Been weeks threatening to write another one of these blogs, think this is about number 12 could be 13 fuck knows.
If you’ve read my previous pieces you will know that I was the victim of a violent crime nearly 6 years and early this year I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and my world fell to bits. I believed I was going mental, that I was weak, inferior to everyone around me. I found it hard to open up to anyone about my thoughts; I adopted safety behaviours when I was out in busy places such as pubs. I adopted safety behaviours in a bid to stay safe from the evil in the world. I would avoid going out, leave pubs early, avoid going out in the first place, I sit alone in my flat feeling safe but lonely, depressed and anxious and would have an endless amounts of questions that I wasn’t able to answer. Why do I feel this way? Why after 5 years am I reliving this nightmare? Am I going mental? Will this torment and torture every end?
I was anxious as fuck and depressed as fuck and I didn’t know what to do to stop it or even just control it. Eventually I spoke with my GP and he referred me on to a psychologist and from there I was diagnosed with PTSD. My psychologist Laura told me straight away that I wasn’t going nuts, everything I was telling her was a clear indication of PTSD.
Anyway I don’t want to go over old ground, if you want to read these blogs and read about my battles and how I’ve got back to feeling as positive about life and how I’ve conquered my fears and won my battle let me know.
I’m just writing this blog as I’ve never talked about the actual impact that being a victim of crime has on the individual affected. Your whole world is turned upside down. I was a confident 26 year old male, who loved life and didn’t have much to grumble about. Life was pretty decent, I had previously had my fair share of trauma and grief in my life but I was on top of it and under control of it all and the suddenly one night boom, everything changed.
I lost confidence in myself, society and the world around me, I’m not going to lie, it’s only been the last 2 months or so that I’ve managed to gain this back. I don’t see the world as such an evil place, I don’t feel a failure anymore, I don’t feel weak any more as a result of my attack, I can go to pubs and enjoy myself again, I can socialise and talk to my friends about my thoughts and what I went through. When I look at myself now I realise how lucky I am that I managed to ask for help, this was due to my ex girlfriend who pushed me into going to see my GP and without her doing so I don’t know if I ever would’ve. I don’t know where I would’ve been today if it wasn’t for her. She’ll never ever know how grateful I am.
I am also fortunate that I have an amazing Doctor, he didn’t judge me, took time to listen to me, he squeezed me into his diary when there wasn’t appointments available to see him, he made sure I visited him every couple of weeks until I managed to get my weekly appointments with my psychologists. He didn’t just fire me on drugs; he wanted me to talk about the shit that was chewing away at me.
Talking about my attack and the fears and anxieties that I had have been what has made the road to recovery easier, don’t get me wrong it was hard as fuck to open up but when I did I let it all go. I spoke about things that have bugged me since childhood. My psychologist told me to face my fears, so I did. It was hard work, being on the street at night, busy pubs, back at the football, taking about stuff, going through the cognitive behavioral therapy and reliving it all.
Connecting with people was also a massive part of my recovery, opening up to friends and family, rebuilding relationships from the damage I done trying to keep myself safe. See now, I keep fuck all from anyone, if it’s bugging me or making me feel slightly anxious I talk about it. It’s been amazing how much I’ve learned from doing so, everyone has fears, everyone worries about stuff, what may be illogical to you can scare the shit out of someone else. I’ve also learned skills from my psychologist to learn to cope when I get anxious, to be honest it barely happens now. It’s not happening because I am on top of my fears and connecting with people, I’ve got my self esteem back and that is one of the major causes of depression and anxiety, losing your self esteem. Anyway this is the old ground I talked about earlier.
This blog is about being a victim, a victim eh, what do you think of when you hear that word? Someone weak, Unlucky, Deserved it, Stupid for getting involved? Come on we’ve all got opinion eh? Well know what? Crime, life and fate don’t discriminate, anyone of us can be a victim, and the same as anyone of us can end up a criminal.
You’d think it’s easy, just picking yourself up and getting on with life, “man up, these things happen, chin up eh”. It’s not fucking easy, Me, I’m sound now and at no point have I ever been looking for or wanted sympathy. I just wanted someone to answer all the fucking questions I had, why did this happen to me? Did I deserve it? How could someone do this to me?
It’s only been since about June that I’ve accepted it happened because shit likes this happens every day. I was unlucky, someone done something evil or they just done something pretty stupid, a spur of the moment of madness. I hope it’s the latter. I spent years looking for the answers to my questions, answers that I’ve never found and never will but what I have found is contention.
My psychologist has made me see that it’s the same world that it was before my attack, the same evil was there before just that I was naive to it and after my attack I became more vigilant to it. That’s what happens when you become a victim, you become more vigilant to dangers that you didn’t think of before, and you know it’s there but you don’t ever imagine it will happen to you.
I used to think being a victim of a violent crime would haunt me forever, it would control me, dictate who I was going to be. It’s taken me five years to change my perspective, I’m now in a place where I am proud of what I went through, It’s put me on a path where I’ve managed to help people with depression and anxiety problems. It caused me to have a mental health breakdown but from there I have picked up the pieces and rebuilt relationships with friends and family. I’ve found the real me, I’m becoming a man I never thought I would be. For the first time in about 16 years I am content and proud of who I am, I don’t know if I would be who I am today if it wasn’t for this breakdown as a result of this crime. The biggest thing I’ve learned is not to be judgmental, anyone can make mistakes. Nothing surprises me in this world anymore.
I am now volunteering with Victim Support Scotland, I’m doing this for no other reason than I hope to stop someone making the same mistakes as me, and I also hope that I can use my personal experience to generate awareness of this vital charity and the great work they undertake. I just want to give a bit back in a world that I thought was going to swallow me up. I’ve been told about 5 or 6 times now that my story is inspirational or I’m an inspirational guy, this embarrassed me to begin with but now I hope I am an inspiration to others. I hope the people I visit in doing my voluntary work can see how far I’ve came, I hope they can see that I am there because I want to help them and I’m not there for personal goals or to make myself feel better. I also hope someone reading this maybe takes inspiration and opens up or seeks help. Maybe we should all strive to be inspirations.
I hate how victims are viewed, I hate how the whole way through your ordeal you are processed by the police, the courts, you feel judged at every corner, and you just become a statistic. No one understands what you are going through or what you are feeling, I won’t understand either, even with my insight from personal experience. Each individual will react differently to the crime and the trauma they have went through.
I don’t know what the point of this blog is, I guess I’m just asking for everyone to be a bit more compassionate to the people around you, bit less judgmental. Crime will have an impact on everyone at some point. You aren’t weak because you’re the victim.
I honestly believe I’ve went through everything that I have so that I would end up on this path, I’ve never mean as passionate about anything as I am about my volunteering and about how crime affects the individual. The shit I’ve went through has taught me so much and that’s how you should view your battles. It might be on top of you just now but one day you can use it as a positive. Your anxieties and depression might be on top of you just now but it’s controllable and beatable. You just need to get help and speak out, connect with people, don’t beat yourself up, you need to beat those anxious voices and control them with your common sense voices. Challenge and control your body, thoughts and actions.
Anyway not sure I’ve many blogs left in me, not got much left to say, I just want people to read them and take hope and some kind of comfort and belief from them. Trust me I was so low 5 months ago when I started my treatment. Recovery is possible and there is light at the end of that long dark tunnel.
Dig in and keep on keeping on.