few months attempted to write an update to the blog. To give some kind of reason as to why my writing seemed to have just come to an abrupt halt here online. It’s as though I feel that you deserve an explanation for my absence, the hope that perhaps in all this time (dare i say it) My writing may have been ever so slightly missed.

I haven’t been doing anything spectacular. No more trips abroad for the time being. It has been a year to this week when I wrote this when I visited Corsica and the memories have come flooding back, my brother so small in stature, yet still as large as life appearing in descriptive music and favourite songs, special moments, when dragonflies, robins, butterflies and white feathers appear. Reminding me that although he is no longer here in the physical sense, he is most definitely still by my side spiritually and for this I am thankful.  I am still grieving for him and dealing with that it sometimes catches me out and leaves me weak and vulnerable. 

Life in its various forms has taken a bit of a backseat as ill health has stepped to the fore and rather dominated, stamping over hopes and dreams and causing mayhem at every twist and turn. 
I have fought again, to try to overcome the irrational fears in my head of dealing with an illness which still has yet to be given the correct diagnosis. I have tried sometimes in vain, to treat it homoeopathically without causing further health implications and at this present time, again my health is suffering. For a small part of the summer at least, I have been able to enjoy the warmth of sun on my skin and time sitting in my little garden. A small corner of solitude which has been so neglected and yet still rewards me with flowers and colour to lift the spirits and delight the senses. It is good for the soul. Despite the short bursts of scents (my sense of smell has still not returned) and colour it calms the sensory overload. There have been times, when my nerves have spasmed and dislocated joints quite often in my sleep, when I am fortunate enough to get some. These do not follow a pattern they choose randomly and I am left in pain until it reseats itself sometimes days later. 
My neurological symptoms have worsened over the past year and I am still waiting for the neurology appointment I was referred for in November 2018.  Meanwhile the nerve pain is at times unbearable causing me to cry out in pain, sweat and shake and causes numbness which makes me clumsy. The restless legs at night are only controlled by taking  Gabapentin which I’d rather not take. My pain relief these days is Tramadol and I am conscious of the fact that both of these are controlled drugs and could be highly addictive. I do not wish to take them, but since I am unable to take codeine based drugs and no other options are available to me I am left with no real choice. I am regularly covered in bruises from clumsy incidents, my hands don’t work properly and I get disorientated. It is embarrassing, I don’t have a social life, save for visiting a few understanding friends when I am able. On good days I can hardly function for a few hours and on bad days I can’t get out of bed.
One of the things about how things have been is that for someone with a good command of English and grammar, it seems to have gone to pieces.  I often have word blindness and brain fog, I type now since hand writing is no longer an option due to pain. I find that not only do I forget the words I intend to put down, but I often am unable to spell words which I know well. I type them the wrong way round as though some wire in my head has come loose and the short circuits caused by the spasms have dislodged the memory.  It is deeply frustrating and means that typing anything now takes me twice as long and spell checking is always essential.  It also happens when I read things, I see them round the wrong way too.

Anger and frustration over this time has caused me to write things which I do not feel that I should share. Personal feelings when I have been angry or upset I still write about them and hope that I have the sense not to put them into the public eye, for fear of reprisal later. Along the lines of if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you should say nothing at all. 
I find myself asking”When did I turn into a person who got so angry, so impatient for change and yet bitter about the cards I have been dealt”. I am fighting my own demons every day and sometimes it feels like a losing battle. It is depressing. There have been family issues and upset and health scares in my beloved, I have watched his health decline rapidly, reach a plateau where I am grateful for any small improvement in his health, whilst his pallor has turned from white to grey to tanned and everything in between until the depression has taken a hold of him and he has felt as though he was dying and I was certain that he was. His fight against cancer was getting the better of him and he became more and more depressed. His constant pain getting him down so far that he did not feel as though he could pull himself out of it and the positive mental attitude dwindling before my eyes. 
It took a turn for the worse in early spring he was assualted and robbed in the front garden and late spring someone else threatened him with a knife outside his own house. It seems that there are more junkies who will now do anything for their fixes and life becomes as cheap as their next fix from a schizophrenic drug dealer who thinks we are out to get him. 
Yes we have been angry, felt cheated by our health and unable to do a damn thing about it to improve it.  We do not want to settle for a life like this, where our dreams are shattered before our eyes and we are left behind, shadows of how we once were. Life is not supposed to be this way. Our life is not cheap or worthless it is still worth fighting for.
Our darling dog had surgery, he was hosting a tumour on his back which had it been left would have paralysed him. Thankfully the surgeon was able to skilfully remove it and he has now made a full recovery back to health, his skills at assisting us when we have health issues have also improved out of necessity and we are so grateful to have him in our lives.

