a blog about not blogging about Max Clifford

I tweeted late last night that I wouldn’t be blogging about Max Clifford.

And yet, here I am, 24 hours later writing a blog about … Max Clifford.

Why? Well …

Yesterday I was quite busy. I had a morning meeting for work, then met some people for lunch and then ended up at some more lovely peoples house for a cuppa which led to tea and evening chatter. I didn’t check my twitter all day. I know, I know. It didn’t seem to be working in the morning anyway, and then I just actually didn’t have time.

So it was not until I got home fairly late last night that I found quite a few messages sent to me about the Max Clifford verdict. And some were asking for my response. My thoughts. If I was going to be writing anything about it, and how I felt about it.

I was largely disconnected from ‘online’ life yesterday – but because I was expecting an important call I was checking my phone a fair amount so as soon as the guilty verdicts were announced and BBC Breaking News flashed it up on my phone, I knew about it, as did the people I was with because it went straight to their phones too.

So I was aware. And yes, I was relieved. Because for months, time after time we have seen high profile cases going to court and a constant barrage of ‘not guilty’ which then leads to horrific victim blaming. I still don’t have any faith in our current legal system with regards to how it supports and seeks justice for people who have survived abuse. So, yes I was relieved to feel that maybe hopefully I wouldn’t need to spend the next day or two defending women and men who have been abused who are being called the most awful things because a ‘not guilty’ verdict apparently = innocence of the perpetrator (which I don’t believe). A not guilty verdict does not = innocence – it often simply equals that some technicality has meant they got off. Or ‘not enough evidence’ (do you know how hard it is to provide ‘ENOUGH’ evidence to a court of abuse/sexual abuse/rape?!).

Anyway – back to why I’m writing a blog about not writing a blog …

I was really honoured, moved and felt valued that people were messaging me and asking for my thoughts. That they felt my voice was and is important enough to be heard, and that they genuinely wanted to hear it. I was really honoured that people remember my initial writings in the immediate aftermath of the Savile expose and that I had written one or two blogs that got incredibly wide readership. I’m honoured that they felt they could contact me, to ask for a response in the context of Max Clifford being found guilty being the first conviction since the set up of Yewtree, and the investigations taking place post Savile.

I responded to people as personally as I could explaining that I didn’t intend on blogging/writing or particularly engaging with the conversations taking place especially on twitter. I didn’t feel I needed to give an explanation.

And yet they felt I should have. Given an explanation. So today, whilst I have been largely away from my phone (again, shock horror it isn’t actually tied to my neck) and whilst I have been busy working and doing stuff I got quite a few more messages back.

A few of them have accused me of being silenced. A few of them have accused me of not using the voice I’ve been given. A few of them have accused me of distancing myself and not continuing to represent women affected by abuse. And a few of them seem to feel that I have let someone/something/some people down? I’m not quite sure why or how but that would be the theme coming from one or two messages – simply because I have said I am not able to engage with this topic in the depth that they were expecting/wanted.

And this is why –

I had a really bad weekend. A really really bad weekend. Friday night I found myself having a flashback which totally takes me off track for a bit and sends my mind into a whirl. So it has been a tough few days. And yesterday I found myself spending some time with some great people, thinking about some upcoming stuff and then time with some more great people just chatting/sharing etc. I was hugely impacted by some of the conversations. And challenged by some too. So driving home before I saw all these messages I was thinking about my identity. And my identity online. And the fact that actually, before Christmas I made the conscious decision to stop writing under the pseudonym I had adopted and written many things using. I decided to become ‘Helen’ online and offline. And learn how to be vulnerable offline too instead. Any many things spurred that. But I remember in the midst of the many things that were spurring this change, was someone phone me, who  I love, trust and respect a lot and asking me if I had considered whether I was becoming defined by the identity I had created/was creating – and was I becoming defined by being a survivor. And it was quite a ‘moment’ because up until that point that was all I believed I was. I was nothing else. I had nothing else. But they spoke into my life and made me realise I am MORE than a survivor. Being a survivor is part of my story. Its not it all. Being a survivor is part of who I am. But it is not the whole of me. There is more to be than abuse. Rape. Suicide. Depression. All the things I consistently wrote about as ‘fragz’. I am more than those things. And so for a while I stopped writing about those things. I spent time moving forwards and actually it coincided with being pretty sick most of the time and not really writing much about anything anyway. But over the last few months I’ve began to re engage with all the things I am passionate about I’m passionate about seeing women treated as equals in society, passionate about speaking out against violence against women, and raising issues of abuse and rape. I’m also starting to write again more of my journey, my story and the current journey I am on. I love writing. And I will continue to do as and when its right.

