Archives for posts with tag: sexual abuse survivor

Hi, everyone.

Case dismissed!

Good news at last! The police rang me on Friday to tell me that the CPS have discharged the case against me and said they are not pressing charges. The relief I felt was amazing and the investigating officer even sounded pleased that I was finally free of the stress the whole case had caused me.

Names, places and facts wrong

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) social services visited Friday also. They came to show us the report they are submitting to Monday’s child protection conference. As a family we had all received letters inviting us to the conference. Bizarrely,  however, they got names, places and facts wrong. Laura received a letter to say she was going into care but the conference was about her sister. I received a letter detailing the girls names incorrectly and inviting a GP, whose name is unknown to us, and who is certainly not at our practice, to attend the meeting. Andrew received a letter saying Jennifer was the child being investigated and not Laura, and Jennifer received a letter detailing the purpose of the conference on a leaflet titled “For parents”.

The wrong parents described in report!

The social worker presented me with the report she was submitting. As I cast my eyes over it I wasn’t phased by the errors jumping out at me straight away. Dates, times and names were wrong, as well as grammar. NCC had spoken to Jennifer’s school and managed to write a report about the wrong parents. Facts about all of us were incorrect and both social workers seemed embarrassed. They kept reminding us of the complaints procedure when I kept mentioning all the errors that were being made. I was furious and said, “NCC have a nerve to question our parenting abilities. They can’t even write a report correctly. How on earth are we expected to have faith in the system?”

I also queried a key element in the report, which was their supposed concern about my daughters’ emotional wellbeing. I raised the question, “If you are so concerned, where have you been for the past seven years, never mind the past six weeks for that matter?” I have been experiencing mental health problems for seven years. During this time we have pulled together as a family and helped look after each other. We have never been offered any help or support by social services, even in the past six weeks when they started all this trouble. Surely if they were so concerned they would have done something to help? Instead they waste time writing silly and incorrect letters and reports.

Again I was told to highlight my concerns with the chair of the conference on Monday and follow the complaints procedure. Surely the time that has been spent on our case, and dealing with any complaints we have, would be better spent on protecting children who are starved to death by their parents?!

One failing authority assigned to prop up another?

The shocking fact is that the social worker who has been assigned to our family is from Birmingham. She claims she has been asked to work for NCC as they are a failing organisation! Again, they don’t make any sense and, to be honest, the whole service has been a joke. Birmingham has been big in the news as a failing authority, so God help us if NCC have requested their social workers to come to our area.

Conference will be a shambles

Tomorrow at 14.00hrs the child protection conference is taking place. There have been fifteen people invited to discuss concerns about the girls and to decide if they are placed on the child protection register. All this sounds very formal and official! In reality, I imagine that the conference will be a shambles. I think we will be the only ones on the invitation list to turn up, and the conference will consist of us questioning the authorities’ abilities and them making themselves look foolish. Let’s wait and see?

Will keep you all posted.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

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Hi,  everyone.

The last time we spoke I was still in hospital waiting to be discharged or be reassessed for a further Section 3. On Friday 23 July I was discharged at 16.00hrs. I attended a care plan meeting to discuss my future care. Various health professionals were present. A representative from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Department arrived late, during the meeting.

Minimal care on offer

I presented to the professionals a care plan I had written myself, and after a lengthy discussion I agreed to what care was on offer (which was very minimal). A potential admission to The Retreat was discussed, but I was told it would be some time before funding could be secured, if any. The psychologist I have been seeing explained he would have to cut my therapy short as he was leaving, and he admitted there was no one to replace him. Therefore I was left with an open out-patients appointment with my psychiatrist, 72-hour support from the crisis team if needed, and then admission to the acute ward if necessary.

Daughter considered to be at risk

The social worker said a child protection conference had been arranged for the following week. Whilst I had been in hospital there had been an agreement in place between Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC)  and Andrew to the effect that I couldn’t be left unsupervised with my daughters when home on leave. I informed the social worker that now I was discharged from hospital I wouldn’t be adhering to the agreement. She asked if I could remain an in-patient at hospital until the date of the child protection conference. I was horrified, and explained that a hospital bed is for someone who is ill, not to be used as a babysitting service for NCC. The social worker said that as one of my daughters was considered to be “at risk of harm” (because of her age), she would have to speak to her managers. The meeting ended, and I left thinking, “At last I can start to get on with my life again!”

Frustrated and offended

No such luck! I’d been at home an hour and the social worker rang to tell me the child protection conference had been cancelled and her managers would be in touch on Monday to discuss the agreement. I felt so frustrated and offended. The authorities were claiming that my younger daughter was deemed to be at emotional and physical risk because of my mental health. Andrew and I have done everything for the girls, and made sure their emotional and physical needs were met. I thought social services had a cheek as I have been suffering with mental health problems for the past seven years and there has never been any contact with services or offers of help with parenting and the like.