So after the spring upset we headed north, to our home in Scotland in the hope that it would bring us peace and comfort. I pushed him to go, thinking that it would do us both some good to get away from here. It has always been my serenity and peaceful place up until the horrors of last year and I hoped naively that that was now over. The reality however was far, far different and I am wholly responsible for the worst imaginable Summer there.  Now neither of us have a wish to return there and we had such plans for the place and the things we wanted to do to our home. We had taken up furniture and things and I was hopeful that my creative streak would once again return to favour me with poetry that I could share and things that I could make.

We had a very long and exhausting journey there and once we arrived and set up the house we had been there less than a week before we were both verbally and physically assaulted by our next door neighbour.  It seems that the grudge he has held for so many years since we bought the place now harbours a dangerous resentment and in his mind we need to be eradicated. So it began, almost two months of sheer hell, dangerous goons sent up to scare us away and threats to kill, a man with a knife despatched to finish us off and the daily torment of a workman who ran the engines on tractors, diggers, lawn mowers and machinery for 8 hours a day. He even left them running unattended right outside the house and clearly delighted in his work, when he wasn’t falling off them drunk. Of course we involved the police after the first incident and were advised not to confront the neighbour or his associates at any point. So we became prisoners in our home and were not even able to out in the garden without being heckled, abused or tormented for the duration. We were followed  in the car, had visitors abusing us in the night time and walking about shining torches into the house throughout the night in an effort to scare us. The fully working farm at harvest time made less noise than these guys.  For my part it worked I was a nervous wreck who sat up throughout the night worrying and regularly tearful, it rendered me incapable of doing things and we were around each other almost 24/7 which often caused friction. The guilt of making us go there was huge and excruciating. Our family, friends and neighbours were concerned for our safety and our family were just too far away.

By the end of July we had enough. The police are taking it seriously and we will most likely have to go to court, they were talking about witness protection for us.  It was worse than a soap opera, friends were saying you couldn’t write this stuff and yet. We’re living this nightmare. Both literally sick with the worry and worn out and run down, we packed up and came back South hoping for some rest when we got back here.  The journey was hellish and  my man was so ill that I did not think he was going to be able to get us home, but he did. He still has not recovered, he had pneumonia and a dislocated shoulder and neck, yet still drove us back as I wasn’t able to either. He has some stubbornness and  perseverance! 

So this last month we have been attempting to gather our strength and rest, well he has although the concept of rest and recuperation I believe is is alien to him.   My parents have finally sold and moved out of what was their family home for the last 35 years. It was extremely stressful for all concerned and distressing for my younger sister as she saw her childhood home pulled in so many directions until it was shredded. I found it less so and just pushed myself to deal with the task in hand and try and hold them all together. 
Trying to help go through sections of the house which had remained largely untouched for about 25 years was a voyage of discovery, that’s for sure! I moved out from there 28 years ago. Trying to do this with poor health has severely taken its toll, I damaged myself lifting heavy things and clearing out. But as of last week, they were finished and we all said Goodbye to the house in our own separate ways. I took cuttings from the garden that my mother had cherished and nurtured in the hope that it would gain a new life in some small way as she has done. Time will tell whether they are happy enough to reward me with growth. I was also allowed to give a new home to some old furniture from the garage and my grandfathers and father’s tools. So I am hoping that I will be able to use them for small projects when my health allows.

So as we settle back in down South after the changes have taken place and hope that we remain safe and are able to get well, or at least not any worse I hope that I get the chance to welcome my creativity back with open arms. I am looking forward to once I have the space and have cleared the debris of the summer and my parents house, found new homes for acquired items and disposed of others which are no longer wanted.   I am hoping that the peace I have regarding their home now being gone remains and does not turn to grief, I think that despite my sentimentality, that part of me is firmly in the past and I moved on from there a long time ago. They have new homes now and are living their lives differently, we have all grown.  I can then return to the task of getting my own house in order and going through the rest of my brother’s belongings. It has been over a year since we lost him now and although I feel his presence, it is not necessary to keep every thing that he owned, there are things which can be of use to others. I just need to sort them out. 

I realise that as time goes on our dreams and our priorities change.  Sometimes these changes are forced by circumstances beyond our control. Those changes seem to be the hardest ones to accept and I will be dragged through them kicking and screaming and hopefully come out the other side intact.  
I am still writing, it is sometimes the only sanity that I have in all the madness around me, giving me a moment of clarity  especially when I am awake throughout the night in pain. It is my therapy, helping me to adapt and grow. I just hope that I am strong enough to keep up the fight, to nurture and cherish those around me who show me love and friendship, who have my back when I have theirs, who listen when I need them to and who speak when they need to. The give and take friends, my tribe.

