Category Archives: PTSD

The Court trial & the martyr

As regular readers already know, years ago I was the victim of a completely unprovoked attempted murder by an evil character who is your movie-style psycho killer.

I asked my parents not to attend the High Court trial in an effort to save them from hearing personal details of my life echo around a courtroom disparagingly. There was a vulnerable need to protect myself against mother’s judgemental mentality and those familiar speeches of martyrdom.

I could only envisage my parent’s shame as their son’s life became public before a Jury and a busy public gallery. My assailants defence team were preparing to tear my testimony to shreds with accusations of the most despicable kind. There were only two of us in that room that night, no witnesses, just my word against his.

A High Court trial Jury in the UK are never aware of a Defendant’s criminal convictions until after a Judge passes a verdict of guilty, so for the duration of our humiliating trial, my character came under cruel and degrading scrutiny.

My assailant’s academic intelligence arrogantly tried to justify my extensive injuries and blundered through a ridiculous explanation of why I would jump through a first floor window in a dangerous bid to escape, if I was the attacker. The Jury were there to make a judgement.

The Defendant’s respectable middle class parents sat quietly in the courtroom in support of their precious son, while I couldn’t trust my mother to provide that same unconditional support, not without it being regurgitated sometime in the future with that familiar statement of, “Oh, what a terrible time I’m having.”

On the day of the verdict, I couldn’t go anywhere near the Courthouse. A bizarre and rather shocking twist to this story is that only a couple of years previously, my assailant had actually been sent to prison for life, for the first murder he ever committed.

Two years into his life sentence, he took his appeal to the Supreme Court and the Judges ruled that the Jury in the first murder trial were prejudiced into finding him guilty. Even though he admitted to the murder, those idiotic Judges, in all their glory and wisdom, overturned his guilty verdict and set him free. He had walked free once, this trial could swing either way.

Waiting at home alone for the verdict, I have never felt so nervous in my entire life, the sort where you just cannot get off the toilet, while watching the second hand sweep away the minutes. When the phone eventually did ring, it was the martyr, my mother.

Mum: Well Cat, That’s it finished… (She has that familiar patronising voice, the one that stinks of ‘woe is me’). Now listen, son, I hope we can put this behind us now because me and yer Dad ‘are done’, this is taking its toll on everyone, you know.

Silence

Mum: Hello? Are ye there?

Me: Well? Have they reached a verdict yet? Have you heard?

Mum: Eh?… Oh… Aye, they got him for it… he’s found guilty. Now listen, son, I really hope we can start to move on with our lives. Your only young, you’ll get over it.

Stunned silence

Me: Um…well, ‘Leaving it all behind’ might not be so straightforward for the victim.

Mum: I know that you’re the victim, son, (my tummy turns queasy whenever she uses ‘son’ in that emotionally blackmailing way) but listen, we’ve all been through a hard time over this, we’re all victims, it’s not all about you, you know.”

That telephone call is the beginning of where we are today. There is little point in trying to speak up against such narcissistic thinking and my silence has pushed her further and further away, but the anger, the guilt, and all the things I should have said, but couldn’t, are fuel to the chronic rumination today and this is one of the things I will be working on in therapy over the coming weeks.

Find a Way Back to Me

The thing about dissociation is it often makes us forget why our minds can feel so chaotic at times. But, just because we dissociate, doesn’t necessarily mean the dissociative issues are not still playing out in our subconscious and having a devastating impact on our overall emotional wellbeing.

As I look back over my own posts from recent weeks, it’s easy to see why there is so much chaos, but amidst all the psychotherapeutic work, I have a niggling doubt that something very important is missing.

At the heart of this is avoidance, one of my closest allies and greatest foe’s. It keeps me safe from all those painful emotions, but it’s also the padlock and chain to my isolation.

Sometimes we can bury our emotions so deep over many years that we somehow forget how to form an attachment to them, as if the App is still there but the connection is missing.

I have a reasonably pleasant and comfortable existence with little time to sit around feeling bored, but everything seems to revolve towards mid-afternoon, when the shoes and clothes come off and at last, I can relax in pyjamas and slippers, while pursuing my favourite pastime, writing, and blogging in blissful isolation.

All this may sound harmless and fulfilling enough and you may wonder why I complain. Well, this would be even better if I was eighty years old and retired.

For the first 8-9 months of therapy, I could not see past the trauma from childhood. My gut instinct said that once I start to sweep some of these emotions aside, then perhaps I may well arrive at whatever awaits me in the here and now… and here I am… stuck inside some kind of void, somewhere between the past and the year 2015 and it feels a little scary.

During my last session with Paul, which I wrote about in “Observing the emotion” we talked about the end of my therapy programme and I became incredibly emotional, without really understanding why.

I usually profess not to feel any particular attachment to my therapy programme, so the reason for almost turning into a blubbering wreck have remained an intriguing mystery, until now, two weeks later.

The reason why I became emotional at the prospect of therapy ending was that it forced me into experiencing feelings in the present moment. I had this enormous and overwhelming sense of sadness, of aloneness, and I knew I just couldn’t go back there.

This pleasant and isolated existence has been my sanctuary, but it is not so much a life as it is a symptom of a dreadful past. The person I became is the opposite of who I really am and now I just need to find a way back to me.

PTSD – In Search of the Feelings

At Friday’s group therapy, one of the Therapists said she would like to ask methH941VB95 something about the previous week’s session. I had shared parts of my horrific experience of coming face to face with the psycho-killer from hell.  This is the root of PTSD and Agoraphobia, which I shared in my post, ‘Experiencing Dissociation’.

This was a very public story in its day and my life became an open book in the media. There was no other option but to be open and honest with those closest to me, even about the private and intrusive parts I would rather they didn’t know.

Rather than sympathise with the victim of an extraordinary violent crime, most people thought I was a fool for going home with a stranger in the first place, some openly said, “You were asking for it.” Why would you want to frequent a gay nightclub? Why did you not sense the danger? Why did you not see he’s a psycho? Why did you not realise when he drugged your drink? My Dad, in all his wisdom, said, “You should stay away from people of your own kind.” He meant gays, not psycho killers.

th4ECJ4EQZI nicknamed those ghastly responses the ‘Five D’s’. Disbelief: Disapproval: Disappointment: Devastation and Disgust: It was difficult to testify against my assailant in a High Court trial, but at least the trauma was over in a few days. That’s more than I can say for the cross-examination by condescending peers who would then cast their harsh, holier than thou judgements.

That was over twenty years ago. A short time later, I moved a few hundred miles away, changed my name and, of course, my so-called friends. I never did mention it again, not even to family… until now.

Other than some professionals, people in London don’t know of this secret part of my life and neither do they realise I’ve changed my name. I relocated here under the pretence of “starting afresh” when, in reality, I was running away. Does this mean I’m still running?

I was taking an enormous risk sharing parts of this story at last week’s group therapy. It felt strange to hear myself uttering those familiar words. There was every chance this could bring me face to face with the ‘Five D’s’ all over again, but it didn’t.

Everyone in the room listened intently and supported each word with empathy and, most importantly, non-judgement. They accepted my story as my own pain, rather than a sensational piece of news that somehow seems to affect everyone.

I am not sure where I should go with all of this now. I do recognise this experience as the root of my PTSD and Agoraphobia, but part of my mind thinks it is pointless to go over the same old systematic story without connecting to the feelings.

My detachment watches the reel of film roll out before my eyes and it feels more liketh2FR0ZCWV reading a script for the evening news. Without a doubt, healing partly comes from ‘observing the feelings’…but where the heck are the feelings?