Feeling victimised by NCC

It seems so coincidental that NCC has become heavily involved in my life and instigated other agencies’ involvement only since I decided to sue them (for placing me in the care of paedophiles when I was at their mercy as a child). I may be wrong, but I can’t help feeling victimised as there have been some serious errors made by the Department and they appear to be doing everything in their power to cause me stress and worsen my mental health. Furthermore, NCC has never once offered any family support, which would have been the obvious thing to do if they had truly been concerned about my family’s wellbeing.

Left to enjoy family life last week

Anyway, last week I spent most of my time catching up with household chores and enjoying my daughters’ company. The social workers’ manager didn’t ring. In fact, we heard nothing at all from them, so much of last week was pretty calm and we were able to settle down as a family to our old routine. Feeling mentally and physically well, I spoke to my employer and reported fit for duty, even though I am still suspended.

Over the weekend I took stock of what I have to face in the imminent future:

  • I have a medical with occupational health on 12 August so the doctor can pass me fit for work.
  • In order to go back to work, I need a decision from the police on whether they are going to charge me or not (with threatening my daughters’ lives).

Ten years in prison!

Thinking about the second item, I rang the investigation officer to take some advice, as it is worrying knowing that if I am charged, depending on the sentence, I could lose my job. I rang on numerous occasions and left messages but had no luck in reaching him. I set about doing some research on the Crown Prosecution Sevice (CPS) website and my blood ran cold when I saw what sentence I could receive if I’m charged: ten years!!! In prison!!! I felt sick all weekend, hoping and praying the CPS would throw the case out. As I hadn’t heard anything from social services I assumed we had heard the last of them. I just hoped and prayed Monday would bring some positive answers.

No advice, no answers to calls

Monday was just a day of frustration. I spent most of it on the phone ringing people and leaving messages. I wanted advice from the police about how the investigation is going and the prospect of being charged. I tried my solicitor, dealing with the criminal case, but he wasn’t available. My worries about my future increased. I couldn’t face prison and losing my job. I also rang social services, as I wanted to confirm that the case with them had closed. Again there was no answer there too, and my calls were not returned.  I tried to put my anxieties to the back of my mind and hoped that I would get some answers the following day.

Police seeking evidence!

On Tuesday morning there was a message on my answerphone from the police. It said that the CPS had requested further information and their investigations are ongoing. Therefore I still have to answer my bail on 12 August. I was worried! My solicitor had previously said the case wouldn’t go anywhere, yet they are obviously taking things seriously by wanting more evidence. I rang my solicitor, who couldn’t give me any answers or speculate as to the outcome of the police case. I asked him about what sentences I could receive and he just said it would depend on what I am charged with.

NCC persist in claim that my daughter is at risk, after leaving us alone for eleven days!

The post arrived.  There was a letter addressed to me.  Andrew kindly read it for me, and told me that we had been invited to a child protection conference next Monday, 9 August. You can’t imagine how angry I felt. The authorities were claiming in the letter that one of my daughters is at risk of harm or abuse. It stated that the social worker would have to write a report about our family circumstances. I’m puzzled as social services have known I’ve been at home for eleven days. I’ve had no offers of help or support and, as for the written report, I can’t understand how the social worker can write anything about my family as she has only met me once briefly and the same for Andrew and the girls. Again, if my daughter is placed on the Child Protection Register I stand to lose my job. I rang social services all day leaving messages. I wanted to discuss why the conference had been set up and what to expect. Again, no one returned my calls, so I’m left with feeling alone and in a world of the unknown.

All I want is to try and get on with my life with Andrew and the girls, and have some positive news for a change

I will keep you all posted as the next week’s events unfold.

Love and best wishes

Angela

Angela Bayley with Father Christmas

Here I am with Santa. Many children are traumatised by meeting Father Christmas (Santa Claus). However, what caused my complex post-traumatic stress disorder (or borderline personality disorder) was far more disturbing. In this posting I discuss these diagnoses. I hope healthcare workers will read it.

Hi, everyone.

I hope your weekend has been as good as mine.

Off like a shot

I didn’t tell you in my last posting, but I had originally thought I would be leaving the ward at 10 a.m. yesterday, not 1 p.m. I was set ready to go home at 9.30, full of excitement, and so I was absolutely horrified to hear that my section 17 leave was to start at 1 p.m. Like I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, time passed slowly, but Andrew eventually appeared at 12.45 and as soon as the clock struck one I was off like a shot.

A cuddle and a whirlwind

I arrived home and the first thing I did was cuddle Laura. Her face was a picture of happiness to see me home. I felt motivated to crack on with the chores Andrew hadn’t managed to get done due to the pressures of work, caring for the girls and visiting me. It’s been a long since I felt interested in my surroundings or motivated to look after the home we have built together. Yesterday I was ready for action and determined to get back to normal, put my Mum and wife head back on, and make up for the things I had overlooked. I went through the house like a whirlwind, cleaning, washing, ironing and changing beds. The house felt clean and fresh and I was looking forward to getting into a nice clean bed.

Mid-afternoon, Sarah and Charlie (my childhood social worker and her husband) came to see how I was before they went on holiday, and they brought me a lovely scented candle for the lounge. We all sat together in the kitchen, putting the world to rights, and we also discussed my current situation with the police, social services, mental health services and work.

