Understanding – At last

After years of complaining of pain and numerous trips to Hospital. I was referred to see the Rheumatology department at North Manchester Hospital. Saw a very nice Doctor who really did know what he was doing and asked alot of in depth questions. It was amazing for someone to actually understand what I had been living with and going through for years.

Was poked, prodded and examined.

The Doctor has diagnosed me with the following:

Fibromyalgia
Sleep Disorder
Chronic Fatigue
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

He advised that all of these along with my Autism, Hyper-mobility and
psychological issues (Anxiety & Depression) are all intertwined.

They are Chronic conditions with no known cure. So is now a process of how to manage the symptoms.

I am being referred to Pain Clinic, Physiotherapy, Hydrotherapy and
Psychiatry. He will be writing to my GP to request that I go on sleeping
tablets and to increase the medication dosage that I’m currently on as
well. They took some blood for testing to cover the bases, but will not need to go back and see that department again.

There was a student Doctor observing my appointment and had apparently never seen someone whose joints where so bendy. So least I’m helping future generations of Doctor’s learn if nothing else!

It really is a genuine relief to get these conditions diagnosed and have someone to listen and understand. I had only been expecting a single diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, so to come away with 4 different conditions was not only a complete shock but also a validation of the fact that I really am not very well. I had thought that all the symptoms I had were normal and the pain I experience is what everyone else feels. It wasn’t until I had been diagnosed with Autism that I have begun to realise that it wasn’t normal.

Its strange having Autism and not feeling, experiencing and expressing myself as other people would. Its very hard to explain, what is normal for me is not normal for the wider community and vice versa.

I have tried to express myself and tried to tell people that things were ‘not quite right’ for years but I have either been bullied, fobbed off, taken advantage of or just plainly ignored. So to prevent myself from having to experience those again I just shut down, closed myself off and told people what they wanted to hear. However since my Autism diagnosis I have been learning to try and express myself better and this has led to these new conditions to be diagnosed to join my long list of other health issues. Now it’s a case of learning how to manage the symptoms and conditions.

Over the years I have learned to mask and hide things and to just keep pushing through them. Now that the health professionals are telling me that yes – what I am feeling and experiencing is real, and not to try and hide it or bottle it up. I worry that people will think that I’m making things out to be worse than they are because they weren’t an issue before.

It’s a lot not only for me to take in, but for my friends and family. At least we have some understanding of what is going on.

Changes?….

I’m rediscovering the world and myself since my autism diagnosis. Learning a lot about Autism (still a lot to learn) and finding that lots of my little quirks are often ‘Symptoms’ of Autism. I think i made need to change the name of my blog, as its no longer a road to recovery. I had thought that I had nervous breakdown in 2013 and have been trying to get back to how i was before then. Since my diagnosis I’ve discovered that how i was being and reacting to a lot of things in life was me ‘masking’ or ‘camouflaging’.

I’ve always known that I see the world differently to others and previously when i have said things I’ve either been ridiculed or put down. So haven’t said anything for years and copied how other people react, but now I need to learn myself and the world all over again and to accept and allow myself to feel the way I do.

So Maybe it I should rename my blog “Rediscovering the world” or “Me and Autism”, “My autism journey”.

I should have my final autism assessment by July 2018. Which will make it a year and a half to fully, pin down the challenges and hardships I face, hopefully making things a bit easier.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder

I haven’t posted in a while cause to be honest i’m scared, confused and very lost. I’m still coming to terms with being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and what it means and what effects it’ll have on my life.

I’ve always felt that i’m a different and that something has been ‘wrong’ with me since childhood. But when ever I’ve approached the subject or spoken my mind I’ve been told that i’m being silly or just making things up. I’ve always been the weird one and the outcast, and I’ve tried to cope by pretending and trying to fit in and to ignore how I’ve felt and thought. However now that I’ve been diagnosed with ASD, i’m trying to accept how i feel and what i think is ok and to try and express that. But it makes me wonder who I am, as i have been pretending for a long time.

