I would like to announce that I have recently moved northwards to Edinburgh and am presently available for work. If you would like to discuss work in general or a particular project please use the contact form on this website.
I have updated the content on this site so you can now find CVs, links to my showreels, and a selection from my portfolio and research, here.
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 about various issues. Fortunately I have screenshots of their comments as I really resent feeling pressured into confiding about this issue in this way on my blog, rather than here on my personal site.
And so – I am still feeling my way around how to express this issue which began at the age of about three. Although I have fought not to let aggression towards me as a child affect the present, moving back up north meant that those old fears began to affect all aspects of my life.
Since my twenties (in the pre digital era), I have successfully used cognitive therapy techniques to help me to overcome my anxieties and remain positive. To this end I set myself various small and large targets to master (it doesn’t matter what they are or 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.
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 (which has up to now been private), 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, because my own development matters.
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 however, 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.
For information, all my attempts to resolve various issues with my local authorities between 2000 and 2009 when my mother was terminally ill, finally failed completely and catastrophically due to a hacker shortly before my mother passed away in 2009. As yet I have received no acknowledgment that this has happened, admission of guilt, or apology.
Most of the issues I had sought to discuss remain completely unresolved.
As a digital immigrant, I didn’t really know much about online safety when I created this site, and my outdoor site in which I used a pseudonym, in 2012. The aims of my outdoor sites were to celebrate the life of my late mother and to remind myself, after her long illness, that beauty and kindness still existed in the world. Naively I thought that is what the internet was for. Because of this, I didn’t know how to react or who to turn to when my sites were targeted by cyberstalkers, malware and organised trolling.
Since my mother passed away in 2009, I have made repeated attempts to refer people to this site for information and news. However, the one thing I am learning is that trolls can’t, or won’t, read. Instead they seem intent on wreaking emotional devastation, and pressured me into disclosing private information on my outdoor site. These experiences have forced me to change my approach to the internet and social media.
I am trying to balance out the positive contribution the internet can make against the immense loss and emotional damage being caused by hackers and trolls, and the lax safety responses from some of the companies involved. As a result, I regret to say that I may lock or restrict some of my sites sometimes. I would be grateful if people could respect the privacy of myself and my family.
Everything else will hopefully carry on with improved productivity in a less toxic environment.
When I was 12 years old I eventually called 999 from a nearby phone box regarding aggressive behaviour by my dad which began when I was about 3 years old, only to be told off, returned home, and medicated for the whole 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 I was twelve, 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.
Well, here we are over 40 years later and it has taken until now, on receipt of a direct request by me, for the local authorities to actually admit what had become obvious to me, that they either never made, got rid of or ‘lost’ any record of my call. This is presumably why I continued to be assaulted and medicalised throughout my life and nothing was ever done.
Although I really have fought not to let the aggression or the subsequent medicalisation of me as a child determine the rest of my life, the truth is that it really has. Since returning back up north, those old fears and archaic medical attitudes began to encroach on many aspects of my life again.
One of the more enlightened personal 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. Somewhere.
Since I moved back up here, I have been mining this technique for all it’s worth, 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 the Sanctuary knocker (above) on a school trip to Durham Cathedral when I was about 14 years old, trapped at home, on medication, understanding nothing. Although the knocker at Durham was apparently intended to offer sanctuary to criminals, I remember wishing that I could knock on something like it and find some kind of sanctuary from things at home. This idea imprinted itself on my consciousness and I still find it a powerful symbol.
As my father is in his late 80s now, I think it is a bit late for recriminations against him at this stage, unless there are any further occurrences. It is very difficult for me to talk at the moment as I am financially trapped in his upstairs flat. My brother has never made himself available to discuss this issue.
I hope this post may be helpful to other people who have had similar experiences.