I will once again share my poems with you. Carefully selected of course and I hope to stop writing what I refer to as “whine poetry” and make a return to the happy, grateful side of my personality. Perhaps I will find a new place that will become my muse, some fabulous life experience which brings back happiness, some joie de vivre.

Written on 080919

Sent from my iPad

A Conscious Decision

This year I have made a decision that I will not document in my diary what the symptoms of my illness are day after day. Like so many other times in my life, I followed the advice of a Doctor who told me that I should keep a record of the changes to my health.

As I think about it, my health dominated most of year and I see that as a direct consequence of recording it. It consumed me.

How was I feeling?

I dwelled upon every change and duly kept that record. But why? What good did it do? Did it give me the reassurance that it was all happening when the doctors didn’t listen? No it didn’t.

In fact it made me feel worse, it was putting a huge negative right at the forefront of my mind day after day.

I think the final straw, or nail in the proverbial coffin for this behaviour was when the Neurologist I had been referred to for seizures, wrote me off without further investigation because his first thought, that I might be epileptic was proved wrong. He did not delve deeper into what was causing worsening seizures night and day. He simply decided that he did not need to see me and the nerve pain and shaking must be caused by a trauma or psychological issue in my past.

It upset my partner greatly and it really made me wild. So I trusted my gut instinct and had a chat with my GP about the painkillers I’d been described and that the seizures had begun at exactly that time. I asked for an alternative and changed them. You’ll never guess what, I have not had a seizure since then! Sure I still get shaky and have nerve and joint pain. But not one of the three consultants or the two Doctors thought that the painkillers could be the cause, they would rather blame some issue in my past for it all.

I’m not denying it I do have to accept that last year I was sick, very sick for quite a lot of it. I’m not completely well or miraculously healed at this point in time. But and there is one, I am determined to turn a corner and improve whatever I can even if I have to take one small step at a time, even if it is all via small steps it really doesn’t matter, as long as I keep going. Along with my nature of being a positive thinker at heart after all of the knockbacks I am trying so hard to return to that state of mind.

So I am dragging myself kicking and screaming into this new year with the determination that things will indeed be different and better and my good health will once again return and the opportunities await me and I will see them in time and grab them.

I will not wait for this to happen now, or for doctors who last year failed me at almost every turn, failing on both diagnosis and treatment. I have decided that from now on, it is down to me to make improvements.

I have had to make the changes. As someone who lacks self confidence I am naturally reluctant to change so have to be pushed. I am grateful at such times for the driving force that is my partner by my side. He often wonders if I would do anything new without him. Of course I would, it would just take me longer to get off the ground and I might not see it all through.

But I am working on that. I used to have a “self destruct button” as he put it, where I would take silly risks, or not think things through before jumping in to something with both feet. He has taught me over the years to think things through beforehand. As a consequence we talk about almost everything especially if it is likely to affect us both. It not only makes us stronger but saves a lot of heartache.

So this year I would like my lovely new fresh blue diary, a present from my sister. To contain happy thoughts. Things that I will achieve. Items that have come our way. Wonderful things that we have seen, or done. Great experiences and pleasurable moments. So that at the end of the year, or even part of the way through it I can read it for inspiration, love, gratitude and so many other wonderful things safe in the knowledge that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do with my life. Live it and love it.

It’s my birthday tomorrow which always gets me thinking about the future.

I am not dwelling upon the past or an increase in my age, for that is just a number. But I am grateful for the wisdom that comes with each year that passes as I grow older. For what the previous year has taught me, the lessons and the challenges I have overcome and the things that make me, just me.

Tock Tick, 

Tick tock, tick tock

Incessant noise from the clock

Tock tick, tock tick
All the while that I am sick.

It carries on doesn’t want to stop

When I am ready just to drop.

Reminds me that time marches on

While they figure out what is wrong.

All the while as I lay in my bed

The noise I hear going through my head 

Layers upon layer it’s there underneath,

Hear it so loud I clench my teeth.

While there is pain my body quakes,

Blood pumping fast I have the shakes.

Ever changing from the norm,

My life has taken on new form.

So different now from before,

Not knowing what it has in store.

On most days I live in pain,

Thankful for some small gain.

The gratitude when things go right,

When I can sleep through the night.

When I can feel I do not shirk,

And I’m able to do some work.