Most people who are diagnosed with as ASD are diagnosed when they are children. I’m 34 and have found that there is not a lot of help or support for autistic adults out there. majority of self help guides and support groups are for children and their parents. I Just dont know where to turn. There is a lot of other medical conditions which are linked with ASD and I have numerous symptoms and alarm bells are ringing, but when trying to express this to medical professionals they dont seem to care or understand. From everything i’m reading and learning it seems i’ll soon have a medical degree myself. lol

All of this is making my Anxiety and Depression worse.

Autism Diagnosis

Since my nervous breakdown in 2013, I have been visiting the GP, going to counselling and even had a number of unexpected trips to Hospital. They seem to be finding more and more things wrong with me. First it was anxiety, depression and PTSD. Then they discovered I was partially deaf and classed as hard of hearing, requiring me to have 2 hearing aids fitted. During my numerous counselling sessions it was suggested more than once that I might autistic.

Last week I was officially diagnosed as having ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I’m still trying to come to terms with it and what it all means. I am still awaiting the full report from the autism assessor and hopefully this will either answer some of my questions or put me in touch with people who can help answer them.

– Majority of Autistic people suffer from Anxiety and depression. So is how I’ve felt since 2013 part of my Autism Spectrum Disorder or are they in addition to it?

– Most autistic people are diagnosed when they are children, I’m in my mid thirties, apparently dyslexia is a common misdiagnosis of autism. I was diagnosed as dyslexic in 1998, so am I still dyslexic or has this been misdiagnosed?

– I have been reading and chatting to people who have been diagnosed with ASD later in life and they have said that their life changed and really began after their diagnosis. So will mine change and if so how?

– Are my physical disabilities part of ASD?

It is a big change and huge learning curve. For someone like me who isn’t always sure of his feelings to start with it’ll take time to adjust and time for it all to sink in. I’m relieved that they found something and it wasn’t me just going mad, but. at the same time I’m sad, scared and angry. Really is a jumble of all emotions. Apparently grief is an expected emotion after this diagnosis, but I’m not quite sure why, no one has died, I’m still the same person I was.

 

listed below are some things that are very familiar to me when I was looking through the autism website. I just thought everyone felt this way, didn’t realise it wasn’t normal.

Sight:
OVER-SENSITIVE
Has difficulty getting to sleep as sensitive to the light.

Sound:
UNDER-SENSITIVE
May only hear sounds in one ear, the other ear having only partial hearing or none at all.

OVER-SENSITIVE
Noise can be magnified and sounds become distorted and muddled.
Inability to cut out sounds – notably background noise, leading to difficulties concentrating.

Taste:
OVER-SENSITIVE
Certain textures cause discomfort

Touch:
UNDER-SENSITIVE
Has a high pain threshold.
Enjoys heavy objects (eg weighted blankets) on top of them.

OVER-SENSITIVE
Touch can be painful and uncomfortable – people may not like to be touched and this can affect their relationships with others.
Dislikes having anything on hands or feet.
Difficulties brushing and washing hair because head is sensitive.
May find many food textures uncomfortable.
Only tolerates certain types of clothing or textures.

Balance:
UNDER-SENSITIVE
A need to rock, swing or spin to get some sensory input.

OVER-SENSITIVE
Difficulties with activities like sport, where we need to control our movements.
Difficulties stopping quickly or during an activity.
Difficulties with activities where the head is not upright or feet are off the grou‏nd.

Asperger’s Syndrome

During a counselling session last week the Counsellor has admitted  that he is only able to help so far and has identified a number of things. We have been looking at things in depth and using mood diary’s to help. But a lot of the underlying issues we found are ingrained in my mind and cannot be changed, which is causing issues. He thinks I will probably be Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and he thinks getting the diagnosis will help, in my understanding and will open up other treatments more geared to help me.

I will still be seeing my Counsellor a couple of more times to help with anxiety symptoms and coping mechanisms but wont be a complete fix. Have chased up the Autism assessment and waiting to find out how long the waiting list is.

 

What are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?

Symptoms include

  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Difficulty managing social situations
  • Unable to respond appropriately in verbal interactions
  • Unable to decipher facial expressions or body language
  • Unable to show emotions, may seem emotionally robotic
  • May focus solely on their own needs
  • Focus in on specific subjects they are interested in. Usually the topic is very literal.
  • Resistant to change. May expect the same thing to occur day after day.

