I thought I would collapse from the pain of my grief, I literally imagined myself melting into the floor in one big grief puddle. I look back now, four years on, and wonder how I have survived. I suppose the reality is that I had no choice. Time doesn't stop just because a major tragedy happens in your life.
I personally interact with hundreds of women on a regular basis who have lived, and are living, through the shattering discovery that their partners and husbands have a secret sexual life. I am committed to giving them a voice so I asked them what they would tell you if they had the chance. Below is a summary of the major points they wanted you to know.
Life post-overdose had a different intensity to it - I couldn't run from my struggle anymore. I couldn't keep stuff shoved down and carry on regardless. I couldn't neglect my needs because saving myself after overdosing (I called the ambulance) was cementing a promise to myself - I was going to do this.
"He/she is difficult to engage." It's a term that I have often heard used by psychiatric staff when talking about patients. I was described as "difficult to engage" when I was under mental health services and now that I run a Suicide Crisis Centre, I frequently hear the same phrase used by psychiatric staff who signpost to us.
We've got to get better at reaching all of these women and girls. At recognising the ways in which gender, trauma, poverty, race, and other forms of inequality combine together to trap them. We need systems and services to recognise when women are experiencing these multiple forms of disadvantage, and to provide safe, effective, trauma and gender informed support.
Today's prison reform announcement from the Prime Minister comes at an important time for prisons, that have been facing increasing pressures for many years. As the departing Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, put it - never before has drug use in prisons been such a significant threat to their security or to the chance of true rehabilitation for offenders.