See my way through the brain fog,

To enable me to walk the dog.

Walk up the road from side to side,

Stagger along with him at my side.

Is she alright or is she drunk?

Wish I could escape from this funk.

Erratic emotions cause alarm,

Losing all my grace and charm.

Will they notice my thoughts are mussed,

Or disregard they are not fussed.

People have fallen by the way,

As I fight through each day.

Some are still there as they should,

They are the ones who are kind and good.

Yes life has changed beyond recognition,

Going forward, time out, this intermission.

For this is not how it will stay for me,

I’m sure it’s only temporary.

Over time I’ll start to get better,

Once again be that go-getter.

I hope that it’s not permanent,

For this is not how my life’s meant.

How Many Do We Get?

A leading question and forgive me for a moment if I’m going to go deep…

I am talking about how many chances to make a new life? Something better than before, or at least different. I am sometimes likened to a cat by those who know me, but I wonder whether I have the nine lives people so often speak of. I don’t know how many chances I have had. I have never thought to count them before or even how many I may have already used up and I’m not going to start now.  For whatever the answer is, I am grateful.

What I do know is that throughout our life we are given so many opportunities to make it different. Some we may miss. It may be that we simply don’t see them at the time. Or that they come out of nowhere and we reach out and life as we know it changes completely.

I want to tell you about one such time in my life. It was 8 years ago (Oh how time flies) this week, just days before my Birthday.

I had prayed so long for the moment, hell I’d even begged for it. The operation which I was sure would change my adult life from the one that had been plagued thus far with pain and illness. Once they had found out that the cause of all this misery was Endometriosis, an incurable condition and I had met the specialist, then he could set about sorting me out finally. I was overflowing with hope of what would come to me in my new life after they agreed to give me a full hysterectomy. The pressure in the past that I’d felt, to provide children to complete my existence was suddenly removed and I could finally move on from it. By just announcing “I can’t have children”, instead of the wistful ” I don’t have children…. yet.” Somehow the weight was instantly lifted and it was just accepted by others as well as myself. It was also possible that since my pain and symptoms were cyclical and my menstrual cycle outweighed the rest of the month, this surgery just might put an end to it in one fell swoop. It was a drastic approach, but I had tried everything else that was suggested and it hadn’t worked, I was by then absolutely desperate.

Of course I had the last minute doubts before the operation because it was so final. But, the pro’s definitely outweighed con’s in my mind as I thought about the opportunity to actually start living and be able to follow some of my dreams without being held back by my condition at last. My partner was a tower of strength and supported my decision all the way, he wasn’t going anywhere he said, we were in this together.

There were moments in the past where I had gone after a dream and encouraged by my partner had gone far and achieved things that I had not thought possible.

I awoke from the operation euphoric. Full of hope for what might come next in our lives, after the three months recovery time at home I would need. Thankful for being given the chance at starting my adult life over again. I was now going to be able to go out there and actually begin to live it! I was also extremely grateful that this time I had understanding bosses who had agreed the time off on full pay that I would need. It was such a huge relief that we did not have that particular stress hanging over us through that.

I healed really quickly on the outside and felt invincible and ready to take on the world. My partner held on tightly to the reigns for a while to stop me doing something that would set my recovery back and I started straight away on HRT patches so that I wouldn’t go into a menopausal state with immediate effect. I didn’t want to go through that on top of it all and since I was young I wanted something that would protect me from the brittle bones often suffered post menopause for as long as possible. I am still using them.

So how do I feel 8 years on from this?  Did my new life begin? Was it as awesome as I thought it would become back then?

Well, yes I got a new life compared to the old one. It started to be like most lives, it’s been a pretty mixed bag.  Not always awesome, it has been filled with ups and downs, we have been sick and healthy, jobs have come and gone. I have lost people and loved ones along the way. I have fought for what I believed in, I have tried to remain strong even when I did not think it were possible.  I have often felt as though I am at rock bottom but I have had my loved ones beside me along the way but most of all it is not over yet.  There is no “fat lady” singing yet.

I have gone sometimes off at tangents over the past few years, not really knowing where it would lead but I want the other chances which might be open to me.  A life can be long or short, we have no way of knowing which of those we will have.  As mine continues I will look for the opportunities in the hope that they present themselves as often as possible. I hope I will find them, at the corner of every street, on every day that I am lucky to wake up and to breathe and in every person I am lucky enough to meet. Yes, I do see those things as blessings, sometimes in disguise, but experience is gained from every encounter.