Conflicting Beliefs

I’ve been continuing with my counselling and its been going quite well and we have been zeroing in on certain ideals/beliefs that i have grown up with and has been quite surprising in some of the “answers.”

I have always believed in the best of people, even if others have warned me about them or If I’ve heard something about their past, I can only see the good. Maybe they have changed, maybe it was just that once, or that it was the circumstances at the time. This has been my downfall numerous times.

I also expect to be treated badly by everyone, maybe this belief has just come from my past experiences, (abusive relationship, Bullying throughout school, disability discrimination, Homophobia), If i expect to be treated badly, then i can be prepared for it, if it doesn’t happen then that’s great. but this conflicts with seeing the good in everyone.

During counselling we established that I find that I unless I can do something to the same level as everyone else I feel that it is a failure. I do have disabilities both physical and mentally and I don’t believe personally that should affect how I preform. Everyone else can do, so would shouldn’t I? Yes it takes me a lot of extra work and is a lot harder for me to do things, but i don’t personally make allowances for it. If i do, then i find that i constantly have to prove myself, prove that i have difficulty, prove I have disabilities, prove that I have to work twice as hard and prove that I can do it. What some people find easy can be a very difficult and daunting challenge for me. Due to this I rarely find anything to be proud of or find something successful. Even if i did find something to be proud of, i don’t really show it as I think people will make fun or not see it as a particular accomplishment. So Physically and mentally, I know i’m not the same as everyone, but I Still hold myself to the same standards as everyone else.

So I can confirm my Mind is quite screwed up. It really is fighting itself in everything I do, as its trying to work out which belief is the right one. No wonder i suffer from Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

On-wards and upwards

Taking a break works wonders. The start of September was particularly difficult, I was very depression and struggling with a number of things. I had also restarted counselling with Bury Healthy Minds.

Took a weeks break and headed to London to visit family and this coincided with a number of Transport events and open days. We had a Trip on London’s Mail Rail, Visited Brooklands Museum and the London Bus Museum, this was followed by visiting the London Transports Acton Depot Open day. And the week was rounded off with a spectacular look behind the scenes of London’s Charring Cross Tube station with Hidden London.

Concorde at Brooklands Museum:

London Bus Museum:

Acton Depot Open Day:

Charring Cross, Hidden London:

Saw almost every type of transport imaginal. Am a huge bus and train enthusiast and these really were very special moments that really did make my year! Could have spent hours or days exploring these places more. So much to see. Had a very positive impact and really need cheer me up and get me out of my depressive episode I was in before.

Am now back in Manchester and working with counselling to hopefully improve things. We’ve had 3 sessions so far and have delved right into thoughts, my past and my beliefs. Its quite amazing how intertwined everything is and even my counsellor is realising that focusing on one particular thing wont work or really help. So i’m doing numerous Mood Dairy’s to record what i’m thinking and feeling during the times between the sessions to see if anything stands out. Feeling very positive so far and think my current counsellor is actually starting to understand what life is like for me. On-wards and upwards…

Losing grip on reality

I feel am losing my grip on reality. I just don’t seem to know what is real or what i have dreamed / made up / imagined. It’s a bizarre feeling. I seem to have lost the ability to put things in chronological order / timescale. Things that happened weeks ago seem like yesterday and things that happened today/yesterday seem to be from weeks ago. I don’t know if this is a coping mechanism or something else. Am getting confused with things that have actually happened and things that i have dreamt and imagined. I know i’m not losing my mind but my mind just seems to be a lot more jumbled than it normally is.

I Struggle with getting things done, always thinking I’ve got plenty of time to do it and then realising that i don’t. I’m stressed and worried because i feel like i have so much going on at the moment and in reality when sitting down and working it out, its not a lot 2 or 3 big things and there’s nothing i can do straight away its waiting for appointments or waiting for the correct time to arrive. When I was ‘well’ before my breakdown, i was working as well as coping with everything else and now i cant seem to 2 or 3 things. It is so depressing and humiliating. I know i’m unwell and not in great health but it just feels wrong and makes me feel guilty and makes me feel like a failure and i’m letting everyone and the world down. I didn’t ask to be Ill and don’t like asking for help, but know i’m struggling. It’s very difficult to ask for help as i don’t know what help is needed/required or what is available.

