I had another kind of post planned for tonight but as I’m feeling sort of melancholy and I’m waiting on LM to fall asleep before I sneak up for a bath, I wanted to write about something that has been in the forefront of my mind for the past couple of weeks. Not dominating or anything, but there, that little niggle.
Two years ago last week I text my best friend to come and get me. Two years since I walked away from a domestically abusive relationship. It’s still hard to say, sometimes I barely even believe it was me it happened to. You hear all those stories but you never for one second believe it will happen to you. But it did. It happened to me, and if it wasn’t for my best friend offering to keep us safe at her house, I’m not even sure I’d even be here to write this today, because things were getting worse and worse. And if it wasn’t me who’d eventually fallen apart, it would have been him who had destroyed me.
I try to keep these sort of depressing and morbid topics to a minimum on my blog, it’s one thing to have the odd moan, but no one wants to read about a Debbie Downer 100% of the time! But since this past week marked two years since I officially changed my status to “single mum” I wanted to share some of the journey I’ve been on over that time that gets me to today.
For the first two months I lived with my best friend Bee, please check out her blog Journeys are my Diary if you haven’t already as she’s officially my hero. She arrived that day with her two children and her other best friend, Nat and her family. Between us we packed up my belongs and the two cars and fled. I will be eternally grateful for them that day. Bee gave up her bedroom to LM and I, she put up with crying in the night (from both of us) and a complete disruption of their daily routine. She was a shoulder to cry on. When I needed to get drunk, she had wine, when I needed to smoke, she had cigarettes, when I needed to shout and scream, she hugged me afterwards. The long and short of it, I was a mess. I dealt with daily harassment and threats from my ex, and my daughter was only 4-6 months old at the time! And Bee put up with it all. But finally I had to call it quits and return home to the safety of my parents, mainly for my own mentality and the fact LM would not sleep.
Then I spent a year at my parents. For the rest of 2012, I was still being battered by verbal abuse in the form of emails. My self esteem was being completely undermind and I was constantly looking over my shoulder. I was so anxious and convinced myself everyone hated me I started to distance myself from my friends despite suffering from crippling loneliness. That’s how Cocktails in Teacups was born under the name of What Amy Did Next. I needed a new focus. I tried to go back to work but it just destroyed my nerves and as a single mother I wasn’t flexible enough to waitress anymore. So by January I was now jobless and living with my parents. Two things I hadn’t been for 6 years. My self esteem was at an all time low, my mentality was shot to pieces and I was struggling to be a good mum when my inbox was spammed by my ex threatening to take my daughter. That’s when I finally felt brave enough to seek legal action.
My solicitor is probably one of the most amazing woman I have ever met. She not only helped me with my legal rights and battle for custody, she helped me mentally too. She was the outsider I needed to tell me I was a good mother, I was doing what was right and that I would get through it. Sometimes it’s easier to see the truth when it comes from an outside perspective. She got me in touch with the right people so I could just talk about what happened but through the talking it brought the nightmares. I’d shut out everything that had happened and talking Women’s Aid dragged them to the surface. I couldn’t sleep and I was so paranoid. This only got worse when I moved into my own home with LM. I would bar the door and any strange cars outside would have me hiding. The move definitely unsettled me and sent me back a step.
I fell apart in court. It was the most horrific experiences of my life and it didn’t even make it to the court room. He walked away but he was there, in the next room and I could hear him. I had the worst panic attack of my life and that was just the start of them. Even though it was over and I walked home with an extended restraining order and my daughter my own. I continued to have panic attacks. These got worse and worse and then by Christmas they’d triggered my insomnia. In January, my councillor referred me back to the nurse and for the first time in my life I was prescribed something. I started sleeping again, I stopped having panic attacks and for the first time in years, I could see clearly. I could start making plans for a future, I could start seriously considering another relationship. I started feeling attracted to men again! This was something I didn’t think possible! I know I can’t stay on them forever, but for the time being, they give me a chance to sort my life out, and my self esteem.
I look back on last year as the blackest year of my life. Every day was a constant struggle. But now I sit here and think of everything I have accomplished with the help of my friends, family and of course the support from professionals. That man tried to take my life away, my daughter, my friends, my freedom and not forgetting my self worth. He wanted me to have nothing, to be nothing apart from what he decided I was. I can see clearly that he dictated to every single part of my life and punished me if I didn’t comply. It wasn’t me, it was him. And I know this because of how far I’ve come from that girl two years ago who lay clutching her 4 month old daughter on the sofa covered in bruises all because I asked to come home for my sisters birthday… because that is what started to chain of events. That’s what lead me to finally leave… I asked to come home for my sisters birthday..
Last month I took my beautiful and smart two year old daughter to a Disney park, something he swore he would never let me do. I have a wonderful home that is filled with only our things and Little Miss wants for nothing (no wonder she’s a little Madame sometimes!) I have some of the most amazing friends and some fantastic people who are simply on my side. A brilliant family who love and adore Little Miss. I get paid to do something I love (sometimes) and I’m in education again. I also have created something I look at and feel proud of (other than my daughter). Cocktails in Teacups has been the life line I so desperately needed. And now at almost 900 followers, I thank you all for reading and taking the time to follow my (mis)adventures. Please stay tuned!