BUT in all of that I’m also starting and learning to self care a bit more. And I am also learning and starting to learn that actually whilst I am beginning to recognise I do have a voice, and would love to work on using that more proactively in the future years that actually there are just times when its ‘right’ to not have anything to say. That sometimes self care is important. That whilst my voice is valued by the people contacting me to hear it, that actually I have the power to say ‘NO’ , and not feel I ‘have to’ tweet/write about something and that actually that is OK.

Its not that I DONT have anything to say – its just that I am choosing not to throw myself in at the deep end and engage on a personal level every single time there is a case in the media, or a high profile celebrity has been found not guilty/ or guilty as is the case this week or a particular theme trending. Don’t get me wrong – I do engage ALOT of the time, but just sometimes its right to back off.

One of the things I am learning on my journey especially with social media is how to pick your battles wisely, and that is so true in terms of disagreements but actually also true on many levels in terms of what we choose to engage with.

I choose not to read articles by certain people/groups on particular topics late at night now. I choose not to follow certain people who often tweet things I find quite difficult to see in my timeline. I choose to attempt to look after myself better.

And that goes for this week. That goes for why I am not engaging specifically with the Max Clifford conversations. Its why I am not sat reading tweets with the hashtag of his name. Its why I tweeted just a couple of tweets last night and intended not to think about it again this week. Because just this week, I don’t need it. I don’t need to be constantly thinking about abuse. I don’t need to be constantly thinking about how poorly treated victims of sexual assault are treated and how society as a whole blames the victims more than the perpetrators. I actually just don’t need it. And so I’m choosing not to be as proactively outspoken this week as I sometimes have been in the past. And how I sometimes am generally. And I’m sure, maybe even in a day or two something will come up I feel strongly about and will want to discuss, tweet, write about etc. But please don’t attack for me for what I choose to or to not be involved with.

I’m thankful some people contacting me have been able to respect that, and hope the ones who don’t seem to read this and perhaps understand slightly more.

 

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Easter, flashbacks and my cardboard testimony.

Last weekend, Easter weekend was really powerful. Really really powerful. Ive never experienced an Easter quite like it, in terms of reflecting on the whole story of Christ. Of Jesus dying on a bit of wood. Of the in-between time of confusion and mourning, and then the celebration of the fact that He rose again, and is still alive. It was immense. And I was struck by several things – things that I need to process more, need to think about more, need to explore more and will eventually attempt to write about more.

The first thing was about the ‘in-between’ time. The time after Jesus died, and before He rose again. And how that must have felt for the people who followed Him. Who loved Him. Who wept at His feet as He cried out in pain. I can’t imagine how it must have felt for them to have no hope – not knowing that He would rise a few days later, and even if they had known, did they really believe He would? For the miracle maker himself was dead. D E A D. What did having no hope mean and feel to them then. And what does having ‘no hope’ mean and feel now to people who have absolutely no hope. And I remembered the months and years I’ve lived before without hope. Not ever knowing or believing that it could change.

