Hi there! I know it's been ages since I've done a personal blog post.
Things have been... weird. I know the whole world has struggled getting used to this new normal and the new measures we have to follow. So many people have lost so much to COVID and my heart breaks for them. And while the virus itself hasn't changed my life very much, this time of lockdowns and self-isolating has been really hard for me too.
When it all first started to change, Steve was taken into hospital with a bunch of different symptoms. COVID wasn't really a thing then, so he wasn't tested for it, but looking back, we're pretty sure that's what it was. While he was in hospital in March, an inspector from the RSPCA came to check on the welfare of our dogs as they'd had a report that Sky, our GSD, was too skinny. She is petite, a slim girl who didn't have a good start in life but is spoilt rotten now, along with our other 2, Bella and Minnie. They had no concerns and said they wouldn't need to follow up, but that whole event broke my heart. How could anyone think we don't care for our dogs?? They are our babies!
Please also remember that, for the past 18+ months, I have been dealing with the stress and trauma of a court case related to a business my ex fiancé had while we were together. (More on that later if I'm allowed to talk about it). I was facing a long trial and a possible prison sentence and, in my eyes, the date the trial was set for in June 2020, was my "expiry date".
Anyway, Steve came home and improved a bit. But then in May, things crumbled again. We had a miscarriage and then soon after, he was back in hospital with various symptoms again. This time it seemed to be his kidneys and he had a biopsy done to check for damage and disease. While he was in hospital, I had to deal with the 10th anniversary of my beloved Mum's death. That hit me really hard. I really struggled around that time. Plus knowing that the day after that would have been my Dad's 7th birthday. He passed away suddenly in December 2019 and sadly, we hadn't even been able to bring his ashes home, due to lack of funds. That was really important to me. I wanted him home for his birthday.
That day. 30th May, Steve came home from hospital and thanks to my wonderful Aunt, we were able to pay the funeral directors and bring Dad home on his birthday. It was bittersweet.
While all that was happening, while Steve was in hospital and I felt very alone, I called the Samaritans because I was scared I was going to return to my self-harming behaviours. I had thoughts of hurting myself and of ending my life. I was advised to self-refer to Lancashire Women to see if there was counselling and support available. At the end of May, I met (socially distanced) with my new case worker for the first time. B is amazing. She's funny, strong, clever and so understanding and positive. She instantly put me at ease. A few days later, I had my first phone call with my new therapist, Alex. She was incredible too. She understood me, made me feel validated, safe and stronger.
Sadly, even this wasn't enough to keep me afloat. The day of my second meeting with my case worker, I orchestrated a suicide attempt. I had always sworn that Steve wouldn't be the one to find me, so I knew it had to be B who did. I took a load of pain killers, said I love you to Steve and walked out the door as if nothing had happened. When B arrived, I was woozy and she could tell something was wrong. She made me tell her what I had done and phoned 999. They advised her to bring me to A&E. I deeply regret putting her in that position but I felt powerless. That was my first time in hospital and on a drip. It was horrible. I felt so ill and even worse was knowing that nothing had changed except that I had upset a lot of people who, I now know, cared deeply about me. At the time, all I could think was that I wanted to go to sleep and maybe wake up when the trial was over. I couldn't face seeing my ex in court, I couldn't relive all of the things he did to me. I didn't feel like I was enough for Steve. For anyone to love. I was weak and useless and a waste of time and space. I recovered with no lasting damage and returned home to try and make things better. Steve was so hurt that I hadn't talked to him. That was the biggest change. We now talk about everything and nothing. All the time. It's great.
I had 12 sessions in total with Alex and she showed me how strong I am, how capable I am of being my own person and choosing my own path. I see things in colour now, not black and white. I learned to value my own thoughts and opinions and that I am worth fighting for. I still see B every week and she has become a complete rock for me. She makes me smile, she makes me fight for things that I deserve and she has taught me to see that I am enough. And I finally believe her. I even got a tattoo "I am enough" to remind myself daily.
I am working hard for a future that I now believe I deserve. I am taking several "virtual" courses through Lancashire Women where I'm learning resilience and other life skills. I am hoping to become a volunteer with them and eventually I hope to be a case worker or support worker, like B is. I have also decided to continue with my distance learning by taking 2 courses simultaneously. I'm studying Children and Young People's Mental Health and also Common Health Conditions (which I'm hoping might give me some insight into Steve's health conditions and allow me to help him more). I'm really enjoying the sense of purpose and being busy.
Steve has an auto-immune disease and is near kidney failure, so we have that to deal with. He isn't well but he's ok. I'll keep fighting for appointments and treatment for him. We'll deal with it together and get through anything life hands us.
Also, I had a phone call this week from my solicitor to inform me that my ex has pleaded guilty to the charges and that the case against me has been dropped! After almost 2 years, the torture of court is over and I'm free! I no longer have that fear of going to prison hanging over my head!! I can't believe it!
So, as the title of this blog says, I'm SHAVING MY HEAD FOR LANCASHIRE WOMEN!!
On Saturday, 24th October 2020, at Witton Park in Blackburn, I am holding a (socially distanced and safe) event where my case worker, B, will shave my head. All money raised will go directly to Lancashire Women. They are an invaluable charity and they help so many women, just like me. I am very well-known for having a mop of thick, curly hair and it will be a huge shock to my system but I'm super excited!
My goal is to raise £1000 and after just one day of fundraising, I'm 10% there. My friends are amazing! I have shared the link below and would appreciate any shares, donations or support of any kind! It really will help save lives!