I’ve recently restarted counselling and this may be what has thrown me out of whack lately as we did talk about a number of different things in-depth. Its scary being scared of everything and talking about it as it really does make you think you, you are crazy.

On the flip side there has been some good things happening.

  • Restarted counselling, I know its small steps and its working on one problem at a time, but anything is better than just stopping and doing nothing.
  • Under going tests for Autism It’s not another thing I suffer from, but a solution or answer to why and how i react / think of things. And so far things are making a lot more sense in regards to this. Have only had one diagnosis session so far and the result was that i have autistic traits in all 4 areas.

Where to start?

Argh! Don’t know where to start or what to do for the best. I have so many different issues both physically and mentally that need addressing. I have noticed however all these issues overlap and interact with one another. The way the mental health team and the GP work is to focus on one issue at a time. Which in theory would be a good idea, but by doing this its causing different issues to get worse or has unintended consequences.

I have just finished an ‘Anxiety group Workshop’ course of treatment. To be honest I think it made things worse than it did in actually helping. It was good to find out and hear from others that they were experiencing the same anxiety symptoms as I was (although for different reasons) so I learnt that I wasn’t alone and that I shouldn’t be so scared of the symptoms of anxiety. But it did show how bad and deep my depression was, we had an exercise where we had to challenge ‘negative thoughts’ and turn them into positive ones. For example I’m nervous of going out of my flat. “Something bad will happen if I do” so we had to change it into a positive thought “something good will happen if I go out” but I found that although I could make up something and change it into a positive I didn’t actually believe it and just made me more depressed.

Things that need to be sorted:

Depression – Have had depression for around 15 years, It comes and goes but is always there. I was in an abusive relation for 6 years, in a job that i was constantly bullied in for 10 years. A lot of people have taken advantage of me and my good nature, which makes trusting new people difficult. Have struggled with coming to terms with my sexuality, and struggled with my disabilities – Dyslexia, Hearing loss, musculoskeletal issues, mental health issues. and often depressed about money. Feeling low increases my anxieties. I have been suicidal and don’t want to fall back into that.

PTSD – Still getting flashbacks and nightmares of the events in 2013. This increases my anxiety and depression.

Anxiety – Because i’m anxious all the time and have physical symptoms (sweating) and panic attacks means I often don’t go out, makes me feel guilty and stops me from doing the things i used to enjoy and this makes me depressed.

Health – Due to musculoskeletal issues I’m constantly in pain, which makes my mood low, I tend not to go and get anxious that if i do go out i’ll be in pain or make it worse and i’m not in the right mental state to face surgery on it. I’m on 13 tablets a day, which i know is a lot and proves to me everyday that i’m unwell and increases my depression and my anxieties. I’m very conscious of my hearing aids and how people might react to it.

It’s only a brief description of the things i need sorting, because theirs lots more involved and i’m not comfortable sharing or bringing up everything at the moment, hopefully will give people an insight into how everything is interlocked and overlapping. So when your focusing on one single issue the other issues get worse, and its like taking one step forward and 2 steps back. GP wants to know how i want to move forward with my treatment and what i want to focus on, but i really don’t know as everything is connected. Nothing is worse than anything else, they are all as bad as each other. Ideally would need to work on all of them at the same time to slowly reduce the effects but the Health system doesn’t appear to be set up to accommodate that.

Darkness of Depression

I cant seem to win or move forward with my recovery. People keep telling me that i’m doing well and they have seen improvements but whats happening in my head/mind doesn’t agree. I seem to have so many problems that its always playing catch up, sort one thing out and another rears its head. If its not anxiety, its depression or PTSD or Physical issues, not forgetting financial troubles.

