Hello, readers, this is my personal blog it’s kindly being hosted by Police Hour I’m very pleased to be here I hope to cast a light on how difficult it can be to live with someone you love with severe mental health issues .
I’m going to begin at the end sounds odd I know but you will see why as you read on .
1st of July the anniversary of my mum’s suicide . I have tried to come to terms with this over many years it’s been 25 years now since she finally succeeded in ending her life. Even when my Mum was alive she was the subject of contention resulting in many beatings that I received from my ex-husband and one of many attempts on my life.
I was still married to my now ex-husband when this happened and if I mentioned my mothers name this would cause a huge argument between my ex husband and I he would smash up everything in the house that meant anything to me and then he would beat me up so the whole subject was not allowed to be spoken about so I had to bottle up my feelings and did not have time to grieve like a normal person would so it has never really been addressed .
So how do you address your mother committing suicide ? You don’t really you go through the motions you cry uncontrollably you try to think of different things you could have done maybe should of done but didn’t quicker clever ways in which you could of prevented it every night you save her but every morning you wake up and the reality hits you that you were only dreaming and you didn’t save her at all but your dream was so real and so vivid you think she’s still alive I remember once shortly after loosing my mum I had such a dream and I’ve no idea why I rang my dad and asked how my mum was I’d somehow blocked out reality and without thinking rang up my Dad to talk to her . How strange the mind works sometimes .
My mother was clinically depressed and a paranoid schizophrenic life for her was traumatic at best getting from one day to the next when she had a bad day we all had a bad day she struggled to face life and was making constant attempts at taking her own life .
Reminds me of a quote
“There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain, the mind must leave reality behind”
Here is the story My mum’s childhood was no normal childhood my Nan was a woman to be reckoned with my grandad was lovely from what I remember of him as he died when I was very young in the hospital of pneumonia . My Nan owned a dressmaking firm a very rich lady in her own right self-made and also ruthless with my mother . As early as my mum could remember she was making dresses for my Nan’s business sat on a sewing machine day in day out while her sister went to school and was showered in all the privileges my mother had nothing.
I strongly believe this form of mental abuse was the basis for my mother’s declining mental health twinned with a hereditary mental illness in our family she really didn’t stand much chance.
So then much to my mother’s delight she met my Dad he was much older than her and they got married and had children … 4 of us my mother was at her happiest when she was pregnant .
Growing up was a bit like the Stepford wives movie whereas we had a big house fancy car competition ballroom and Latin dancing , private language lessons , private music lessons and so it all seems great doesn’t it??.
Behind the scenes, we weren’t allowed to bring friends home because god forbid they saw our mother having one of her meltdowns the embarrassment of it would have shattered the subterfuge
Coming home from school entailed hiding behind the very large oak tree in our front drive checking to see if the car was in the drive and if it was. God help you if she was awake she would start shouting at you the moment you walked in the door about anything she could find to have a go about .
Then if you were lucky you could run upstairs shut your bedroom door and hoped that she got tired of screaming at you from behind it and went to bed , or if you were really unlucky in my sisters case she decided one morning my sister was scruffy and she ironed her school shirt on her back where she stood.
I was at the top of the staircase screaming my head off trying to make her stop. To this day my sister has an imprint of an iron on her back. I rang my Dad at work he owned his own business and hell broke loose he came home and my Mums primary target ” my Dad ” would get attacked with whatever she had in her hand first , a knife , rolling pin , ornaments and him would take all that from her and not raise one hand in anger to her .
My experience well my mother had a whole new ball game with me. I got the shouting and the screaming I remember the one time I ever saw my Dad go to raise a hand and then he didn’t he just shook her was when I had come home from school and my Mum decided that the clothes I had on were all wrong and she dragged me upstairs by my hair and she ripped them off me and started kicking and punching me , I went running from her but then she grabbed me again and threw me down the spiral staircase. She shouted for a while and I stayed where I was at the bottom of the stairs naked and cold until she got tired and went to bed .
I then rang my Dad and told him what happened , I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so angry in my life I was black and blue . You also have to remember that in those days to involve the police was such an embarrassment there wasn’t the awareness there is now and domestic violence was taboo and hidden the subject of whispers and rumours of depraved women going to dirty refugees to escape their perpetrator and for a man to be the victim was totally unheard of .
During this time my Mum had ECT treatment and was committed 6 months to the mental asylum as they were in those days and from then on came the suicide attempts and serious attempts she nearly died several times taking overdose after overdose and life in between the shouting at my Dad , blaming him for everything life was a round of phone the ambulance phone the doctor.
Eventually, all my siblings left home as soon as they could my eldest sister first then my brother then my other sister leaving me. They came home every now and then only to go through the next round of suicide attempts .