The second thing, was on Easter Day – where, as Christians we celebrate the fact that Jesus didn’t stay dead. That He rose again. And it was an amazing service to be in – especially having journeyed from Good Friday through to the Sunday. As part of the talk that morning we watched something on screen. I found it quite difficult at times actually. Because it showed short clips of Jesus going to the cross. Being whipped. And several times I found myself flinching. Because this year it is so much more personal. Has been so much more personal to me. And as someone severely physically abused as a teenager by my drug addicted brother, every time I watched on the screen I couldn’t help but react. Knowing the pain. The agony. The torture. But then as the story continued, and followed through, and we saw Jesus, having died, rise again I was totally overwhelmed and consumed by the wounds. His wounds. The wounds on his body, but more importantly the ones in His hands. The wounds where the nails were driven in. For the first time in my life I noticed/realised/thought about the fact that when Jesus rose, and He showed himself to the disciples that He also showed them His wounds. Not once, but twice. The scars of Good Friday are present on Easter Sunday and beyond. Why? Surely He could have come back without scars, to show a picture of wholeness, restoration, victory over darkness and complete healing? But then is that really what wholeness, restoration, and healing look like? I don’t think so – its not about ‘erasing’ the scars is it? Because they will always be there. My scars will always be with me. As His were and are. But Jesus was not defined by them … He was not held back by them. They didn’t hold Him captive. A Pastor once told me if I was really a Christian then I would not remember my past. My childhood. It would all be erased. I’ve always known this guy was a misguided dickhead. But it hit me last weekend JUST HOW WRONG HE WAS. I am never going to ‘just forget’. But Jesus didn’t either? He didn’t ‘just forget’ his crucifixion. He didn’t just erase the pain. The wounds.

Anyway, those were the two main themes for my thinking over Easter. And then Monday came, and I got thrown back into work, and prepping for a big interview I had on Thursday. I had little time to reflect much more on it. It was a crazy week. And then we got to the end of the week.

I downed tools, finished work for the week, exhaled and went ‘aaah’. I was looking forwards to a weekend of writing, chilling, and church. And yet what I got, out of the blue that evening was a flashback. Not something I have very often but when I do it totally off centres me. If you don’t know what a flashback is, google it. I can’t adequately explain it here apart from saying that they are the most disturbing moments of life – when you are reliving a past event/trauma as if it actually happening again. And you are so totally in that moment that you can’t do anything to take yourself out of it. And when you come out of it, for me anyway, you are left with a real sense of what ever you have experienced in that flashback having JUST happened. So for me I come out of it feeling like I have just been re-violated. And it takes days and weeks to get back to some sort of sense of normality. They totally cut into life. The last one I had before this one was at the beginning of last Nov. In a church service. In the one place I was starting to feel safe in. And the mind does funny things to you, so not only did I come out of my flashback in church feeling a real sense of having been violated, my mind was also connecting what had happened in my flashback with where I was standing. Church. Connecting the two. I have to say that night was one of the darkest experiences in the whole flashback/nightmares/recovering from trauma stuff I’ve had. But I managed to move on from it, move forwards, and continue the crazy journey I seem to be on with God at the moment – with the help of some exceptional people who have been put in my path without whom I would have definitely derailed totally by now.

So this weekend has been tough. I’ve felt shaky, mentally. Because it feels like I’ve been side swiped. For the Good Friday service I was asked to take part in the cardboard testimonies they were going to be doing. I was really apprehensive about this but oddly had been asked to participate in another cardboard testimony event happening at something I was at the week before. So I did. I created my cardboard testimony, and firstly did it, with others in a room of about 500 young people I didn’t know. And then, most importantly on the Friday night, in my church. The church I rocked up at almost 11 months ago now (!) and never left. The church that I rocked up at and proceeded to cry in every single service I attended for the first 9 months. The church I rocked up at and never made it through an entire service for the first 4/5 months. The church which I have made myself so incredibly vulnerable to, like never before, anywhere. Ever.