Positive – no flashbacks or alcohol

For once I managed to engage in a positive conversation and not be haunted by flashbacks and avoidance tactics, like medication, self-harm and alcohol. Andrew had bought me a bottle of wine, based on our agreement that I would only drink at weekends. I managed to forget it was sat in the fridge.  Compare this to a few weeks ago when I’d have finished it within hours of it being bought and would be well onto my second bottle! With Andrew’s support, I was determined to stay focused and positive as well as tackle my problems head-on.

My stepmother is harmless now

Not long after Sarah and Charlie had gone, a blue car pulled up outside the house. My heart sank as I saw Lillian (the stepmother whom I describe at length in Disruptive) get out the car with her mother. I didn’t want anything to ruin my weekend, and I knew her presence could trigger bad thoughts and feelings. Although she is harmless now, and has certainly repented her sins, she is a clear reminder that I had a troubled childhood and that my father abandoned me on more than one occasion.

Not swamped by uncomfortable feelings

Anyway, I opened the front door with a big smile and told myself that Lillian’s visit was with good intentions and she wasn’t going to trigger my emotions or cause me any harm. She handed me some beautiful flowers and I led her and her mother to the kitchen for another cuppa. We had a good natter about “this and that”, and then she told me my father had been in touch with her to tell her about my book Disruptive, which she hasn’t read. This was the first time it had been mentioned since I had started writing it. I managed to push my anxieties to the back of my mind and explain the process of my writing and how useful it had been. I told Lillian what my aim was – that it wasn’t to apportion blame but to help me understand things that had happened to me in the past as well as help other survivors similar to me. I really stood my ground, whereas normally I would pussyfoot around Lillian, feeling guilty if I upset her and caused any disruption. It was an achievement to believe in myself and not be swamped with uncomfortable feelings and maladaptive behaviours.

Enjoying the moment

Andrew, Laura and I managed to sit down on the sofas with our pizzas round about 8 p.m. Andrew cracked open my bottle of wine as well as getting himself some pear cider. Laura wanted to watch “Casualty” so we selected the film we wanted which we put on at 9.30 p.m. It was so nice to just relax all evening with my family, climb into my own bed and enjoy the moment instead of dwelling on my difficulties.

The diagnoses of “Borderline Personality Disorder” and “complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” and health workers’ reactions

Talking of difficulties, one thing I struggle to get to grips with is the label I’ve been given: “Borderline Personality Disorder” (BPD). One of the kind comments on the blog talks about mental health workers only able to care for those with simple mental health diagnoses, such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.  My consultant when I was at The Retreat, Dr Chris, was very sensitive about the label BPD, and would use a kinder label “complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (complex PTSD). My experience of mental health workers’ reactions when I tell them of that diagnosis is so different – it’s a lot more sympathetic! This just goes to show how discriminated against we sufferers of BPD are, and why there is such a lack of care.

Stigma: “attention-seeking and a nuisance”

NICE guidelines for some years now have included clear instructions for people with PTSD. However, it’s only recently that NICE recognised BPD, and, whilst they suggest that people with BPD are the highest risk group for suicide and that they can have terrible mental health symptoms, they are not very clear about treatment and appropriate care. Sadly, there’s a limited number of establishments that specialise in BPD, and they are usually private hospitals. The stigma of mental health is bad enough and workers are always wanting negative opinions to change. However, many mental health workers frown upon people with BPD, labelling them as attention-seekers and a nuisance. It’s clear that they have little training in this area of mental health and find it hard to understand or implement treatment. The feelings of not being understood are raw for people like me with BPD. I think services should start educating workers more in this area of mental health to prevent ignorance, discrimination and judgemental attitudes.

Please read about BPD!

As an NHS worker myself, I realise that many of us would like more training to deal with difficult situations and diagnoses but it’s seldom available due to cost implications and lack of resources. Therefore can I ask anyone who has an interest in mental health or works with people with mental health difficulties just to take a few moments to read up on BPD, and on how you can help? You would be amazed what a difference it makes to someone’s mood when they feel understood. Only 1% of people suffer with BPD but it would be useful if those 1% were taken more seriously.

User-friendly complex PTSD?

Maybe we should ditch the American label “Borderline Personality Disorder” and change it to the more user-friendly diagnosis, “complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”? I would be interested to know what your thoughts and views are. I hope you can help.

Promised to be home soon

Today has been an easy day. I’ve done some more chores to ease the burden for Andrew. I also cooked a huge Sunday lunch, finished off with homemade apple and blackberry crumble and custard. It felt good to look after the family without considering it to be a big effort or chore. Time passed so quickly and before I knew it, it was 5.30 p.m. and time to go back to the hospital ward. I kissed Laura goodbye and promised I would be home soon.

Abusers have controlled my life for too long

Andrew dropped me off at the hospital and spent an hour with me. He seemed pleased that I was feeling better and encouraged me to stay in a more positive frame of mind. My abusers have controlled my life for too long and at times nearly beaten me. However, I’m still fighting and I am going to try and keep doing so.

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Love and best wishes

Angela x