There was one occasion where before they had all left my Mum came at my Dad with a knife and my Dad had no choice but to defend himself he got her pinned on the floor and disarmed her but as he did to this day I’ve no idea why she screamed at him ” this will be your fault I hate you” and the next thing she eyed the glass door to the lounge and put her leg through it , I saw her do it , blood everywhere she severed her main artery in her calf there was literally a fountain of blood pumping out of her leg, I rang the ambulance the police came as well only for my mother to continue shouting at the ambulance crew trying to treat her ! Dear bloody god, I remember shouting at her to let them treat her, in the end, the police officer shouted at her and that was all she wrote she shut up after that, and after a year and a half of operations on her leg it was never the same again another thing to blame my Dad for.
So my escape was horses, in the end, I used to run home grab my jods and my boots and spend my days mucking out and grooming the show jumpers I loved every minute of it to this day being around horses is the most I’m ever relaxed and I love horses the smells, the quiet breathing while your grooming and trimming were my therapy .
I eventually got my own horse funnily enough the only loving thing my Mum ever did she went against my father’s wishes to know my passion and she bought me a beautiful 15.2 Cleveland bay cross Arab . I paid for myself by working making sweets and desserts in the local pub. I am still friends with the girl I brought my horse from to this day.
So life was ok for a bit until I started getting male attention . It saddens my heart that my own mother was so jealous of me that she made moves on my very first boyfriend I didn’t know until after he dumped me. I then met my ex-husband she went to a whole new level with him , she lost weight bought new clothes changed her hair and one day when my ex-husband had had one too many to drink the night before and I had gone to college she made her move.
Unfortunately for me, I had lessons cancelled at college and I came home to be faced with her final plan.
I don’t want to write what occurred after that but you’re going to be thinking why did I marry this man at all ? Well, I had got pregnant at 17 with him and sadly I lost the baby as it grew inside my tube and died inside of me. It was what you did then you married didn’t you it was the done thing save face all that. I justified marrying him in that I knew what she had done, I screamed at her and the first time in my life I slapped her around the face and horrified at myself , I then had to run out the house down the road after my now ex-husband as he decided after this he was going to kill himself I spent three hours talking him out of it.
My god, you must be thinking you arm chair critics why the hell did you marry that man ….. Well, I knew she had done it on purpose the penny dropped we all thought she was getting better but actually no !! She had other plans.
So I got married a double wedding with my eldest sister . My mum’s name was taboo but even then she pursued me she would come to the barracks to shout at me for hours and when I wouldn’t entertain her she would leave one day she shouted at my poor neighbour for 2 hours , she subsequently got banned from camp.
I then moved to Tidworth it was then that she finally managed to commit suicide .
My day began I went to work on camp in the kitchens I was at an officers mess that day and I remember walking through camp to get to where I was going only to be stopped my one of the guard sgts , I wasn’t allowed a phone in those days and my Dad had rang the camp and told them and I was stopped and informed to ring my Dad.
I thought it was about another matter concerning my son and reported a resounding “No , tell him to get stuffed ” he then ran after me and said ” No you don’t understand it’s your mother ” , so I rang my Dad as soon as I got to the officers mess and I had the strangest phone conversation that went ” she’s finally done it” my Dad said , ” Ok ” I said “what hospital do I go to?”, ” No you don’t understand she’s done it” , ” Done what ?!”, I said more insistent this time , ” she’s killed herself she’s dead”, and slammed the phone down.
I sank to the floor and stayed there for a few minutes trying to process the information , eventually, I got up went into the kitchen and thought I need to go home but no one was around I was early. So I sat on the hotplate area floor until someone arrived not knowing if I wanted to cry or not. Events had unfolded that my mother had kicked my Dad out and then asked him to phone her every hour, my Dad did but in getting no answer he got worried and went back to the house, he could not get in with the key she had snapped the key in the lock ,my Dad putting two and two together called the Police and they broke in and my mother wasn’t to be found straight away.
” Done what ?!”, I said more insistent this time , ” she’s killed herself she’s dead”, and slammed the phone down . I sank to the floor and stayed there for a few minutes trying to process the information , eventually, I got up went into the kitchen and thought I need to go home but no one was around I was early.
So I sat on the hotplate area floor until someone arrived not knowing if I wanted to cry or not . Events had unfolded that my mother had kicked my Dad out and then asked him to phone her every hour, my Dad did but in getting no answer he got worried and went back to the house, he could not get in with the key she had snapped the key in the lock ,my Dad putting two and two together called the Police and they broke in and my mother wasn’t to be found straight away .
