Angel, my Angel
It was almost twenty years ago that
I was so down and desolate
I felt trapped in an abusive relationship
At times I felt very desperate
The early days were carefree and fun
He really was a tonic
Which helped me to fell confident and calm
I sat and passed my finals without panic
However, over the course of three years
His personality changed
He became like Jekyll and Hyde
The memories of that awful night he attacked me, remain with me
That night, I almost died
“Sorry”, he said as he cried
But the abuse, the put-downs, the jeerings and the cruelty continued
Each day I would wake, not sure of his mood
So disrespectful towards women,
His comments often lewd and crude.
One day I recall, I had had just enough
I took some vodka and pills
This for me,
Was really not a bluff.
After unscrewing the bottle and reaching for the pills
I was looking forward to sweet oblivion,
The end to all my ills
Then all of a sudden, I heard a voice shout:
“Put down that bottle, young lady,
You’re not too old for a clout!”
It was Granny Minnie, who’d passed the year before:
Such a shock, did I get on hearing her voice,
The bottle slipped from my grasp
And fell to the floor !
My Angel saved my life that day
My Tormentor was not worth it
I soon gained the strength, with her help, to walk away
Thanks to My Angel, I finally did it !
I began writing early 2012 as a way to heal from my past issues, and I found the Spiritual Writers Network platform online on day. I would enter their writing competitions with the prize being to have your work published in various anthologies.
I entered the above poem and the story behind it and had it published in “Touched by an Angel- a collection of Divinely Inspired Stories & Poems” (available on Amazon)
My job involves working with and supporting vulnerable mums who deal with poor mental health. At Motherwell, we try to hold these mums until they feel strong and resilient enough to move forward with their lives after having experienced trauma, such as having their children removed from their care.
From the outside looking in, people often assume that mums who have Looked After Children are often just “bad mums”. What they don’t realise is that very often, the mum has experienced past trauma which has impacted on her mental health to the point that she feels unable, (despite loving her children) to look after her children properly. The historic trauma has eroded her self-esteem and confidence to the point that she has made poor decisions in relationships or lifestyle choices,for example that she is deemed to be placing the child at risk by not leaving the unhealthy relationship, or continuing on the road to self-destruction. The children are placed in care and social services only arrange to see the mum in core meetings, for example to discuss the children’s future. The mum is left alone: terrified and isolated. She often has no support networks and she doesn’t know who to turn to for help. The mum’s mental health deteriorates even further, and they continue on that merry-go-round, unable to get off. This only exacerbates her situation.
It is all too easy to judge when you have never suffered with poor mental health, or have never been the survivor of abuse. My story demonstrates that your mental health is very fragile, and if not looked after properly, can and will break. This can happen to any one of us.
When I was just twenty one, I had my first proper relationship. I suffered three years of constant abuse at the hands of a guy who initially was lovely and charming. As is the norm with abusers, their behaviour becomes worse over time. It’s such a gradual process that it is almost imperceptible. They know just how to play with your mind, using manipulative and controlling behaviour that is so subtle, that where you were once so confident, you begin to doubt yourself and you find yourself going to him for “reassurance”.
In short, abusers are very clever, and it is never your fault if you have ever been the victim of abuse.
As my poem mentions, I was considering suicide at one point, as it was the only way that I felt I could get rid of him and his control over my life. I do truly believe that my grandmother in Spirit did come to me that night and helped to give me the strength to finally walk away from this extremely unhealthy relationship.
I did move on. I married and had a son, and we were together for sixteen years until sadly, we divorced in 2012.
However, I still feel that I got the better of my abuser. I did not let him steal my future. Even though my marriage did not last, I do not regret it.
Even though I have moved on, ( I am almost fifty now), those awful memories will remain with me forever. Over the years I have dealt with episodes of depression and anxiety as my time with him had completely eroded my confidence.
I had another distressing episode a couple of years ago, which was unrelated to my abuse, but at the same time, I absolutely feel that had I not experienced it, I would not suffer with these feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem. I was lucky, as I got help and support, and although I still take anti-depressants, I am now in a stronger position. I have healthy friendships and I hold down a full time job supporting mums with fragile mental health.
I wake up every day, and I thank God I’m still alive. I still have those bad days, but I remind myself that it’s only a bad day, and not a bad life. Some mums I work with have assumed that I do not understand how they feel, but I really do. I know how it feels to be so far on the ground that you cannot lift your face. I know just how much strength it takes to get out of bed in the mornings and put one foot in front of the other. I know how it feels to feel “dead” inside.
I want those mums to know, that where there’s life, there’s hope.
Take that step, no matter how small, and accept the support that is out there. Lift your head up and look them in the eye and know that you can do this !