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 on my outdoor blog. Unfortunately I was outed by an organised group of trolls who were constantly haranguing me on my outdoor sites. I really resented feeling pressured into confiding about this issue on my blog, rather than here on my personal site.
And so – I am still feeling my way around how to express this issue. 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.
Since my twenties I have successfully used cognitive therapy techniques to help me to overcome my anxieties and remain positive. To this end I set myself various targets to master (it doesn’t matter how small). 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.
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.
To illustrate using an example of this process, I often set targets which challenge or conquer my fears, so I set myself a target to become experienced at wild camping on my blog. To achieve that target I set five goals:
To set myself some hard and fast challenges which would give me a reason to wild camp, and some deadlines to work towards. (I made the mistake of sharing an early challenge on Twitter, and it was completely savaged by trolls).
To gradually assemble a kit in which I have confidence.
To progress gradually from bed and breakfasts to wild camping on my long distance trails.
To seek advice and support if needed. Some people have been very helpful (hopefully they will know who they are, and who they are not).
To recognise when people are trying to undermine me.
I can only hope that some good will come of my making this post, and that these methods may be helpful to some readers. My advice is not to share it on public social media platforms such as Twitter, as trolls can and will undo the work of twenty years in half an hour if you let them. Remember that this is entirely their problem and not yours. Hopefully social media safety people will realise this eventually and toughen up their responses.
I am selling some limited run signed prints & postcard sets of various designs and drawings from film and theatre projects. 10% from every sale goes to Crisis UK, the charity for the homeless. To order any item/s please use the contact form to let me know your requirements.
Set of 6 Assorted Costume Postcards – £3.00
These costume design postcards are taken from original drawings for various theatre and film projects. They would make an ideal gift for anyone interested in design, costume, fashion or theatre. Each set of 147mm x 104mm postcards comes in a clear, sealed polypropylene pack (164mm x 118mm). Postcards are printed on matt recycled card. This assorted pack includes the following costume designs:
Queen Victoria. Early Morning by Edward Bond.
Lucette Gautier. Cat among the Pigeons by George Feydeau.
Baz. Hard Feelings by Doug Lucie.
Lodovico. The White Devil by John Webster.
Baroness Duverger. Cat among the Pigeons by George Feydeau.
Comic character design.
Set of 4 Queen Victoria Costume Postcards – £2.50
This set of 4 matching postcards shows a costume design for Queen Victoria from Early Morning by Edward Bond. The cards are are printed on matt recycled card and come in a sealed, clear polypropylene pack measuring 164mm x 118mm with the cards measuring 138mm x 107mm and would make a unique gift for lovers of old school correspondence.
Reproductions – £10.00
Also for sale are a limited range of signed reproduction costume drawings measuring 297mm x 210mm which are suitable for mounting and framing. If you would like to order reproductions of any design drawings featured on this website, please use the contact form to discuss your requirements.
I have released a set of four complimentary showreels to highlight the different specialisms within my design work. Take a look at my YouTube Channel to view my Design, Costume, Set and Teaching showreels on my Showreels playlist.
When I was 12 years old I eventually called 999 from a nearby phone box regarding aggressive behaviour by my dad, only to be told off, returned home, 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 to involve the NHS.
However, in my darkest moments since then, I have consoled myself with the thought that somebody, somewhere out there would now know what was happening, that they would be doing whatever it is that these people are supposed to do, and that in some dusty 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 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 life.
Although I really have fought not to let the aggression or the subsequent pathologization of me determine the rest of my life, the truth is that it really has. Since returning back up north, those old fears began to affect many aspects of my life again.
One of the more enlightened decisions made during my twenties in London was to refer me to a cognitive therapist. I successfully used cognitive therapy techniques to help me to overcome my fears, restore my self confidence and remain positive whilst I lived down south, all the while imagining that piece of paper in that dusty file.
Since I moved back up here, I have been using this technique, but I don’t think it was ever meant for the enormous issues I have had to deal with, and I often wonder what my cognitive therapist would advise.
I saw this Sanctuary knocker on a school trip to Durham Cathedral when I was about 14, trapped at home, 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.