6 Years Ago: Witness Support and Self-Medication.

I’ve not written for a while as I’ve been busy making changes to my life that I hope will meet my needs for meaningful activity, stimulation and connection whilst also creating the necessary conditions for me to thrive; solitude, routine, relaxation and exercise. Despite being busy with these things it’s not escaped me that six years ago I was facing a very frightening and challenging situation. A situation that changed my life forever.

After nearly four years of investigation and process my former teacher was finally facing charges for historic sexual abuse at Crown Court. The date was set and the day was fast approaching where I’d be required to give evidence, and with it, the verdict. There would be resolution and closure one way or another. I was frightened about how I’d react if he was found not guilty, I was genuinely concerned about how I’d cope with such disappointment after all the time and energy taken to get to this point, and all the promises made and changes longed for.

It was daunting, the most daunting experience I’d ever faced. I continued to be heroin dependant as I didn’t want to cause any emotional upheaval prior to and during the trial. I had however, promised myself that if I were fortunate enough to get a guilty verdict that it would be the catalyst for change and I would sort myself out. I promised myself and my mum in prayer.

Thursday 6th November 2014

Visited the family grave at Monkleigh Church on Tuesday and took some flowers, it would’ve been mum and dads 60th wedding anniversary on the 5th November. It’s also the anniversary of John’s death (brother) on the 11th which is now the day that I’ll be giving evidence, so that’s a funny twist of fate, now I feel sure that my mum and other spirit guides will be with me, helping me along the way.

I visited Crown Court yesterday and now I know where everything will be. (draws a little sketch of the court layout) I spoke to my witness support person Bob who was really funny and nice, he helped me feel at ese in the setting and laugh a bit which I didn’t expect. D the policewoman said he’d been a policeman for thirty years before doing this job.

We discussed the special measures screen and seems best to keep it up as the Jury can see him and his reactions, they can also see me and my reactions etc so that’s all that matters, he doesn’t need to see me and I don’t want to see him. I need to give the best evidence as possible.

They said I’ll most likely be questioned for about 40-50 minutes and they shouldn’t bully me as it could risk alienating the Jury. They said to take time to answer, to think carefully before speaking, to make sure I’m expressing things fully and clearly. If I feel I’ve not explained something properly then I must say so…’you’re asking me to explain such and such..to explain fully I need to explain how this happened..is that ok?’ type thing. Just be calm and considered, be open and honest, that’s all I can do.

I think I’m one of four victims but I’m not sure, I can’t know anything in case it impacts case somehow and forces retrial or something. I’ve just got to give my part of the puzzle and hope the Jury can put all the pieces together. They said it’s best that I don’t watch the trial or any friends either for this reason, I couldn’t cope with it anyway, it would be too much.

I watched my video statements which the policewoman said were really open and honest and that I come across well, it’s hard for me to know because I know it’s the truth. I just see myself feeling awkward and embarrassed and there’s so much that’s not said too like how often these things happened but I guess I’ll speak about that in court.

I first completed video statement in May 2011 after I wrote to local authority with concerns and they told me to contact the police if I wanted to report. I did this and then the first video statement was recorded. The second lot of video statements were taken in September 2013. Any questions I have I must raise with the prosecution Barrister.

Full moon phase starts tomorrow, a time to expect results! I’ve been drawn to the moon quite intensely lately, the moon angels are with me, illuminating my way whenever I get lost in the shadows. When we drove back last night it was all under moonlight, it was so lovely.

Been reading a magazine article about Samhain, a time to honour ancestors and lost loved ones. All Hallows Eve is a time when our worlds cross over, easier to cross between realms and reach back to our ancestor spirits. I like that idea, like the ambrosial hours, a time to be closer to those loved and lost. I’ve been exploring ancestry links a bit recently, especially after Ruby and I stayed in Cornwall close to where my grew up, it made me think about all that stuff, it’s frustrating only knowing one side of family tree, I feel like I’m wonky and missing one side of things. It’ll all make sense in the end, perhaps!

I don’t know what would be the best way to cope with such an experience as we’re all unique and I must stress these are my experiences not a guide by which to live by! You might say this is an example of me not coping, but I did survive it. I’m painfully aware how close I came to death though, a few times. When my trauma first erupted I sought help from mental health services. I asked for something to lessen the intensity of what I was feeling, I tried to explain my distress but it wasn’t taken seriously and I was told no help would be offered until I stopped using cannabis.

This was a ridiculous suggestion at that stage as it was the only thing helping to keep the emotions stifled, and it wasn’t always effective, I wanted something for my emotional pain, I got rejection and misunderstanding. Sometimes drugs are the problem, for some though they are the solution in the short-term. I wanted short-term pain relief so I could deal with the roots of my pain, something I couldn’t do with full feeling in the early days of trauma return. I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again, I chose heroin as an alternative to suicide and I’m glad I did. I now realise I didn’t want to die, I just didn’t want to continue feeling that way.

Imagine if things were different, if someone said you’re dealing with the return of repressed trauma and associated ptsd symptoms, I can see you’re in pain. I can prescribe something short-term for this to give you space to relax and process some of your emotional experiences, here is a small prescription of methadone, this can help hold you during this explosive period, it will assist with anxiety, depression and intense emotional pain, it will help with the sleep issues and you can start working with a therapist/worker to explore the underlying issues when stable, how does that sound?

I’d of agreed to that in an instant and it would’ve potentially stopped me injecting heroin and nearly dying from pneumonia and sepsis, it could prevented my involvement with heavy, chaotic drug users, it could’ve supported me to stay in employment, it would certainly have helped in reducing the shame attached to my feelings of hopelessness. I guess it’s rather idealistic but it’s humane and compassionate, it’s better than forcing people to self-medicate, which they will, and having to enter a world of risk and harm by doing so, where they may be labelled as criminals just for trying to survive, where’s the sense in that?

I’m aware this approach could be exploited and would require all sorts of standards to police safe prescribing and ensure it wasn’t being abused but so do current substitute prescribing systems which are just as open to such risks. I’ve now been opiate free for approximately five years and continue to work on the underlying issues of trauma, it will be a life long endeavour but I’ll never forget what started the journey, and it was my dependence on opiates; a choice to survive and hopefully grow. It was a necessary part of my healing and I have no regrets. The challenge is knowing when it’s served it’s purpose and it’s time to move on and consolidate the lessons.

Thanks for stopping by, if you’d like to support my creative work and the continuation of this blog please contribute using the button below, all support is much appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s