I haven’t yet worked out for my purpose is for this world, I feel as though somehow I am being led to help others.  I am not sure of the direction but I am certain that I have a place and I belong here and I want to make a difference, somewhere to someone.

 

The Frustration in Fighting for Peace and Justice.

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Try as I may, I am bundled up with frustration at the situation which we currently face.
Following on from the incidents of this week, as mentioned in my previous post The art of holding it together…. Or keeping calm in a crisis.(which is a bit of a long read)

I have been told that the man who tried to come and kill me has been released, whilst I was being told this, he arrived back to his own home opposite mine, at about 11pm shouting that he was back. I told this to the Police officer who was informing me, she sighed and said, “so he is already kicking off then.”

It is the sort of response that I would expect from a friend of family member, but again it seems the police are actually powerless to deal with this. They know exactly what they are dealing with here and yet they had to let him go on bail, because he said that he didn’t do it! As my friend put it quite succinctly, did they expect him to say, “Yes Officer, I am a complete arse, I cannot live or function in Society”

I found out yesterday, that he told the officer who questioned him that he had never spoken to me before, which was a complete lie but thus admitting in theory at least that he did on this occasion. They said that there was not enough evidence. I am pretty sure that in the three hours it took the police to actually find him and arrest him, he was able to return the knife he was carrying back into the kitchen drawer, only to remove it and come back over the road carrying it a further twice, but there was plenty of time.
They released him on bail, but did not apply any bail conditions, like staying away from me or my partner. I questioned this, since I had been told that he had been told not to come near or speak to either of us. The police officer said that he would have been told that, but it was not an actual condition of his bail. My question, “So there’s nothing to actually stop him doing that then” “No,” he replied.

The officer came to gather more information for the Crown Prosecution Service, who are now trying to build a case against him. The two witness statements given and a verbal statement to another officer were simply not enough for them. I offered two letters from a former neighbour which mention that he was taken into custody some time ago by riot squad for using knives, and had returned to his old ways he told me that they were not useful to this investigation. I was confused as they showed a previous history of violent behaviour involving knives from a further independent witness. I also mentioned the neighbour who confirmed for the policemen who attended that he had been throwing knives about whilst she had a conversation with us and shouting abuse at us, just after he attempted to run my partner down, just 2 weeks earlier.

The police officer forgot something when he left and returned moments later to collect it to find this man standing at our front gate, yelling abuse at my partner. Clearly the neighbour did not expect him to return. He searched him and cautioned him again and sent him back to his house telling him to stay on his side of the street and not come near this property. The ranting went on for a large part of the afternoon. I stayed indoors.

Yesterday early evening he was in his front garden, yelling across the street again and mimicking my partner walking about. Then standing in front of the house menacingly. He certainly had some acting skills, that man and seems to love a camera, he was acting up for it. He was also wearing a white chefs jacket in his new cunning disguise. Pieces of a puzzle, why would he have chefs whites you may ask, well if he was out of his garden with another kitchen knife, someone might mistake him for a chef.

Thankfully since he seems to have the thought pattern of a 17 year old and you can watch the cogs whirring, we are able to see things coming to a certain extent, but basically think of a set of circumstances put together with childlike thought and remain one step ahead at all times.

I again notified the council of this incident who I would have hoped had not got their hands firmly in their pockets on this occasion. However it seems that the fence they are sitting on is so far up their backsides that you cannot even see it. A local councillor who had previously promised to deal with the matter as mediator and to lend it some weight when this first began some seven weeks ago, has done nothing not been to see other victims and now feels he’d like to go and visit the man himself for a chat, telling me that there is compassionate feeling for his circumstances. In seven weeks, no-one has visited him yet and there is clearly absolutely no compassion for mine, or the other neighbours whom he has terrorised during this time or beforehand Well, I hope that the dear councillor takes a stab vest with him and I am sure that the neighbour will have his carer present, or perhaps the barrister that his mother provided to remove him from custody the other day. Most certainly he will play his part of meek and mild to the hilt, he will probably take his medication that day, wear smart clothes and wait until the councillor leaves the house and then he will go back to being the monster he has become. I only hope that they are not fooled for a minute, but fear that they will be completely taken in by the charade.

For him it is a fine game, which can be played day in, day out, night and day endlessly for as long as it takes by someone with far to much time on their hands. Meanwhile we cannot continue with our lives or get anything done. No preparation for a trip we were due to take in July and have yet to, since our days are taken up with dealing with the circumstances of his play, or the fallout from it. Does it all boil down to politics at the end of the day, since he is Special Needs. The response which I received from the councillor certainly led me to believe that.