And it was important to me to stand before ‘the church’ (well those at that service) and show them my story in brief words because until then just an incredibly small handful of people knew. Because people knowing, offline, face to face, people I see who are loving me and who I am starting to love back is different to writing online. I find writing, blogging, tweeting so much easier than looking into someones eyes and knowing they know who I am. My story. Where I’ve been. One day I hope to share it with them more fully.

So it was important to hold up my cardboard testimony and tell them who I am. But also to tell them and to claim what is happening. What God has been doing over the last year. AND what He is continuing to do. Because God IS working in my life. I AM moving forwards. I am changing. Being changed. But its painful. And slow. As someone suggested today, maybe slower than I want? BUT I have to remember and hold on to the fact that what I held up last week is truth.

And I’ve been really reminded of that today. Today, the day where I walked into church and then walked right back out again because it was too full and I burst in to tears before I even got sat down. I’m reminded of my cardboard testimony today, the day where when I finally did make it in to the church I had a panic attack because during the ‘meet and greet’ sesh which doesn’t happen every week I sat with my head down but a woman sat behind me who was visiting put her hands on my shoulders and told me God had given her a bible verse. A bible verse that is really important to me at the moment. One of the few that I’m clinging on to when it gets tough. One that, when she spoke it, broke me. But because I was feeling already nervy, jumpy and shaky, the fact that this woman I didn’t know had laid her hands on me sent me into full meltdown mode. Most of the time I can tolerate touch. I’m moving forwards with it. I don’t have such an issues with hugs, and greetings as I did before and actually there are some people, that I’m trusting that I’m totally fine with, but this morning was not a good day for anyone to try it. Full stop. Because I was so nervy anyway. Any other time I’d have been fine. just not today.

So, anyway, I’ve been reminded of my cardboard testimony, that I held up, just last week. And despite this weekend and how tough it has been I’m holding on to the words that I proclaimed by holding up the piece of card, stating my story but claiming what my rational mind knows is truth.

So this is is – my cardboard testimony – and being restored and made whole again is the journey I’m on.

BlgjgHHIUAA71Kn                 BlgjqJ8IUAESZwl

Easter poem

A baby sent. A life lived. A miracle maker. Grace giver. Leader. Gatherer of people. Lover of the lowly.

Mocked. Nails in hands. Raised up on wood. A crown of thorns. Blood. Pain. Agony. Death.

Waiting. Tears. Questioning. Silence. Stillness. Confusion. Wondering. Darkness. Mourning.

Shaking ground. Rolled away stone. Light bursting. Hope.
Breakthrough. Death defeated.
Risen. Alive.

#WhyIdidntreport

I see the one of the hashtags on twitter today has been #WhyIdidntreport – incredibly important and painful to read. There is so many myths surrounding why people do not report their abuse and that if you report it later on you’re lying. That’s crap. There are so many reasons as to why people are unable to immediately report. For me, as a child/teenager it simply reporting the abuse I was suffering at the hands of the one man who was supposed to protect us was simply not an option. Here is a poem of sorts I wrote a few years ago when the #Ididnotreport hashtag was used –

#ididnotreport

#ididnotreport because who would have heard?
#ididnotreport because who would believe?
#ididnotreport because i could not utter a single word …
#ididnotreport because it meant more punishment i’d receive.

#ididnotreport as I got older, for what would be the reason?
#ididnotreport as things moved on, but the memories remain,
#ididnotreport as years went by, and life moved into a new season,
#ididnotreport as i always felt i deserved the pain.

#ididnotreport because i had nothing left worth trying to save
#ididnotreport because nothing mattered to me any more
#ididnotreport because i could never be that brave
#ididnotreport because even when i tried, someone always closed that door.

#ididnotreport for it had all gone plus more
#ididnotreport for everything i had left was taken
#ididnotreport for I had been shaken to the very core,
#ididnotreport for my whole life had been broken.

#ididnotreport but sometimes I wish I had.

‘Not guilty’ does not = innocence.

