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.
Adoptees. We're allegedly 16% of America's estimated 500 serial killers whilst we represent only 2-3% of the population1. We're also the heroes of pop culture from Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins, to Superman and Luke Skywalker. In real life we're Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Marilyn Monroe...and Ted Bundy.
When I think about Paul Gascoigne I think about his sheer resilience. His determination to provide for those he loved something that has eluded him his entire life. Yes he fell, hard. And he picked himself back up. Countless times. And as it stands he sadly has fallen more times than he has risen. But not because he had it all then threw it away further down the line.
Escaping pain never works. You can try, but there will always be a time when you are left alone in the abyss of your thoughts and the pain will re-surface. Drugs, sex, alcohol.. they are perfect engines for your own escape, but eventually they will become your consistent means of running away from what is actually hurting you.
An effect of trauma can be experiences of disorientation and disconnection. Impingement on a person can be so severe that it has the potential to inhibit the development or fracture fragile identity, or there is a need for pathological compliance with the demands of another that are inimical to your own best interests.