There’s nobody rallying around for people like me

JoJo’s #MadCovidDiaries Diary 24.3.2020

We live in uncertain times. This is pretty much how my life has been for the last few years. I have been entangled in a variety of austerity issues from a flat that has unsafe cladding through to being overlooked for health and social care. As a consequence of austerity, ableism, and discrimination, my life has spiraled out of control.

I once enjoyed working in a specialist field, using my education and living a quiet life with my husband and cat. All that changed when I developed PTSD whilst under the treatment of the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). I was struggling to cope with working full time, completing my Masters and receiving an adult Autism diagnosis. I made the mistake of asking for help. This then spiraled into a cavalcade of ineptitude by local mental health services.

After a couple of years, the local team was restructured and I was assigned a different psychiatrist who had no training in Autism. Whilst I was struggling to make sense and meaning of this diagnosis, he decided to revoke it and re-diagnose me inevitably with BPD, and send me to a psychodynamic therapist. Within the course of 3 sessions I was psychotic and suicidal from the distress. I made my first ever suicide attempt and ended up under section on a men’s corridor on a locked ward at the local mental hospital. This and the subsequent gaslighting, iatrogenic harm and coercion by the CMHT who said that my reaction was unreasonable (I am a rape survivor) led to a breakdown that lasted over 5 years that left me unable to function in daily life.

In the last year, I have had little contact with the outside world. I have fought to try and get my distress and my voice heard in order to end the problems that have traumatised me. Trying to extricate myself from the flat that I no longer felt safe in, a flat valued at £0 that was unmortgageable and unsaleable under a contract that benefitted everyone bar my husband and I; trying to obtain a Personal Healthcare Budget; and trying to raise complaints about harmful and negligent NHS treatment. But above all, trying to be heard, understood and supported. Trying to resolve the spiraling problems that fell on indifferent ears.

I was repeatedly ignored and victim blamed and the more this happened the more I hid. I became agoraphobic and terrified of the world. For some unknown reason, I joined Twitter late last year and was shocked to discover that others had experienced the same. These institutions had led me to believe that I was at fault, was responsible and was being unreasonable. I had no idea that it wasn’t just me. The toxic interactions and reprisals came thick and fast. My trauma worsened, I became increasingly marginalized and overlooked. Justified anger at my situation was ignored and dismissed and has subsequently left my husband and I on the brink of homelessness, bankruptcy and with no conceivable support.

Ironically, as the shadow of coronavirus looms over us all, as people become more reflective on life, I’ve found myself giving up caring. I hope that a few people with some level of a moral compass and integrity, are sitting at home reflecting on their contribution to this dystopian world that we may soon be living in. I know that I have had ample free time over the last few years to cogitate on life. However, whilst it seems like the rest of the world is rallying around in some kind of jolly blitz-like community spirit, it is very evident that this still does not extend to me. I am still not included in the community. There have been no phone calls, texts or emails checking up on my wellbeing, no real-life practical support offered in terms of help shopping etc as I self isolate with my husband. Because of the past traumas caused by requesting help, asking for “help” is a very risky and dangerous strategy for my husband and I. Again, my husband and I don’t fit the demographic, region or indeed, any other measurable metric for support or community projects. Just as pre coronavirus, we still fall through the gaps and don’t belong. I hope that this will change.

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