The frustration I feel right now is so intense that I am wound like a clock. Suffering with Hypertension, you tend to know when you are about to become ill and I am about one step away. I am not sleeping properly, I am jumpy and cannot relax, my chest is fluttering and pounding and my heart rate is ten beats more than usual. I know this since the Dr asked me to check it before I left the surgery the other day. She is concerned and has prescribed me medication for acute anxiety. Although I would love the release of forgetting about what has happened and being able to relax. I cannot afford to let my guard down outside of the home. I am on higher alert than I was three days ago, when he was away. I am looking over my shoulder as I walk accompanied down the road. I would rather not leave the house at all, I only feel safe out in the car, to a certain level.

My home here is no longer a place of safety where I can sleep, relax and enjoy being. I crave the sanctuary of the Hill, somewhere I can take us both off to recharge our batteries and forget about the Trauma caused by this  Summer’s events. Or at least can gather my own thoughts into some semblance of order once again, without the domination of this person. I have the getaways so badly that I can taste it, but am powerless to get there. I have the offer to stay with friends, but a night away, would bring fear of what may have happened by my return, so I have declined thus far.

The other day, I was feeling an inner strength which I know is still deep down. I am digging deeply for it at the moment, trying to be strong and remembering that I have a voice and to make it heard. Surely one man cannot chase off a whole bunch of neighbours, well he has managed to terrorise them for months now. I do want to move, but I don’t want to be seen off and leave the other people around here to try and deal with it. They haven’t been able to before, if I have become a kind of ambassador for the local neighbours, then that may not be such a bad thing. To have someone fighting their corner for a change. We all want to be safe in our homes.

A couple of weeks ago, I repainted a bench in our garden.  It is there as a reminder, during the times when it feels so dark. It also sends a message to the whole neighbourhood. #LoveisStrongerthanHate Although I am finding it hard to love this particular neighbour after what he has inflicted upon us as a family, which is pain so deep and personal in a barrage of unprovoked attacks, by sharing some love amongst the rest of the community, we will become stronger.

I thought about asking my current landlords about moving me to another property as they did when I moved in here following a burglary carried out by my next door neighbour. But since this man’s mother has friends in high places who are giving her information, I know that I would not be safe there either, if he was not held in a secure unit he would come and find me, since he is not giving up. Also, I have asked myself the question who would want to move in here, I would have a duty to them to tell them that there was an issue with one or two of the neighbours, so who in their right mind would want to move to a place like this at the moment? Part of me would see this as defeat if I moved. Meanwhile, the torrent of foul abuse is launched upon me whenever I step out of the front door.

I don’t have the answer, I am begging them for something to be done. For this horror story to finish so that we can all get on with our lives, but at the moment I am stuck in limbo. I am unable to proceed and certainly not wanting to retreat. If I can hold my ground, I am in with a chance of survival.

The Daily Post – Recharge

The art of holding it together…. Or keeping calm in a crisis.

I don’t know what it is, but since I was a teenager and someone walked calmly up to our front door with a two foot long knife inside his jacket and pointed it at me when I opened the front door with my 18 month old sister around my legs, I have seemed to have remained calm in a crisis. It was my first experience of the police.

My Dad had just gone to get his toolbox out of the car for the night and was tidying his car up on the driveway, when there was a knock at the door. I was thirteen years old. I opened the door. A man was standing there, his knife pointing towards my stomach. I looked down at it and calmly told my little sister to go indoors, pushing her away before she could see what was happening. He asked me if there was a lady here, I do not recall her name. I told him that he was mistaken and he had the wrong address, he then asked for my neighbour’s Geoff and Anne by name. My father walking back down the pathway brightly said, “No, they live next door”. The man Thanked him and putting the knife back out of sight under his jacket he turned to walk past my Dad on the pathway, he was not ranting or shouting at this point. My Dad came inside and the next thing we heard from the adjoining hallway, was an almighty crash as he smashed his way through next door’s front door glass, to let himself in, there was a scream, then another then children began to cry and he yelled that he was going to kill the bitch….

Our telephone was in the hallway at the time and I grabbed it and called 999, explaining what was happening and they should get someone there quickly. I then explained what he had done at our doorstep. I didn’t know if he had actually managed to get to her, but he was inside the house.

Police arrived on the scene and disarmed him, the family next door along with their friend had locked themselves in the bathroom I think, while he went on the rampage.
Later the police came to me and took a statement, they told me that I had been very brave not to have screamed and had acted very calmly. It was a huge risk to take but as I explained my prime consideration was to protect and not to alarm my younger sister at my side, so I had to remain calm. I also did not want him to know exactly where the lady was that he was looking for. In truth I couldn’t scream if I had wanted to, a consequence of previous childhood trauma.

