So, when I first started this blog, I mentioned mental health being a contributing factor to my continued weight gain and that I would likely at some point speak some more on more specific aspects of that, and this week seemed like a good week to do that as I don’t have anything big to say on my weight loss this week. (I stayed the same but I’m okay with that). So, I thought that it would be good to talk about something else. I’m not embarrassed of ashamed to say I currently see an NHS therapist weekly, and this week. due to a bad panic attack over the weekend, we decided that next week we’re going to fully focus on the assault I faced almost 3 years ago. She talked about how part of my problem is holding onto it. Not talking about it. Now, I won’t say I never talk about it, of course the topic comes up, but just the fear I felt, the anxiety I now suffer from as a result. Never really what happened.  It was suggested it might do me some good to think about that day. To write about it. So that’s what I’m going to do here. So I hope anyone reading this doesn’t mind.

In June 2012, my brother had been working with some organisations within our parish, and 2 other members made unfair and unfounded accusations against him. None of the details are relevant, I won’t go into all of them, I will say my mum went to one of the women and tried to ask her about why she was making the accusations, wanting to sort whatever her issue was privately without involving the police. The woman was drunk, threw a lot of insults around about myself, my mum and my family. My mother left it at that knowing it would do no good.

Then came Friday July 27th, 2012. A week later from my mother’s attempt at speaking with this woman. My friend and I had decided to go to a local shop (not the one we usually would because my friend had a 5p’s and I refused to go into our usual shop where I knew the owners with a handful of 5p’s! So we went to the other one, that was our local when we were children), sitting in the passenger seat of the car as we parked, I noticed someone pointing and assumed they were gesturing past the car,  until the man approached the car.

I had no idea who he was until I noticed the woman from the previous week and it struck me it was her son. He was yelling at me, calling me names, accusing me of many things that were untrue (attacking his mother for example). I attempted to put up the car window, but the electrics weren’t working and it kept going straight back down. He was making threats and I had said I would call the police. I didn’t actually have my phone with me that day, as we had intended to be back in the house within 5 minutes so we had left them. I hoped though that it might make him move away. I was wrong.

The car door was pulled open as this man spit on my face, grabbed my face and hair and attempted to try and drag me from the car. My friend managed to hold onto me and eventually he let go of my head as he kicked me, and stomped onto my sides and legs. I kicked out to try and get him off me so that I could get away, he just used it as an excuse to say I hit him and continue his assault. As his mum watched on.

Eventually 2 men inside the shop realised what  was happening and ran out to stop him. As he tried to defend his actions, I was able to get myself fully into the car again and my friend drove away. I was bruised, my hair falling out in clumps and upset. I did call the police, by the time they arrived though, the man who assaulted me was gone.

Eventually the case did go to court, where he accused me of assaulting him and claimed self defense. Luckily his two ‘witnesses’ didn’t have stories that made any sense, since they were lying. And in the end, he was found guilty. But sentenced only to fulfill a community payback order. I’ve never felt any justice was done.

Now you know the story of the assault, here’s the outcome. Although I had been out of work due to ill health, prior to the assault, I was feeling better and looking at either returning to work or returning to higher education. As a result of what happened that day, almost 3 years later, I am still out of work. I suffer from very bad anxiety and depression. I made an attempt at returning to work and was unable to cope because I’m too jumpy around people. I have a huge fear of being around too many people now, of going places on my own. Noises make me jump, sometimes even scream. If I’m in a car, I need to have the doors locked at all times. If anyone is too close to me, I freak out. This includes my own family members. It has had a profound, negative effect on my mental health and my life in general.

People often assume that  ‘I want to be like this’. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Who wants to live their life afraid to walk around the streets they grew up on because the person they’re so terrified of lives 5 minutes around the corner? To not be able to walk to the local shop on their own? To wait in the car outside for someone? That’s certainly not the life I want to live.  Which is why I’m determined to continue seeing the therapist to try and overcome this issue.