Lifestyle

What happens when the bruises fade: a year later!

So a year ago today my whole life changed, definitely for the better, but at the time I was living in a nightmare. I think what people don’t understand was that it wasn’t just one quick random attack. Yes, the mental and psychical abuse had been happening for years, but that ‘one’ attack was long and drug out over a period of 15 or so hours. The whole 9 years and especially that last attack is etched in my brain still a whole year later.

If you want to read my first post on this topic then just click ‘here’, I won’t really go through everything in detail again.

*Just a little note that i have wrote all of this without editing and checking through it all.. So, i do apologise if the spelling is shit, I’ve missed things out or it makes no sense whatsoever.

Self 

So, how am i? How am I feeling? What am I doing with myself? A whole year later… I would be lying if I said everything was all great. I suppose compared to a year ago, life is actually fucking amazing! I have gone from a shy, anxious and depressed girl into a more confident, self-assured woman. I am still living with anxiety and depression, but I have a lot more control over that than I used to. I have more happy days than sad days. Since a year ago, I have tried to push myself out of my comfort zone on many occasions. Last summer I attended my first blogger meet up (which was amazing), I have attended a few courses (such as the freedom programme, which is a whole other post) and have made some great friends. I have also learnt to ask for help when I need it, which is something I would never do before. I have become obsessed with makeup, due to never being ‘allowed’ to wear it. From something so bad, I have actually come a very long way, even if on most days I don’t see it.

So, things with me are definitely on the up, although my god it is bloody hard trying to find a job! I have started a few more courses to hopefully help on the CV front and I suppose that means more time for blogging, watching shit TV and spending time with the kids.

Kids 

Compared to a year ago they have completely changed. Luckily I had a MAT (Multi Agency Team) worker assigned to work with me and the kids and they have come on leaps and bounds (well, mostly anyway.. no one said it would be a walk in the park).

 A year ago my eldest was a shy and timid boy, who had anxiety issues and would lash out at school. Now he is much more confident in himself and although he has his moments where he will throw a tantrum or lash out are few and far between, and he is getting on so well at school.

My middle child is definitely more of a handful, and thinks that it was my fault that his dad has ended up in prison. He’s also started stealing (as far as I am aware of, just at home), but school is hoping to put some counselling into place for both of them, which I hope will help. With me being so emotional on the subject I’ve never actually sat down with them and talked about it, but I think that is something that needs to happen soon.

And my little girl.. She turned 3 in February so is at nursery now. She is a feisty little character who has a love of frozen and peppa pig. Compared to the boys, I don’t think she was affected ‘as much’, although she does go through bouts of clinginess and nightmares (whether that’s because of what happened or is for a total different reason, I don’t know).

Relationships 

So, if you weren’t aware I got into a relationship kind of a bit too quickly after the whole mess. Some people might think ‘what the actual fuck are you doing?!’… And maybe they’re right that it was too soon, but it’s half a year later and things are going great. He gives me the slight nudge I need in regards to getting out of the house, meeting new people and just finding who I am again. As I have a lot of support I know that if ever I was to be in the situation I was in before again, I’d have people to turn to, I’d be more confident to tell someone what was happening and basically he could go fuck himself. But in all honesty he is so genuine, always uplifting and also very patient when I have my sad or panicky moments where I have no reason for them. He is great with the kids, they love him to pieces and he really is a great male role model. I guess I do have my guard up quite a lot, but that’s just me as a person I think. Anyway, he is great and has become my best friend, which is something I have needed for such a long time.

Also, relationship wise, i have finally gotten back a great relationship with my mum. Being with my ex put a great strain on our relationship as i was told that she didn’t care about me at all and for some reason i believed him. But she has been a total rock this past year and i am so lucky and grateful for everything she has done. Even just her being there has been a huge support and i am really glad that i now feel that i can go to her for advice about anything or just a general chat or whinge.