She had cut the Hoover wire from the Hoover and hung herself on the other side of the bedroom door, my Dad had pushed passed the Police Officers opened the door the wire snapped and my mother’s body fell on him . My Dad was so traumatised the Police took him to the hospital and for three days no one knew Mum was dead.
I went home and I told my ex-husband and at first, he hugged me then the next series of events were one of the nastiest things I can remember him doing .
He told me ” Good the bitch is dead , you’re not going to her funeral over my dead body, ” I thought he was kidding but when I went down to the families office the next day to get a train warrant to go I was told that he had refused to sign it over to me . I spent the whole day back and forth with him and the families office and still he refused.
So, in the end, I managed to get a lift with my brother . We had the funeral and my brother dropped me off the same day .
As he was worried what he would do to me my brother came in the house with me , we couldn’t find him so we went upstairs and just as we did we found him with a set up of mountain ropes strung from the loft hanging in the spare room . We got him down straight away and nothing was done he was ok just bruised . I was in total shock bereft from the funeral now having to face my ex-husband’s attempt at the same thing .
After this, I was lost for a while I just went to work and tried to process events in my head , lucky for me I had good friends .
I hope by writing this it highlights both mental health and domestic violence it’s not always women that are abused my Dad was for many years I’m proud to say he never lifted a finger to my mother he will probably never forgive me for writing this , the truth covered up to save face to save anyone knowing the truth , because god forbid ! there two friends I have still to this day that know they will read this and I know they are going to be proud of me .
If you take anything away from this blog know this , some people are in such trauma that they physically cannot cope with life they struggle to get through one day to the next spiralling into a mass of depression that no amount of help or counselling can reach I really believe this as it’s the only way I can rationalise my mums suicide in my brain. If someone is that determined enough no matter how many times you stop them they will succeed eventually.
I changed my life I got out of the circle of violence , it can be done , in life we make choices I made many wrong ones there were moments of clarity and moments of desperation but everyone has choices make your choices wisely keep good friends in your life and no matter how crazy and bereft you might feel your friends are the most important thing ………stable sensible friends . I owe a lot to one particular person they kept me going and never gave up on me they told me I was worth something and that I will never forget.
So 10 years down the line I’ve achieved so much even I find it difficult some days I have to pinch myself that I’m not dreaming I successfully secured a job in the police and since last year a voluntary role as a special .I have run 6 marathons so far and 19 half marathons my original blog”my story ” has been used by three police forces for their domestic violence campaigns I have attended white ribbon day twice as a guest for the police and I’ve met some outstanding people . I’m an advisor for my friend Sam Billingham’s charity SODA Survivors Of Domestic Abuse I’ve been running marathons and raising money to help other victims .
This hasn’t come without its scars I don’t have full use of my left hand I can’t have children and a permanent medical condition caused by too many blows to my head I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease about 7 years ago .
I hadn’t had anything for ages when my beautiful step mum lost her fight with cancer May 2015 I thought I was ok but I bottled it all up tried to support everyone else and the result was a set of 4 attacks in the space of 10 days which was so intense it caused hearing loss and permanent tinnitus. Since then I had another massive bout July 2016 I had 64 attacks up until I had surgery on my ear August 2016 to fit a grommet and steroid injection into my middle ear as the last resort.
I have since been diagnosed with migraine variant balance disorder on top of Ménière’s disease one of three people on the hospital books with both . Sadly I was not given much choice than to resign from the specials so I no longer hold that position as from Aug 2016. To add to this after over two years and two operations and two procedures in a hospital to remove cervical cancer CIN 3 I have again gone back highly abnormal cervical smear and now it seems to be serious in that they think it’s a cancerous tumour I have to have major surgery .
Since then I had another massive bout July 2016 I had 64 attacks up until I had surgery on my ear August 2016 to fit a grommet and steroid injection into my middle ear as the last resort . I have since been diagnosed with migraine variant balance disorder on top of Ménière’s disease one of three people on the hospital books with both . Sadly I was not given much choice than to resign from the specials so I no longer hold that position as from Aug 2016. To add to this after over two years and two operations and two procedures in.
Sadly I was not given much choice than to resign from the specials so I no longer hold that position as from Aug 2016. To add to this after over two years and two operations and two procedures in the hospital to remove cervical cancer CIN 3 I have again gone back highly abnormal cervical smear and now it seems to be serious in that they think it’s a cancerous tumour I have to have major surgery .
But I’m a determined person I can bench press more than most blokes I try to keep as fit as my disability will allow me . I won’t let my past devour me it’s not going to happen I often have screaming nightmares about my domestic violence where I wake up sweating wondering where I am I have that moment of panic until I realise where I am . I won’t let my past define me instead I embrace it and write about it as almost a kind of therapy . I love this quote and I shall use it to close my blog thank you for reading .
” Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”