“If you live to be one hundred, I want to live to be one hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you”

Winnie The Pooh

The abuse started whilst I was in High School and when I began acting out at School because of the pent-up frustration of keeping it a secret, I quickly lost my friends. To them, I was either being a drama queen (a phrase I hate!) or a rebel. Either way, they found my attitude and behaviour annoying and I began getting bullied by the people I had once called my friends. Unlike a lot of people, I spoke up about the bullying straight away and unlike a lot of occasions, the telling off they had from a Teacher actually got through to them and the bullying stopped. 

When it did, I felt so alone and was desperate to build new friendships, but I was also very cautious too. I had the thought process that I didn’t want anyone getting too close to me because it would make it harder for me to hide the abuse from them and it felt as though – for so many reasons – telling someone wasn’t an option. I was also worried because the person who abused had built a relationship with me first and I’d trusted and respected him (the Police labelled this grooming), so I was nervous that building that sort of friendship would make me vulnerable for them to hurt or upset me. 

Then, when High School ended and I had to move to a different school to study my A Levels, I was sort of thrown in the deep end in terms of making new friends and building relationships. Luckily, the abuse had ‘finished’ by then (2007) so I felt like a whole new person. A person who could bond with others, though I was still slightly removed and aloof in that I was unsure on getting too close to people out of fear that it would make me vulnerable. 

Then, when my mental health deteriorated and I spent three years in and out of hospitals, I think that the friendships I had built started to dwindle and also deteriorate because I was unable to commit to plans and if I did, I was often fairly disassociated and unable to really connect with them. The true test of all my friendships came when I was hospitalized to a specialist ward over 100 miles away from home for two and a half years. Luckily, we were allowed phones and laptops, so I was able to keep in touch with my friends and family through that and when I started my blog, I think that helped our relationships because it provided the opportunity to have insight into what was going on for me all those miles away.

The friends that I still have after the admission, and those that I have made since, mean so much to me that I’d like to give some of them a special shout-out and a little message each:

Ellie (bestfriend): Thank you for Melvin the Melon memories, being my fellow Harry Potter nerd, and giving me my godchildren

Jonas, Emmy, & Kasper (godchildren): Thank you for being unapologetically you

Lauren (bestfriend): Thank you for forever staying by my side

Jonny (boyfriend): <3 span="">

Mum: Thank you for fighting the battles when I couldn’t

Martin (bestfriend): Thank you for your unconditional support

Georgie (bestfriend): Thank you for the drunken London memories and for never abandoning me!

Becky (bestfriend): Thank you for never asking why

Angi (my Aunt): Thank you for being my the only other person who knows what it’s like to have not said goodbye to 

Emmy (my cat): Thank you for being so brave

Pixie (my bunny): Thank you for not giving up when you really could have

Cats Protection Tyneside Adoption Centre: Thank you for giving me Calico Catch-Up

Richmond Fellowship: Thank you for trusting me with thousands of responsibilities

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust: Thank you for improving

Time To Change: Thank you for being the first organisation to have faith in my blog

Northumbria Police: Thank you for always maintaining your ‘duty of care’ – even when I didn’t want you to!

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