I’ve been writing this blog in my head all day. And I’ve read some really articulate articles and thoughts from some very highly intelligent people who use big words and who speak sense, and I admire them. I’m not highly intelligent and I don’t pretend to be. And so I wondered if I should even attempt to put my thoughts down in words on this topic. But I’ve nothing to lose, so here goes.

On Thursday night, for the first time I think since I’ve been online I had to log myself out in an effort to take care of myself. Not because I was in any physical harm, but because my head was about to explode with some of the stupid comments I was reading about a particular high profile sexual abuse case that has been in the media this week. The one where he was found not guilty. Another not guilty.

I’ve gotten into many conversations online with people over the last year when several of these cases have been played out in the media, because there have been a few, and I’m sure there will be more to come. But on Thursday night, I was so close to wanting to bang my head up a brick wall, and swear, and get angry with people that I logged out, took a deep breath and carried on my life, because I am better than that. I am better than being reduced down to swearing at people because they frustrate me.

So, having had a day or two to think about it here I am, attempting to write some of my thoughts, on these high profile cases, and the current ‘justice’ system when it comes to sexual abuse and rape. I say ‘justice’ in inverted comments, because actually I do not have any faith in the current ‘justice’ system that exists in this country, for people like me, survivors of sexual abuse and rape.

And I do not believe that a not guilty verdict = innocence.

It simply means that not enough evidence was gathered to prove beyond all doubt 100 % that there is guilt.

Not guilty does not = innocence.

People don’t like that. People don’t like me saying that and people argue back at me. Thats fine.

But all I know is this – that taking a case of sexual abuse or rape to court is one of the most incredibly toughest thing to do.

Which is why we see such a low rate of prosecutions in this area.

Which is why see people reporting but choosing not to proceed further with their case to the courts.

Which is why we see a staggering amount of people, victims of sexual abuse and/or rape not reporting at all.

Because what is the point?

What would it be for? To be dragged through a process where at every step of the way, they set out to undermine you and your character, your history and your life. Where at every step of the way you have to justify and account for what you were doing/where you were/why you were there/what you were wearing/whether you’re screamed or not.

Where every step of the way you are admonished for not ‘reporting sooner’ or are asked ‘why did you wait’ or told ‘your a liar’.

Where every step of the way everything you once were and still are is hauled through, picked and pulled to pieces.

To be hounded when an inevitable ‘not guilty’ verdict is returned against them because in the pressure of being quizzed and having your entire world exposed in front of a court room and jury you stuttered, or stumbled on the exact time or date, or because for a moment your mind goes blank because the trauma of what your having to relive sends your brain into a meltdown.

What exactly is the point, of people like me reporting and trying to take my abusers to court for their crimes?

The justice system and way it works is not one that works for us. For survivors. It favours the perpetrator every step of the way.

Which is why we see, for example 1 in 4 women being raped every year in the UK, and yet the statistics of these cases going to court being shockingly low.

And its why we see people like Frances Andrade committing suicide days after giving evidence in court, because she felt as if she had been violated all over again, saying to the jury ‘this feels like rape all over again’.

I don’t know if that statement means much to you – or not, but as someone who knows the feelings of re violation in different ways, I strongly identify with the pain she must have been in to say that.

Every now and then I come into contact with someone, a professional where I have to disclose my abuse. Most recently last year. And when you disclose to them about the abuse you suffered as a child, at the hands of a man in your life who was supposed to protect you they ask ‘have you ever reported it/do you want to report it/have you ever thought about taking it to court’?

A good question, and I know they have to ask. And yes I’ve thought about it. Many a times. And only ever seriously thought about it once, when a very close friend, who despite distance managed to support me through the most painful times of life suggested it as a possibility and offered to hold my hand through the entire process. I appreciate their support.

But why would I do that?

What for?

For all of above? For my evidence to not be strong enough to proof without doubt he is guilty to have a ‘guilty’ verdict returned. My word against his. I’d be torn to pieces.

No thanks.

I read something this morning that suggested that the jury in the most recent public case, where a non guilty verdict was returned just a few days ago were most likely swayed by the ‘why didn’t they report it immediately’ argument.