For the past 2 weeks I have been attending an anxiety group workshop. It’s been difficult on so many levels, this week in particular as we have been focusing on Negative thoughts. This just seems to be making my depression darker/deeper. Which in turn is causing anxiety as i don’t want to end up like i was at the beginning of 2014 when i was suicidal. The current focus of the anxiety workshop is focusing on negative thoughts and turning them into positive thoughts. I’m really struggling to find any positive thoughts that i believe though. Which is making me feel depressed. The medication i take for my anxiety and depression doesn’t allow me to feel anything, it reduces or blocks my emotions, which i have mentioned to the GP and she’s happy for that to continue as she doesn’t want me to be depressed or suicidal again. I currently take 200mg of Sertraline which is the maximum dose. So if i did go back to the GP for a medication review, it would mean changing the medication i was and trying to find one which works again, which isn’t the best idea, i think as that too could increase my anxiety or depression.

I hate feeling like this, i wish i could feel something else. Just don’t know where to turn. I’m in therapy, i’m on medication i’m doing everything i can but just seem to be getting worse.

Running on Empty

Feeling both physically and mentally drained. Its been a while since my last post, but this past month has been exhausting. I feel I’m just going through the motions.

I have completed my one on one counseling sessions with Bury Healthy Minds and am now on a waiting list for group anxiety therapy. Their will be 8 to 10 people in the group. Hopefully I will be able to cope with it and come out stronger than when I went in. During my one on one sessions with my counsellor she recommended that I had a blood test done by my GP and that I get referred for an Austism test ( GP agreed and just awaiting appointment). The results from the blood test came back and showed high levels of enzymes in the liver, so GP has referred me for an Ultrasound at the hospital.

Having an anxiety condition and suffering from depression I have difficulty waiting on things. Waiting on referrals or test results, gives time for my mind to race through the what ifs? Hopefully one day people won’t have to wait.

My counsellor, family and friends have all wanted me to reapply for PIP (Personal Independence Payment). I had been holding off on this as its so complicated and delves deep into thoughts and physical issues. I had already received and completed a medical questionnaire back in December for the DWP (department of works and pensions) and said I might be called for a health assessment. So wanted to get this out the way first. After 3 months I hadn’t heard anything so applied for the PIP.

My worst nightmare came true when I received both the PIP form and a letter asking for me to attend the health assessment, arrived on the same day. I’m so scared, its my illnesses and me being judged and vetted. I understand the need for them, but wish their where less intrusive ways, and better questions than “So why haven’t you killed yourself yet?” Being asked. I know in my mind its a standard question and why they ask it, but makes me feel insignificant, unwanted and makes me feel a burden and wasting peoples time.

I didn’t choose to have physical illnesses and didn’t choose to have mental illnesses but they way I have been treated wether intentionally or not, makes it feel like its my fault. Which then makes the depression deepen and the anxiety worse. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel like this but really is a poor way of handling things.

My GP has changed and increased my pain medication, is a lot better than the last one but doesn’t completely rid me of pain. As anyone who’s been in pain for a long time can understand it too leaves you feeling exhausted.

I really did think I was getting better at the start of the year but the past 2 months have shown me that although there might have been some improvement there is a long and hard road to recovery to go. That is indeed if I can recover. I know I won’t ever be the same again, but hopefully I will be able to wake up in the morning with enthusiasm and have a pain free day followed by restful nights sleep eventually.

Trouble Communicating

I have trouble communicating. May sound very silly saying that while I’m writing a blog about my Road to Recovery. But communication isn’t just about talking. There’s hearing, talking, writing, feeling, expressing myself the list goes on, everyday we communicate with each other a vast number of ways and I have always struggled.

Hearing:

I am hard of hearing ans wear a hearing aid. I also suffer from tinnitus so being able to listen and understand people can be quite challenging at times especially in noisy environments.

Writing:

I suffer from Dyslexia and I admit have quite bad handwriting. When writing anything wether it be online or on paper, I tend to use words that I know. If I struggle to spell something I’ll tend to go round the houses and waffle alot to get my point across. Yes I know there are spellcheckers available, but when you have dyslexia you don’t always ‘see’ the letters in the words in the correct order. I can read ok, but somewhere in my mind after taking the information on it gets scrambled and doesn’t necessarily come back out correctly. I’ve struggled with dyslexia all my life and despite what my previous work managers its not something that can be cured or something I will grow out of.

Feelings:

Ive always been a person who hides there feelings since being bullied at school and throughout my life. Its easier for me to lock away my feelings rather than deal with them. Feelings are a major way to communicate e.g. of your angry, upset etc.. Since my breakdown I have been on antidepressants and anxiety medications and this further numbs my feelings. However through counselling I’m starting to explore feelings again.