Mental health / medication / therapy / self help 

I suffer with PTSD (although to me that sounds way to dramatic), anxiety and depression. I was on medication for a good while after it had happened, but to me it just didn’t seem to be working. I was getting better but I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.. I just was at a point where I just stopped taking it and wanted to do it all by myself. Anyway, seen as I didn’t want to take medication anymore, my doctor suggested that I try therapy. I HATED it. I’ve heard about therapy helping a lot of people and that talking to a non biased stranger works wonders. But, whenever I sat down I just couldn’t speak, all I kept thinking was that the therapist was judging me and whenever I did say something I thought it was the wrong thing to say. Every other week my anxiety would go into over drive of the thought of going to therapy, so I was so fucking thankful when my sessions ended.

I have always been the type of person who keeps my thoughts and feelings to myself over the fear of being judged. So, I started a diary. At the beginning of 2017 I bought myself a page a day and have been filing it in every single day. For me this has helped tremendously, I get all thoughts out of my head, write them down and not think of them again. And it’s funny how this one little thing has improved my life so much. I have a little section on the bottom of every page with a line for ‘the high of the day’, ‘the low of the day’ and ‘something good about me’. And I’ve found this little section so helpful when I don’t fancy writing or even if I’m having a bad day, I can then flip back a few pages and see the ‘good’ things that I’ve wrote at the bottom of the pages.

Of course I am not cured in no way at all (don’t think that’s ever going to be happen to be honest), but just being brave enough to go to the doctors and see what works and what doesn’t was a huge step in itself.

The freedom programme .

I am going to do a big long post about this, but I wanted to quickly add it in here, because this is a major part of why I have become so much more confident in myself.

Overall it is basically a course that teaches you about different areas of domestic violence, why the person may be that way, and how to spot the signs.

For me, this was my therapy… I’ve learned a lot about myself, I learned that I’m not alone and most importantly I finally understood that it wasn’t my fault!

Also, I met 4 amazing women who I hope will stay in my life for a very long while.

Where to get advice and support 

Friends or family – If you are super lucky and have supportive friends or family, go and tell them. Even if it’s the littlest of things that you don’t think is a huge deal, just tell them.

Local women’s centres – I am pretty sure most cities have a women’s centre, where you can go in and just have a chat to someone.

Refugerefuge.org.uk – Freephone 24 hour helpline – 020 7395 7771 – All the support line workers and volunteers are fully trained, and many will have gone through what you’re experiencing.

National domestic violence helplinenationaldomesticviolence.org – Freephone 24 hour helpline – 0808 2000 247 – Is run in partnership with women’s aid and refuge – All calls are confidential and they offer help and support 24/7 –

Victim supportvictimsupport.org.uk – Support line – 08 08 16 89 111 (open mon-fri 8am-8pm and 24hours over the weekend). Victim support deal with all kinds of support to victims of anything really. They have dedicated IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocates) who help you through everything, from reporting the crime (if you feel comfortable doing) and whatever support you need during and after.  I had an IDVA and she was so nice and helped me through the whole process, from keeping me informed of proceedings, helping me move home and just general support.

Womens aidwomensaid.org.uk – 24 hour helpline – 0808 2000 247 – womens aid are absolutely amazing. They have a freephone service to get advice, you can email them, and they also have secure forums as well, which i have joined and find very helpful (even if i don’t participate).

*I am sure there are many more ways to get support and help if you need it but the above ways are the main ones i could think of and are all so frigging helpful, so do check them out if you need to.

Thank you for reading, it has been such a huge help just writing all this down, and I hope I’ve proved that if you are a victim of domestic violence (any gender or ethnicity or sexual orientation), getting help is the best thing you could ever do, even if you feel like it’s ‘not that bad’ or that no one will listen to you… If you feel the slightest twinge that something is wrong, go with your gut and tell someone!

I will be writing a post all about the Freedom programme and other domestic violence posts (eventually), so keep your eyes out! Also, if ever you want to talk to anyone I am here 🙂

Kirsty xx

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