If you are going to use that to make your point, you have absolutely no idea of the impact and the trauma that being sexually abused/violated has on you, your life, and your mind. The mind being the most crucial as something you have absolutely no control over. I have no control over when my brain is going to freeze, or go into melt down, or flashback, or give me nightmares in my sleep. A regular occurrence.

If you use the ‘why didn’t they report’ is sooner argument then you have absolutely no idea of the fear, hatred against yourself, and shame, plus many many other feelings a survivor feels about themselves. You have no idea.

People do not report immediately for many reasons. That is not because they are lying.

Until the system is changed, until the processes that are currently in place change and until changes are made in the training and understanding of sexual crimes so at the very first point of contact a survivor is believed as opposed to the default position being they are lying is changed, then we will continue seeing not guilty after after not guilty in both high profile cases and non high profile ones.

I truly admire anyone who chooses to go down the path of prosecution against their perpetrators in the vain hope they find justice.

I’m sorry it lets you down. Time after time. After time.

I believe you.

#ibelieveyou #ibelievethem #ibelievehim #ibelieverher

 

6 years on from an overdose …

Today is the 11th of April 2014 and it is a really significant date for me – why? Because, on the 11th of April 2008 I took an overdose. An overdose that was not a ‘cry for help’. An overdose that was fully intended to make me sleep, and never wake up. Ever. Again.

Sometimes I can really accurately describe the feelings of darkness and desperation that had consumed life and overwhelmed my mind. And some days I can’t. Sometimes I can write down, talk through or speak out the thoughts that were running through my head in the time leading up to that day, the heavy heart and the pain I was in, but sometimes I can’t, like tonight – I simply cannot find the words that could adequately express just how bad it was. I’m not sure there are any.

My mind, and my body, battered and bruised from years and years of heartache and trauma could not take any more.

I remember it very clearly. I remember leaving my flat and walking to the bridge just around the corner. And I sat on the bench by the phone box for a few hours. Eating pills. One box after another. I had several bottles of spirits which I drank until I started to feel whoozy. And I walked from that place, the 3 minutes it took to get home saying sorry to God. For being a failure. For being a coward. For being a screw up. For being a mess. For being this wreck of a person who could only see one way out.

I was really really angry with God. Because I blamed Him. Because I was being told that God is good, and would do nothing to cause harm to His children. And that He ordains all things to happen so good can come of them. And I was angry, because my head was telling me this meant that God had orchestrated the abuse. He had orchestrated the violence. And the rape. So ‘good could come of it’. And that was not a God I wanted anything to do with. My favourite name for Him at that time was ‘sadistic nazi bastard’. Something I screamed at Him time after time. But yet, still, as I walked back to my flat, at the same time as my anger with Him was a deep sense of having gotten something really very wrong when it came to God and understanding Him. So as I walked that walk home, I said sorry, sorry for what I was about to do, sorry for not being brave enough to let my mum know, sorry for … everything. Because I was to blame too.

And so, I got home, and smoked. Ate more pills. Drank more vodka. And whiskey. And ate more pills. Until I needed to lie down. And then I just kept eating them – until I slept.

And I slept.

Until I woke up. In hospital. And how that happened is a whole other story in itself – but had it not been for the person who just happened to be passing my house (they usually drove a different route home) and thought to check on me I would not be writing this blog now.

So that was it – 11th April 2008 – 6 years ago.

The last few years I’ve been able to recognise this date, and celebrate ‘being alive’.  And its always emotional because for the first few years after not dying I was devastated. I was angry with myself, and the feelings of failure I was already feeling were even more intense than before, because I could not even manage to kill myself properly. And I was still alive. And I didn’t want to be.

But for the last few years, especially the last 3, the last 3 times I’ve seen the 11th of April come around its been a different story.

As the 11th of April has come along, it has become a time of celebration. A day of celebrating ‘being alive’. And being glad to be alive.