Talking:

Again another one that seems strange for me to have difficulty with, having been in call centre jobs for almost 13 Years I’ve done a lot of talking on the phone, but that was business talk. Talking about me is whole different thing. I hate talking on the phone now days due to a number of factors, my long career of telephone jobs, my difficulties in hearing, the lack of seeing someone’s body language, anxiety to name a few. I don’t know what to say to people some times. At the moment I’m not working or socialising, so I don’t have a lot to say. I’m anxious I’ll say the wrong thing or my mood (which isn’t always uplifting!)  may come across. Its just easier to avoid things.

Expressing myself:

Its difficult for me to express myself due to the reasons above but also because I don’t have the confidence. I’m always afraid something bad will happen or what I’ve said or done will be taken in the wrong context. I’m not good, in fact I’m terrible in social settings. I’m always the quiet one stood in the corner of the room. I have a number of online friends that I know and chat to and would love to meet in person but with a lack of confidence and communication skills again its easier to avoid.

Outlet:

I do find that writing my blog posts or facebook/Twitter status is a big outlet for. There’s no time pressure, I can review things before I post them and in a way its how I can disconnect from myself to say how I’m feeling and share my anxieties.

Hopefully this post will give people a insight into myself and why I’m not always forthcoming with feelings, conversations or meeting up with people. Its not that o don’t care or that on lazy it genuinely is a struggle for me.

Invisible Disabilities

I suffer from a number of Invisible Disabilities including Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, being hard of hearing and having musculoskeletal disorders. On a good day people would never know, but there are times when some help is needed.

I’m very conscious of my disabilities and don’t like to let it show it. Probably stems from the stigma around mental health and people with disabilities and also my own feelings of not letting my disabilities affect my life. Everyone else can do it/things so why cant I. I’m sometimes my hardest critic. I don’t like to complain that i’m in pain, or saying I don’t feeling right, because that’s all I’ve ever known, just assumed that’s how everyone is. however through my counselling I’m starting to come to terms with things and starting to see things in a different light.

I Have seen that Transport for London is rolling out a campaign so people with hidden disabilities can wear a badge which says “Please offer me a Seat” BBC news Article I think this is a really good and useful idea. The only down side is that its only for London. I Sometimes struggle to stand for long periods and when travelling on public transport it isn’t always a smooth ride, as you are jostled about (no matter how good the driver), for me this can be very comfortable as my body moves one way or the other, the pressure on my knees and my muscles increases and decreases something I cant prepare for it and can cause more pain. I don’t like to attract attention and wouldn’t have the confidence to ask someone for a seat, even if they are sat in a ‘priority seat’ or a disabled seat. Cause like me they might have invisible disabilities themselves. So a badge would be a good idea. When I have had to rely on crutches to get about people have been more than willing to help me and offer seats, but i don’t always require crutches and being a 34 year old man people wouldn’t think that i’d be disabled.

With more awareness of invisible disabilities and illnesses the Metro News website did a great article of “Why are people with an invisible illnesses so scared to ask for a seat on public transport?” link to article here

So I’ve decided to take a very small step and order myself one of these:

16mm Round, Disabled Lapel Pin Badge

Invisible Disabilities are hidden, and not something to be proud of or to show off. But people wont know how to treat you if they are not aware. So a small disabled badge on my clothes, might not change anything, but some observant people might see it and may offer me a seat or help. Cant hurt to try?

Truthfully, I am ashamed that i’m disabled and that i’m a different to everyone else. But with counselling I’m realizing “Its OK to be Me” and I have to accept that I am disabled and shouldn’t be ashamed of it or ashamed of asking for help. I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference but even any small difference has to be worth it?

Domestic Abuse

Well this is going to be another very difficult post, so apologies for any rambling. I have chatted with numerous people about certain aspects of what happened, but i don’t think anyone knows the full in’s and out’s of the events.

