Well the treatment and appointments for accident related injuries have stopped. Nothing more they can do. I still pop into Headway to feel ‘normal’ sometimes. Just to have someone understand my personality changes is a great comfort. Pain wise, I still pop painkillers like they’re smarties on a daily basis.
Last November I got a phone call from lawyer who had been passed my case from partner in the same firm. I had to go back to their offices twice for 3 or 4 hours (exhausted me) going over abso-bloody-lutely everything again. Like I could remember!! What time did you go to Charlotte’s? What time did you pick Julie up? What did you do next? Give me a break. Could barely remember it at the time, let alone 2 years later. I really really felt like a criminal. Questioning me over and over. At the end of the first session I cried and wailed “Do you believe me? DO YOU BELIEVE ME?!” “Well…I think you sound credible” she said. I felt like utter shit. So the next session I took my friend Jo with me. She understands and explains things, constantly calming and reassuring me. Brain injury report says I now have below average verbal comprehension – you might have to explain yourself a few times before I get it.
Unfortunately Jo couldn’t come to the barrister appointment with me. Another 2 hours of going over and over everything. And he got quite nasty with his questions and accusations. Especially about the amount of tweets I’d sent since the accident. Holding up a very thick pile of A4 (a ream?) his scary, disgusted face in mine saying they don’t paint a good picture. I cried with shame.
I still don’t get the problem. Think my tweets are boring and never intentionally offensive. It sort of explains my eventual breakdown & the dark days though. Having character brought into question was the worst.
Why was he being so horrible? I guess to see how I would hold up in court under questioning. Did I mention “they” were accusing me of making a fraudulent and dishonest insurance claim? The stress man, the stress.
I knew Barrister wasn’t going to take the case on. No win, no fee and it wasn’t worth his while. Even though they changed carpet (evidence) as I lay in ICU it would come down to my word against theirs. They were painting a picture of me as being an alcoholic, stoner & liar. But they lied. All I can do is believe in karma. But huge thanks to the Tories for taking away Legal Aid. Keep the poor, well, poor eh?
The 3 years to start court proceedings was up in 3 months’ time when I got a call from lawyer saying sorry, barrister can’t take it any further. Could they write to the other side and offer liability at 60/40, I take 40% of the blame. NO! NONE OF IT WAS MY BLOODY FAULT! But they had £45k of legal fees to claw back (god knows what for) and in the end I said do it. They STILL denied any liability. And that was that. Game over. Life changing injuries and years of stress. And they lied.
I am so grateful to the tweeters who hung around whilst I tweeted impending doom/meltdowns every single day. Hate myself for tweeting it all (my downfall apparently) but it was a release and I would do ANYTHING for distraction, to try and rid myself of that constant sick anxiety fear in my stomach.
I actually blocked 500 followers at one point. Had a locked account & knew I was under surveillance but didn’t know who it was. So went a-blocking. If you were one of the 500 I’m sorry, it wasn’t personal. It was me having a breakdown.
Right before my accident, Lyndon Marquis (@LyndonMarquis) fell down a mountain. An actual mountain. Had to be rescued. Proper trumped my stairs! And he was bloody brilliant. We both had further surgeries and he was in DMs supporting me for a long time. It probably helped that his injuries were visually hideous and put mine into perspective(!) but I can’t thank him enough. Check out his accident blog if you have time.
I’ve got over my social anxiety. In that I don’t call it that anymore – if I want to stay home and shut the world out I do and don’t feel guilty about it. I do regret missing a friend and my brother’s weddings. But I can’t cope with crowded places (the conflicting noises cause a meltdown) and there was no way I could go to a social happy event at that point without crying the entire time. My world was upside down and the fear of keeping a roof over our heads occupied my every thought. Still does.
I’m not going to mention the entire hell that was trying to claim a disability living allowance. And how they rang me one Friday afternoon to tell me my payments were stopping. That very second. And that included every other benefit, child, housing. They all stopped on a Friday afternoon. “But what I do?” I sobbed. Ring Job Centre on Monday morning apparently, you’re fit for work. I really wasn’t. I was previously that person that did every hour of overtime, took multiple jobs, not a lazy workshy person, thrived on being busy. If I manage to do one dog walk, one washing load and one washing dishes load in one day now I think of that as an achievement. Brain fatigue is a real thing.
Yesterday I spent the day trying to ward off anxiety. Don’t worry about something until it happens was something my ex husband taught me. And it worked until I bumped my head. Yesterday it was 2 years to the date I got that phone call from DWP and I’d sent in yet another 24 page health assessment form this week. Whether its true or not, I’ve heard they like to make those phone calls deliberately on Friday afternoons for maximum stress. I didn’t get a call. Yet.
From where I’m sitting now, if I got that phone call right at this second then yes, I probably would get tearful and feel a bit sick. But I would instantly start thinking of fixes. I wouldn’t start shaking from head to toe, sobbing with fear, thinking the sky was going to fall down, nausea and fear coursing through my veins, panic attack imminent, the only safe place under my duvet. That was my normal for 2 years. 2 whole years. [Spoiler: it all went smoothly, no appeal needed!]
But this is now year 4. I practise self-care every single day. Never want to return to my mental health of those 2 years. Luckily never been hugely materialistic and wandering around the woods with Bailey (that’s him above), no-one around, earphones in and singing loud makes me so happy. Feel bad the wildlife have to suffer for an hour, but my mental health is at stake here!
Things that make my heart sing:
Chasing sunsets with Sophie
Going to the rabbit (not sure if they’re hares!) field a 10 minute walk away purely to watch them hop around
Full moons, meteor showers, deserted beaches
And now writing. This a great distraction and very therapeutic. Once I start. Its making myself start I find the problem!
And I’m finally getting a bit back to myself. My sense of humour is definitely returning. You might not notice because its weird apparently(!) & I should really add “I’m joking!” to every tweet again. But I know its back and that’s all that matters. ONWARDS!
Nearly the end. Sorry its all over the place but you’re getting an insight into my brain – jump around! There’s one last accident related blog to come after this one then I’m back to blogging about The Secret and one-handed meal recipes . Thanks for reading.
Love you, bye 🙂
PS. remind me to tell you about the time after my accident when I said “love you, bye” to the woman in the veg shop by mistake. Obvs