I think this experience gave me the ability to take things in my stride when they are happening. From then on, when faced with a situation, an accident or altercation, I handle it at the time as though somehow detached from out as an observer. I am able to deal with it calmly and effectively and retain the ability to keep it together when others might not be able to. Afterwards is when it hits me, some might have a stiff drink at this point, I do not. It just seeps in, I shake for a while try to figure it out and if I acted in the best way and then calm down. Only many years later , after receiving counselling for Trauma and opening up to my counsellor about things, have I start to question what happens to the body and mind after such trauma. You know, when the shock kicks in after everything has calmed down and you are alone with your thoughts. I find myself asking, if only there was a way to conquer that down time so that I do not then become a gibbering shaking wreckage of whatever has happened. I berate myself for not being strong enough to handle it.

Yesterday, after threat upon threat of the past few weeks and a couple of attempts on my partner’s life, our psychotic neighbour who has threatened both my partner and I in the past few weeks, decided to carry out his threat upon me. Being a friendly and approachable person in the community, who has worked voluntarily to get things done with the local authority has its drawbacks. You might wonder how a passing Hello to a friendly neighbourhood PCSO or visiting Councillor and members of the local authority would make you a police officer and a grass, by association this might be a little far fetched. But then if you throw a violent paranoid schizophrenic into the mix, who does not take his medication on time, drinks alcohol and whose paranoia and habits are being fed by the drug dealer next door it all starts to make a little bit more sense as to someone like that this deluded outlook on things might seem real. Unfortunately, what has happened IS very real.
So, having yelled out across the street the day before to my partner that “she was going to get it” and that he was going to kill both of us. In the past fortnight when these threats have escalated to a now daily occurrence, combined with terrorising us with motorbikes, threatening behaviour with weapons and other abuse. I have been rather nervous to go out alone and have stayed inside, barely venturing into the front garden, which is crying out for some attention. But since I had a Drs appointment yesterday morning I did just that, in a bid for freedom and a short time away from this madness I went out in the car. I was alright once I was away from the house, but drove with the windows barely open and the doors locked, just in case he followed me on any of his motorbikes.

When I returned later in the afternoon, I was told that for several hours he had been circling up and down outside the house, revving the machines up to a deafening volume, whilst his mother, (his principal carer) and a social worker were waiting outside with a video camera at the ready  for my partner to confront him, so that they could get any altercation on film. Thankfully, despite it all my partner saw it was an ambush and stayed inside and their plan was foiled, although several of the other neighbours were alarmed he almost ran one of them over with her dog and she rushed back inside, others came outside to observe and later said that it was a terrible row. Clearly none decided to call the police though. Later on in the early evening, my partner was speaking to some of the neighbours on the pathway in the front garden and once they had left went to come back inside. As he did so the man from over the road was shouting again, had begun to walk out of his gate and across the grass stepping on to the road, he was holding what could only be a knife. It was small like a kitchen knife, but I clearly saw the light glint on the blade. My partner called me and asked if I had my mobile and could take a photo since he had a knife, I said it wouldn’t come out from that distance, but I held up the mobile as though to take a photo, which seemed to put him off and he tucked it into his pocket and walked back towards his gate. He yelled again that he was going to kill me. For a moment, we stood there and looked at him. He then headed back across the road again and I asked my partner to come inside quickly.

We were actually considering going out for a walk to calm down. But I asked, what if he came back? My partner told me to call the police. I dialled 999 and called them explaining what had happened and they said they were sending someone. 45 minutes later a tactical squad turned up to arrest him as we were waiting, it occurred to me that had we not seen him coming and he had been able to carry out his threat then we would have been dead. I thought that he was in the house, but it turned out that he had slipped out whilst I was not looking out of the window. We think he may have hidden out in his next door neighbours house.

The Squad which came tried to get in, and eventually got the neighbour to let them in and searched the place, since they did not find him and we all believed that he was out on one of his motorbikes, they asked me to call them if we saw him return. Lo and behold within 5 minutes he was back. My partner had just gone to lock the front gate after the police had left and saw him skulking around the front garden and heading back across the road again towards our place again with his shiny knife. He virtually ran back inside telling me to call 999 again NOW! I did so and 15 minutes later the squad returned and arrested him, searched his house and took him away. At just before 1am officers came to take a statement from me until 2.30am this morning. They asked if I would attend court to give evidence against him. I said yes, since he has already decided I was the problem and it was personal I have a duty to see it through to justice. So that he will not be able to do it to someone else. To destroy, or maim or kill someone else’s life as he has tried to with ours.  I was hopeful of some sleep knowing that he was safely locked up and could not harm us.

