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Asking For Help - By Angie - Trigger Warning

Four years ago, I went through a very traumatic divorce. My ex-husband was a serious mental health patient. He was paranoid, delusional, and very manipulative. On several occasions he tried to throttle me. We had been married for 29 years, but his behavior started to change 3 months after we married. I’d been in a previous marriage which was very violent and abusive. In a way, I’d thought it was normal or my fault the police were called out regularly throughout the marriage.

I’d tried to leave several times, but he would drag me back. I just resigned myself to the fact that’s the way I had to live. He’d been in trouble with the police, which led me to nearly lose everything. Meanwhile, I had a daughter who at 13 changed completely. I thought it was puberty and she would grow out of it. My younger daughter was completely different but as my eldest daughter got older she got worse. Nothing I did was right but then she had two beautiful children who were my life, but she couldn’t cope. I ended up looking after them 5 days a week, along with my other daughter's baby as she had to be work. My oldest granddaughter got very ill when she was 9. So when eventually she was discharged from hospital, I would take care of her.

My grandson and my reason for living wouldn’t go home. I tried my best for my daughter, but it wasn’t good enough. Finally, after 17 years of bringing them up, she turned on me big time. I was always quiet and wouldn’t answer back. The ridiculous thing was she accused me of abusing her physically, and told the children something that was so awful. She stopped them from seeing me. Meanwhile, my ex-son in law wouldn’t have anything to do with her. He was under no illusions she’d also accused him of abusing her. He is the most gentle and laid back man. He is an excellent father to my youngest daughter.

By this time I had nothing to live for and I was in very poor health. I was having a lot of procedures, and my husband became more abusive. I was grieving for my two grandchildren and daughter; my heart was broken. One day after going into town I met an old friend of mine. He’d lost his son to suicide two years previous, and he used to pop around for a cuppa but had no idea my marriage was such a disaster (he was my first love when I was fourteen). Anyway, this particular day, he was sitting on a bench and asked if I would sit down and chat for a few minutes. My best friend came upon us, looked at me, and said “My god, you look rough. We must meet for a cuppa. You need to talk “

I turned away from my old friend as I’d stupidly started to cry and said, "sorry I have to go." The week after, he was on the same bench again and we started talking. I told him everything. We arranged to meet the following week. My younger daughter drove me. It was in public, but it became a regular thing, and although nothing was going on between us we both knew where it was leading. I eventually decided I’d had enough. I couldn’t live like I was, and couldn’t be with my now husband, until I’d made a complete break from my husband.

A few weeks later, things came to a head. My ex had pushed me too far. I summoned up the courage to tell him I didn’t love him and wanted a divorce. I can see me now so calm and in control on the outside, but sick inside. He thought it was a joke, but I calmly walked out, got in a taxi, and collapsed. I went straight to the surgery. They advised me not to go back that night. They told me to go to the police, who also told me not to go back that night, and to get hold of the emergency MH team. I felt it would tip him over the edge, but they wouldn’t do anything because I had no proof he would harm himself.

They advised me not to go home, so I stayed with my sister. I received several menacing, abusive phone calls, which she witnessed. The next day, I knew I had to go back again. Before I went back, I received more abusive calls. My sister really didn’t want me to go but I needed medication and my house was adapted for my disabilities. He then started to get agitated when I went in. Then he got nasty. He locked himself in the bathroom with a scalpel. After 20 minutes, I asked him to unlock the door and if he didn’t I would have no alternative but to call the police, which I did within 5 minutes. 6 policeman and 2 ambulances turned up; still, he wouldn’t open the door. The police gained entry. I had 2 police with me, one a female who was amazing. After asking me a lot of questions, and knowing his history, and looking at his computer, they said he’s obviously playing a game.

