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I think it’s safe to say the last 24 hours have been a learning curve.

I woke up in the early hours of Saturday and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was thinking hard about what went wrong between myself and my ex. Whether or not a healthy view to take: I was wondering why we could have had something amazing but the reality was poisonous. I was considering the part I played in our conflicts…

  • The times I let my anger get the better of me and shouted instead of speaking to him in a calm tone of voice.
  • Whether or not I just assumed it was safer not to express a view contradicting his and kept my mouth shut.
  • When I just squashed down my own take on things and just let him rattle on, only to explode later on.
  • Should I have tried harder to make myself heard or simply to have walked away sooner?

It’s difficult when you feel you could have a future together. Even if you know you’d have to work hard at it. I was sure we were strong enough to make the effort to change for the better. It feels like a failure, knowing how badly it turned out.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do not – AND WILL NEVER – believe I deserved the beatings he gave me. Nobody should have to tolerate physical violence (or any other kind of abuse) from their partner, regardless of their gender or orientation. Neither do I take the narrow (and completely incorrect) view that men are the big bad perpetrators and women the poor victims. I believe that people have the capability for good and bad and are masters of their own destiny.

Having found relationships and holding a job down difficult in the past, I’ve begun to question my doctor’s diagnosis of Anxiety and Depression. I know other people with the condition who are able to work and function in relationships. While I don’t think it helpful to apportion blame, I do think I need to come to some conclusions in order to move on. If I choose to enter another relationship in the future (something I have not yet decided I’m open to) I want to make sure I understand myself and what I can do to stay safe.

I believe I have probably suffered from some kind of mental health problem from when I was a child…Though was first given a formal diagnosis aged 27. During this consultation, I discovered I was in fact diagnosed with Manic Depression when I was 18, following an episode which saw me spend several days in hospital following an overdose of pills. There was no follow up to this as I moved away a few weeks later and did not let the hospital know my whereabouts. Over the years to come, I encountered further problems but just put them down to life and kept going. Towards the end of my 20s, the episodes became more prolonged and there were times where I was unable to work. I was referred for psychotherapy, which I found invasive and painful. Following this, I attended a course of CBT. The counsellor was an extremely patient, laid back man. He was emphatic and easy to talk to, traits you’d think necessary in anyone involved in mental health services. Sadly the CBT fell by the wayside post-counselling. I found it difficult to remember to apply the principles to everyday life as time went by, and the episodes began to creep back in.

Aged 30, I was prescribed my first course of SSIs. I never wanted to go down the road of antidepressants, but at the time my thoughts were “Whatever helps” I began a 3 year merry-go-round of starting to take medication, coming off it when I thought the time was right and becoming depressed again. Perhaps I wasn’t capable of the responsible approach required to commit to taking antidepressants. Once I was on them, my only thoughts were when I could come off them and lead a “normal” life. Even though I hate the word normal and its narrow definition, I honestly believe I placed stigma on myself for needing medication.

Following my ex’s assault, I went to my GP with concerns about my mental health. I was referred to a fantastic person-centred counsellor and continue to attend weekly sessions. I feel they are helping with my recovery and that I’m gaining insight into how to change for the better.

Alongside this, I am looking ahead to next month. My appointment with the clinical psychologist should determine if I have a personality disorder. I feel that I fit the profile for Borderline P.D, as covered in my initial entry. After wading through the plethora of information available online (not all of it helpful, it has to be said) I found the NHS webpage to be impartial. Please see the link below for further information –

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

It is important to reiterate that I haven’t yet been diagnosed. I’m ready to face up to the truth though. Not to mention more than willing to admit that my mental health problems/behaviour in light of these contributed to the decline of my relationship.

I also started to look through articles relating to childhood abuse contributing to violence in later life, as per my second post. Further to this, I’ve learned that sites like A Voice For Men are not the place to find unbiased information on sensitive subjects. While I did find some eye-opening statistics on perpetrators of child abuse (Which I duly read and took the information they contained on board) I also found I was eyed with suspicion over my motives for posting. And more worryingly, judged for seeking justice for my partner’s actions against me. Whilst I’m made of fairly strong stuff and my skin seems to be thickening by the week, I do not see any sense in visiting the site in the future. It is not my aim to antagonise others through the beliefs and opinions they hold dear. Nor is finding myself “cut down to size” for finding the strength to report my abusive ex partner to the police and his finding himself prosecuted as a result. It was an incredibly difficult decision but I do not regret making it. When we were together, he described a horrendously troubled past as a child and adult. He certainly did not deserve to be brought up in a violent home. I will always feel sorry the violence he witnessed as a boy and how powerless he felt against it. However, he made the decision to assault me and I dealt with the situation through the law. I make no apology for taking action to protect myself now and never will. I don’t see the research I am doing as negative, or dwelling on a past which cannot be changed. I merely feel I need to be looking for more objective sources of information.

My view is that opinions are much like rear ends…We all have one, but not everyone’s is fit to be viewed in public. This comment is not aimed at any one of the good people of A.V.F.M, and is merely something I have observed during my time on this planet….

The best way of dealing with a traumatic past is to make sure the future is brighter. We can only live in the present however. We do all have the choice to not allow bad experiences to haunt us forever. Our freedom to choose is irrevocable and one of our greatest powers in this life.

When I am strong enough, I wish to retrain and find work (paid or on a voluntary basis) helping survivors of Domestic Violence. Note I use the word survivors…Because that’s what we are. We have a responsibility to ourselves…Gain strength and stay safe. And personally, I feel a responsibility to try helping others in the future. Regardless of their gender.

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