Sleep was fitful, this morning I am shaking and a little jumpy. The aftermath of an actual attempt upon my life, a threat made time and again in the past few weeks which he intended to carry out. The reality that it was not just threats. That actually has been planning, waiting for his moment. I have seen him plotting it, as though the cogs of his evil mind are on view, you can almost tell what he is thinking and I have learned to follow my gut instinct, whenever in the past few weeks I have sensed that he is about to do something, it has not let me down. I am on constant alert and aware. I told the Dr what had been happening lately, she was horrified and told me to keep calling the police. I do not want to take the pills which my Doctor prescribed for acute anxiety yesterday morning, as I do not want to miss any of the signals, it is my only way of protecting us, to keep my wits about me. Yes I am afraid to go out alone until this man is brought under control and kept secure, I hope that they also find time to deal with the puppet master who pulls his strings. Meanwhile, my partner is watching my back and I am watching his. My gut instinct has kept us here for the past few weeks and long may it continue to do so.

I cannot brush this under the carpet. I felt the need to write about it, I can’t keep it coped up in my head. This is my cling mechanism. It will stop me falling apart when it’s all too much.

The Daily Post – Crisis

A Child Substitute

DSC_0334I never thought that when it happened, he would fill so many of the gaps in my life…

These were gaps that I didn’t even know I had, but somehow my partner did. He knew that I wanted so badly to be a mother to something and that I had so much love to give. I would make a good mother he said. After the loss of a child in my younger years, a hysterectomy and many further childless years, we had always said that one day we would get a dog. In my mind, the time wasn’t right at all, there was way too much going on and I was working around 50 hours a week in a stressful job.

So a little over five years ago, we were told that our friends Alaskan Malamutes were expecting puppies and that when they arrived, I would have to go and choose one. He felt that the time was right and when I saw them, I knew that it was.
I visited the puppies whenever I could and although they were all lovely, I thought that I couldn’t make up my mind, so I just kept visiting. One in particular would not leave my side, he was not interested in eating with the others when I was there and when I talked to them all, he listened, paying extra attention. He snuggled in tighter and gave wonderful puppy kisses and when I felt that I really should make a decision despite thinking that I would go for a grey and white, I chose him.

I asked the question you see, “Are you going to be my Kato and am I going to be your Mummy?” He placed a small paw upon my knee, instant ownership and gazed into my eyes. I actually caught the moment on camera too and it remains one of my all time favourites in a sea of photographs spanning his short life, all of which I cherish. But I knew that from that moment, there was no other. I had found my baby and he had found me. He was the best gift that I could ever have had.

The thing about having a living, breathing member of your family as a child substitute…

Is that one day, they are suddenly not there and your little comfortable part of life as you know it is suddenly ripped wide open. Laid bare for people to dissect, they say harmful things at their will and whilst you deal with that on top of your grief, you are just expected to get over it.

If you are part of a family then it is not just your own feelings which are left raw and damaged, with your own life with a huge gaping hole, but also that of your loved ones.
The thing about being parents is that there are two lots of grief to understand and deal with. You must try to understand what goes through another broken mind whilst you both try to fix it and figure out how to heal, being careful not to break each other with a misplaced word or emotion is so tough and we often get it wrong.

You cannot wrap yourself up in your own grief, since you are shutting the other one out, so grief is handled in an entirely different way to how you would normally. This is alien to you and you find it hard to deal with.
New, raw emotions appear and you hope that you are both able to peek out of the wreckage together and rebuild after the tornado has hit.

I think that I am getting better, but I still have not stopped talking to him, looking around before I move the chair, so that I don’t catch him, he was almost always at my side. His remains have come home, it makes it a little bit easier since it feels like he is here with us, although I do not yet often feel his spirit although there have been signs of him.

I have dreams which he is sometimes in, some good, some bad but he is somehow different in them slightly. In the last one I was saying that I want to see my son, who I haven’t seen in ages. I am in a hospital awaiting an operation and I am explaining this to the nurse. I hear him run up the stairs and drop his ball outside the door and I open the door, but he is coming in another door, greeting everyone there first as I say, where is my Kato and he is suddenly there. With my Hero’s welcome, my face and hands buried in his wonderful translucent fur again, being smothered in kisses.
Oh how I wish for that welcome again, but I am so very grateful for those five short years that I was his Mummy, I am sure that they made me a better person than before.