After this little game, he moved in with my daughter, but started freaking out if I went out. He would get in and move things strategically, turn the tv on, and pull clothes out of the wardrobe. My friend was helping me pack; we were sorting out one of the bedrooms where there was a large canvas photograph of me. It was gone. The first week it was gone, then when we went back the following week it was back with my eye gouged out, the throat slashed, and my heart cut out. Also, my face was slashed. It was frightening. Then he started to accuse me of stealing his possessions, which were in the house.

One night I found my computer had been hacked. He knew exactly what I was buying on line. He was watching my every move. I would go out and come back to find his possessions would be gone, and then he’d accuse me of taking them. Luckily, I had his 2 cousins as witnesses to this. By this time, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t see much of my daughter; obviously she was in a difficult position, but it upset me. My other daughter had let me raise her children, then turned on me (she has a personality disorder), so I hadn’t seen my daughter or her children for 3 years at that point. I was grieving really badly trying to sell the house.

I was originally not in good health and though I had plenty of friends, it wasn’t the same as having family. One morning I came down to find my elbow crutch, which I used to put under the door handle, thrown across my stairlift and the tv on yet again. It was truly frightening. In the end I had the locks changed, and the locksmith said mine had been deliberately tampered with. By this time (6 months after) I was seeing Chris but still only as friends, he was a great support to me. Time was going on and my ex deliberately made the divorce difficult. He pushed my solicitors bill up to £5.000.

18 months on it was still going on. By this time I was a wreck, but in front of friends and Chris I was strong, happy, and bubbly. This was when I made my first attempt and overdosed on morphine. I just wanted out for some reason. Chris was at his flat and felt something wasn’t right, so he came back and found me unconscious. He called the ambulance. This was doubly bad for my partner as his son had committed suicide five years previous. I was in a coma for two days; both daughters were upset. I was hoping my oldest would come around, but no, she didn’t. My other daughter was angry, understandably so, but still upsetting for me. I went on another year. I felt fine but then harassment started up again over selling the house. I eventually sold it cheap to get rid of it.

Chris and I eventually moved in together. We were broken into (not my ex though, although capable of a lot of things, not this) My ex found out where I lived through his solicitor, much to the police’s annoyance, and we woke up to find some unsavory graffiti painted on the wall. The police knew who it was but in their own words, ”didn’t wish too stir up a hornets nest", even though they mentioned his name several times. It hurt as I didn’t see anything of my other daughter and obviously I felt she didn’t want me, so I started grieving for the family I’d lost. They were what I’d lived for but I was a nervous wreck inside, still putting on a brave face but dying inside.

Everyone had thought I was doing really well, but on my grandson's 20th birthday, I really started to feel it. Everything caught up with me again, and this time I wanted to make a good job of it, so I went to bed early, my partner staying up to watch a film. There had been a lot of other things going on which I don’t want to go into. Even though the police had given me alarms and a panic button, I still didn’t feel safe. I went to bed thinking everyone would be better off without me. I obviously bring out the worst in people, so I took two full cups of Morphine and Tramadol. I wanted to make sure I did a good job this time so I calmly swallowed the lot down.

I felt pure relief. I knew what this would do because of my nurse training. When my husband came to bed he just noticed a very shallow breathing, panicked again, and ran a 100 meters to my daughter, who came down and phoned the ambulance. I’d stopped breathing so my daughter had to perform CPR. There wasn’t time for them to come in the ambulance. The result was I was in a coma for 5 days and when I was lucid, I was devastated. I had also worked in MH for 5 years, so I’m sorry to admit I fooled the Psych team, although I got the help I needed. This happened because of other people’s game playing. My friend, now husband, had been brilliant but others have called me manipulative and attention seeking. I know the truth. I was at rock bottom. I couldn’t see a way out. I don’t play games. I left the playground. 11 months on, I’m doing fine. I have a lot to deal with at the moment, but I don’t think about ending it. My friends, my sister, and my husband have all been there for me. Unfortunately, my other daughter and granddaughter,

I don’t see. I do have a text now and again.

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