Overcoming Fear

Personal

Out of many facts about me, the fact that I am an assault survivor was not an issue I ever thought I would need to discuss online. And so – although I have fought not to let aggression towards me as a child affect the present, moving back to Newcastle meant that those old fears began to affect all aspects of my life.

One of the more enlightened decisions made by the authorities was to refer me to a cognitive therapist when I lived in London. Since then I have successfully used techniques from a type of cognitive therapy to help me to overcome my anxieties and remain positive. To this end I set myself targets to master (it doesn’t matter how small they are). I then make a list of how I will achieve those targets and continually appraise my own progress in achieving each aim towards my ultimate goal. At first my targets were tiny things which seemed huge at the time, like going for a walk.

Storyboard
What did you do in the war mum? Storyboard

I used to write it all down but I have been using these techniques for so long that they are totally internal now. I have rarely explained them like this, as I’ve never considered it to be all that interesting to anyone other than myself. The techniques may not work for everyone but they continue in the background, whatever else is happening in my life.

Rimers of Eldritch
Set model for the Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson ©

I hope that some good will come of my making this post, and that it may be helpful to some readers. My advice is not to share your journey on public social media platforms such as Twitter, as trolls can undo the work of twenty years in half an hour if you let them.

January 2017.

Paul Brown 1960 – 2017

Personal

I somehow missed the sad news that my fellow student in Group XVIII at Motley Theatre Design Course and sharer of my birthday – Paul Brown, passed away in November 2017. I think all the students in Group XVIII were aware of his other worldly talents as he worked away diligently in the corner of our studio at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. What I had to learn about design, Paul already knew. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

R.I.P. Paul Brown – Designer

Resurrection storyboard
Resurrection storyboard v

Surviving

Personal News. October 2017

When I was about 12 years old I eventually called 999 from a nearby phone box in North Tyneside regarding aggressive behaviour by my dad, which had been escalating to the point where he had punched me in the face. When two people from Northumbria Police arrived, I was told off, returned home, sent to my room and medicated for the rest of my teens. I was never questioned, no statement or discernible action was ever taken by the police, apart from involving the local NHS. Unfortunately this meant that I never got the opportunity to tell the police about a couple of school friends who were being abused either.

In my darkest moments since then, I have consoled myself with the thought that somebody, somewhere out there would now know what was happening to me, that they would be doing whatever it is that these people are supposed to do, and that in some dusty pre-digital file, there would be a record which would eventually vindicate my story.

It has taken until now, on receipt of a direct request by me, for the local authorities in Northumberland and Tyneside to finally admit what had become obvious to me, that they either never made, got rid of or lost any record of my call, which is presumably why I endured further assaults and continued to be pathologized throughout my adult life.

One of the more enlightened decisions made during my twenties in London was to refer me to a cognitive therapist. Since then I have successfully used techniques from a type of cognitive therapy to help me to overcome my fears, restore my self confidence and remain positive – all the while imagining that piece of paper in that dusty file.

Unfortunately I don’t think this technique was ever meant for some of the enormous issues I have had to deal with over time, such as decision making while my mother was terminally ill and long term gaslighting by my father and my brother. I often wonder what my cognitive therapist would advise.

Although I really have fought not to let my father’s aggression or my subsequent pathologization determine the rest of my life, the truth is that it really has. When I returned to Newcastle in 1996, all those old fears began to affect many aspects of my life again.

Sanctuary
Sanctuary Knocker, Durham Cathedral

I saw this Sanctuary knocker on a school trip to Durham Cathedral when I was about 14, trapped at home in Newcastle, on medication, understanding nothing. Although it was apparently intended to offer sanctuary to criminals, I remember wishing that I could find some kind of sanctuary from things at home. This idea imprinted itself on my consciousness and I still find it a powerful symbol.

I hope this post may be helpful to other people who have had similar experiences.

Rape Allegation I

Personal News. April 2015.

I have been making a rape allegation against 3 men since 1987. Unfortunately for everyone, around 2000, a decision was made to ignore these confidences and protect people within the authorities. Following advice from Northumbria Police that they didn’t intend to pursue the allegation and a death threat from a member of the Northumberland NHS in 2002, I withdrew the allegation in 2003 in order to try and protect my late mother, who was at that stage terminally ill.

Following this, I reported the case to a well known conflict resolution organisation, in the belief that this would enable me to position family or friends as go-betweens with the Police. My main aim at that time was to resolve things whilst my late mother was alive. Instead, I wasn’t permitted access to any intermediaries or legal representatives for the remainder of my mother’s life, when the use of hacking and blackmail became completely intolerable. Because of this, much evidence and other separate cases remained undisclosed.

As I have now lost all the people I was fighting for, I have withdrawn from any involvement in this case. My health, as well as my family and work life have all been affected. I mentioned the rape in order to do the right thing but it has achieved the exact opposite and I really wish I had never mentioned it.

Resurrection storyboard ii