In 2004 I moved from London to Manchester with my Partner at the time Steve. It was my first real long term relationship. We both managed to find jobs quite soon after moving to Manchester. However within the year, Steve had quit his job and was trying to find a new one. During this time I had to pay for everything, from Rent, Council tax, Gas, Electricity, phone bill and anything else that came up. We did have a number of good years in our relationship which made things worth while but then things started to break down between us and he was spending weekends and most of his time at his friends house Jimmy. Me and Steve decided to end our relationship and within a couple of months he moved his new boyfriend into the flat Jimmy. I was now paying for everything for 3 people. During this time i was practically left living in my bedroom in the flat. They controlled or were always using the front room. It was always promised that when Jimmy and Steve got jobs they would help out with the bills. However that never materialized, Jimmy did get a job, Steve never worked.. It wasn’t until 2010 when I was struggling with money and was noticing that they were buying new things, going out for meals, trips and going on holidays. So they had money but were effectively living off me. It was in 2011 things went extremely down hill.

In 2011 i had reached my limit and couldn’t carry on as i had before. So one evening After i came home from work, I had said to Steve that i needed to chat with him and Jimmy regarding moving to somewhere cheaper. At the time i was thinking all 3 of us would move into somewhere more affordable. However, the suggestion of moving out, made Steve and Jimmy quite angry i guess. Because after the casual conversation of saying i wanted to talk about moving out, i was given the silent treatment by both of them. Wouldn’t talk or even acknowledge me. I was still going to work but on coming home i was finding things damaged or broken in my room, even had cat poo spread over my mattress and bed. I was looking and found a nice flat for myself. I started buying things for the new flat which i kept in my room (toaster and kettle). Due to things being broken and things going missing, i locked things away in a set of draws. One day when i came home from work, I found that the set of draws and been broken into, I kept all my valuables, account details and important documents in there. This was the last straw, i had moved out and into my new flat within the week. I had hoped that would be an end to it, but it turned out that was the beginning.

A couple of days after moving into my new flat away from my ex-flatmates i started getting friends and family reporting they had received abusive messages from my accounts. Everyone one of my accounts had been ‘hacked’ with abusive messages written all over them and some nasty messages had been sent. I Managed to recover most of my accounts but there were a number that had been deleted before i could get access back to them. I had kept these account details in the draw that was broken into, lost a lot of important information and photos that i’ll never recover. On unpacking the Toaster and kettle that i had brought for the new flat i discovered they didn’t work. It wasn’t until my dad took the plugs apart that he found that the wiring had been tampered with, so both the kettle and toaster were “live” when plugged in. My Xbox 360 had wires inside cut, I had over 30 DVD’s and CD’s scratched and had abusive messages on them.

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I Came home from work to my new flat and found that someone had attempted to break in, part of a key had been broken off in the lock, luckily no access was gained. I Contacted the police and they started to investigate. The next day i had been called into a disciplinary at work. As they ex-flatmates had sent emails to my manager with false reports, they were found to be incorrect and no further action was taking. I reported it again to the police and they started dealing with it as Domestic Abuse, due to mine and Steve’s past relationship. The police had contacted both Steve and Jimmy to advise them not to contact me, although this kind of worked the majority of things stopped, but somethings that they had done previously were still coming through. They had signed me up to various catalog companies and make purchases through it. Luckily i was able to get these stopped. They always signed me up to a Charity saying i need help, but i didn’t it was just to cause more stress and hassle. I Still to this day get intermittent messages to this day from them, but ignore them.

I must admit it is humiliating to know i put myself in that situation. By the time i realized what was happening, it was very hard to tell anyone or ask for help. So was just in a put up with it mood and hope it’ll get better, which it didn’t. Looking back on it now i feel so stupid for letting it happen. I know its not my fault, i didn’t ask for it, but at the same time i didn’t escape it, until it was too late and need the Police’s help. It is very embarrassing to admit that I am and will always be classed as a Domestic Abuse victim. Something i always thought that i’d never be, i’d never get into that situation. Life surprises you it sometimes lets things creep up. I Haven’t listed everything that happened or gone into to much details as it is still difficult to talk or think about even after 6 years. A lot of people will blame me for not doing things sooner and now i realize that i should of, but at the time i couldn’t see an exit. It is a scary thing to happen and a scary thing to admit that its happened to me.

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