The most important words – being glad to be.

Because there were times when I was alive, just, breathing, just but I was not happy about it. But now I’m breathing, alive, and glad!

And as the calander years pass over and I mark this day, a sense of gladness and thankfulness is the running theme.

Because I am glad to be alive. I’m truly thankful to still be here.

This afternoon, after I finished work I drove back to the bridge (I live somewhere else now) and sat there for an hour, listening to music, watching the water, and the life pass by. And remembering that day, 6 years ago. But also remembering some of the events of the last 6 years too. Some of the life giving moments that have given me hope. Life giving people that arrived in my life, shortly after, who, despite distance have kept me going. And people who, like my housemate and best friend have seen me through.

As I sat tonight by the bridge, I realised why today, this year, this 6 year mark is so much different than any other year. Why it feels so much more emotional than ever before. And my memory went back to last year, October the 31st, when I had the most serious asthma attack my body has had to cope with (I was only diagnosed with asthma about 2 years ago, but its been pretty dramatic since). On the 31st of October, as they were talking about moving me to intensive care, and ventilating me, I was overcome with the seriousness of the situation. I was getting tired. My oxygen levels were continuing to worsen, and my heart rate continuing to increase because of the drugs they were giving me. I was told by the Consultant I was in a dangerous place.

I needed someone to pray with but I didn’t know who to call to ask to come from my church, I had not been there that long, and if they even could because I live a good 1/2 hour away from it. So I texted a friend who also happens to be a priest. Not expecting him to be free at all, but he turned up, 10 minutes later. And as I cried, and he prayed I realised that possibly death was closer than I wanted it to be. I had spent years dreaming of how to kill myself, and living with suicidal thoughts, but a few years later having moved on from those thoughts of wanting to die here I was close to dying BUT I didn’t to … I really really didn’t want to die.

It hit me, lying in that bed, praying, being so poorly, that I did not want to die. And yet it was entirely possible that I might.

I’ve been incredibly physically poorly over the last 18 months. And especially so in the last 6 months. More poorly than I ever thought you could be. And yet, whilst battling all this physical ill health, with several complex things going on, one of the most overwhelming things I’ve been realising through it all is that actually, I am alive and have a life and I DONT WANT TO DIE.

I DO NOT WANT TO DIE.

Coinciding with being so poorly has been landing on the doorstep of a new church, and the start of a new journey with God – that has and is tough at times, but also life giving. And is continuing to make me realise I do not want to die any more.

I want to live. I want to continue moving forwards. I want to continue the journey that has been started of healing, and restoration. Its been painful, but breakthroughs are happening. And I’m in no doubt that there will be some more painful times to come, but I’m living in and with hope that life will be different. Can be different. IS DIFFERENT.

Life is so very different to this day 6 years ago, I could be here all night telling you how. But trust me, it is.

And I am so thankful and I am so glad to be alive.

I took an overdose 6 years ago, but today 6 years on

I AM GLAD TO BE ALIVE.

 

God in my …

Today has been a day of many conversations – and has left me with a head full of thoughts on a variety of topics, a couple of which I was planning on writing about this evening, to get my thoughts into some kind of order.

However now I’m sat writing, what I’m going to type is not at all what I actually had in mind.

As I sat down to my laptop tonight and opened her up she launched into action from where we left off last night. The music I had playing last night as I went to sleep before I shut Mildred (yeah I named my laptop, and my car, and, well lets leave it there…) kicked into action.

These were the words that started to play from the random playlist Spotify was obviously working its way through –

‘God in my hoping, there in my dreaming
God in my watching, God in my waiting
God in my laughing, there in my weeping
God in my hurting, God in my healing

Be my everything, be my everything’ – (Tim Hughes)

And I got a bit teary eyed. Now if you’ve been following my journey even just slightly over the last 6 months, you will not be surprised to hear this. I think I must be known as the ‘weeping woman’ in church for my inability to go and not cry (although I have managed a couple of services lately!).

