It might still be a few months off, but I feel like my Thirtieth Birthday is looming and with it, my need to justify what I’ve achieved so far in my life. And it’s inspired this post…
Back in 2007 – when the abuse had just ‘ended’ – I had wanted to work in Law so that I could help others get justice for when they had been wronged. I think I was so passionate and eager to give a voice to those who deserved it, when I felt as though mine had been silenced for the past year. I wanted for others to feel that those who’d hurt and upset them in some way, had gotten the consequences and punishment that they deserved because for so many reasons, my abuser never did.
After my mental health deteriorated during my exams at School, I lost the opportunity to study Law at University and instead, found passion to go into Childcare. I guess that again, I was projecting my own experiences and harnessing them as motivation to work in a particular industry. My thinking behind Childcare was that I wanted to promote that children have a similar, innocent childhood to my own, but that they were also aware of all the things that I hadn’t been; and which hit me like a ton of bricks when I finally experienced them.
Again, though, my mental health prevented me from taking this aspiration any further and before long I was spending the following three years in and out of both medical and psychiatric hospitals worrying that I was wasting everyone’s time. This concern didn’t just come from my own thinking though, I was told this was the case by Police Officers and A&E staff. I think that from the Police force’s view, they were there to fight crime, catch perpetrators, and protect victims; and not to sit for hours on end with someone who was in a mental health crisis. But their legal obligation to have a duty of care for everyone, their powers under section 136 of the 1983 Mental Health Act, and the fact that mental health services are operating on a very low budget with a limited amount of staff has meant that they’ve become somewhat responsible for helping and supporting someone in a mental health crisis. Of course, they aren’t the ‘best’ or the ‘right’ people to do this job and I think that maybe those feelings of inadequacy led to a lot of frustration for Officers who also felt that this wasn’t what they had expected in joining the Police. Inevitably, the frustration was taken out on the nearest person and that person was often me. Except, because I was in crisis, I couldn’t understand or appreciate their side of things and to me, they were just being rude, insulting, and unfair in saying I was wasting their time.