Anyway, its a really powerful song. One thats been sung a couple of times in the church Im at now since I’ve been there. And I’ve always had to leave. Just like I’ve always had to leave when a couple of other songs are sung. Because I’ve been unable to cope with the words. I’ve been unable to cope with what they mean. I can’t open my mouth to sing them (if I’m not much else, I’m not a hypocrite, so I aint gonna sing something I don’t believe) and I could not even bear to sit and listen to them. When my brain overloads or something gets too close to the bone my default reaction is to run away – hence always leaving the services.

Sometimes I’ve had to leave to protect them and myself from my anger. Because these songs have had the ability to make me angry. Really really angry, and I can feel it rising in me. So angry that I want to scream at them all, all of them singing the words, raising their hands, engaging. I’ve wanted to disrupt meetings and tell them how fricking wrong they are. How wrong it all is. I’ve stood in meetings battling with the urge to totally rage, shaking my head and literally chanting ‘No’ to myself, because I have been unable to entertain the possibility that any of the stuff I’m hearing is true. As I’ve left I’ve punched walls of the buildings and I’ve dinted my car by kicking it. I’ve ranted, and raged, to myself, and vowed several times never to go back. I’m not a generally angry person, honestly, but its like every now and then the built up emotion that I don’t know how to deal with or that overwhelms me comes out all at once.

Its not happened often. But the several occasions it has over the last 6 months has been when these songs I mentioned above have part of the worship. Why?

Because I have been so angry with God. So so angry. I was more angry at God than anyone – more angry at God than my biological father, who abused me. More angry at God than my brother, who physically bruised me, many times over many years, and I was more angry at God than I was the people who attacked me 7 years ago, on a life changing day where nothing was ever to be the same again.

I was angry at God. I often thought to myself I didn’t believe in God any more. But actually I’ve always believed in God. I’ve always believed He has existed. I’ve always believed He has been about somewhere, but I’ve not always believed that He has been for me. I’ve not always believed that He is a good God. And that He is a God who loves me. I’ve not always believed He has been with me. I’ve not always believed that.

And these songs, the song above in particular provoked such anger in me towards God. And I never really knew why.

Until tonight.

And I found myself, through tears singing to it.

God in my …

God in my …

God in my …

healing, hoping, dreaming, laughing, waking, sleeping, resting, dreaming

God in my everything.

 

And I realised why I could never sing those words, or even bear to hear them because –

– how could God be in healing I never believed was possible?

– how could God be in any sort of hoping when I had no hope?

– how could God be in my dreams, because I had no dreams for myself or my future

– how could God be in the laughter that does not exist any more?

– how could God be in the waking/sleeping/resting that was plagued with nightmares and desperate darkness.

– how could God in my everything because I was/there was nothing.

– because how could God?

 

And yet, I’ve come to a place – tonight, I’m in a place, where I can sit, and I can let those words flow over me, I can open my mouth and sing them, I can read the words, and feel the meaning, and realise that, actuality God IS in my everything.

And that there is an everything for God to be in. Including my anger –

Then it struck me –  I’m not angry with God any more.

I don’t have all the answers. I have not got it all sussed out. I still have many questions and things I need to work through. There is still miles and miles and miles of this never ending journey to travel, this journey of restoration. But I’m not angry with God any more, and its a start.

And there is a hope, that He is in. There is healing that He is definitely in the middle of.

And I am deeply deeply thankful to be in a different place to when I first walked through the doors of the church I’m at now. That painfully, steps forwards are being made. Life is changing. I am changing. I am being changed.

And I’m deeply thankful that the God I rejected 6 years ago, has accepted me back and is back in my everything, because I’m realising now that He never actually left it.

I’m deeply thankful, this week, as we head towards the 11th April which marks 6 years since I took such a serious overdose, my Dr’s were surprised I lived that I am still here.

God is in my everything, whatever that everything is, and I am glad to be alive.