OK so this blog does not exist for no reason. As much as we have fun, it is a life project and a serious thing. So I feel like telling you what has happened because there’s been a major setback and the life one actually wants seems a bit remote right now.
I was severely beaten up last Wednesday. It was by a mentally ill person who was having a break with reality. They battered me and trashed my flat. I can’t say any more as it is very much a live case and the police are looking for them.
I feel like I am having to work on recovery and if TLYW has a purpose, that is it. Making recovery happen. I need to tell you how I feel and what I’m doing about it, so here it is.
Wednesday evening, unexpectedly and severely beaten. House trashed. Police called. They look at my injuries and call an ambulance. I called Moody the Artist at what is now late in the evening and he comes to hospital with me where I have x-rays of my head, jaw and throat. Meanwhile the police photograph my flat as it is a crime scene.
At the hospital all night. In the morning, go home and sleep for a couple of hours. Moody stays with me until Friday evening and I don’t know how I would have coped without him. This period, the first 48 hours after it happened, was a whirlwind of activity. I was in bad shape physically. I received a sustained beating, mainly to the head and neck but also involving being grappled and wrestled, meaning my upper arms are swollen and black with bruises, I was very stiff in my back because of being kicked, and so on. Plus, you know, head injuries. At the hospital they x-rayed me and consulted each other a lot because there was a debate about whether my eye socket was fractured. We think it is all in one piece. My face and neck swelled up like a football. I couldn’t see out of one eye because my face was so swollen. I don’t seem to have lost any teeth. I am so, so, so lucky that he picked the side of my head that doesn’t have a newly-built synthetic cheekbone and £12,000 of titanium implants.
Those first 48 hours, I was like a rag doll. Things kept happening. I had to make return visits to the hospital for more x-rays, different police officers called round repeatedly for different things, I had to deal with an emergency window repair man and a locksmith and a pair of professional cleaners. I could be awake just long enough to sign things and give statements and let people in and then I would experience overwhelming exhaustion and need to lie down. I spent most of the first 48 hours in bed. Moody swept up glass and brought food and answered the door and cared for me as though we were in a pre-existing relationship.
Then he left and everybody left and the silence was deafening. And it was the weekend.
Saturday, Sunday, I rested at home. My bruises go black, then blacker. I have a black eye, my face, neck and arms are still swollen, one ear is swollen and I have black fist marks on my jaw, which took a lot of beating, and also in a line all down the side of my neck and on the front of my throat. Brushing my teeth hurts and so does eating and washing my hair and my left ear is too swollen to clean. I started to feel a little bit stronger physically. That’s when the emotional impact started to kick in. For the first couple of days, I didn’t feel anything at all emotionally because every ounce of my energy was going on physical recovery, just the same as if you were in a car accident or came off a bike or something. I was surprised how emotionless I was. I was just very, very beaten up and exhausted and needed to lie down and go unconscious a lot in between answering questions and signing forms. Then yesterday, Sunday, I started to come back to life emotionally and I was tearful.
Today is Monday and I’m technically back at work because Thursday and Friday last week were all the time off that I’m going to get, it is really not funny. The work doesn’t stop. The work is what keeps the money coming in and paying the bills and supporting everybody. So I am working at home and trying to get back into it.
Today was the first time I’ve left the house since it happened, except to go to the hospital. It took a lot of courage to go outside today. I went out early to buy milk and then a few minutes ago I went to collect the post from my office and it was scary. It was scary in case this person who is quite likely to return to my house, while I sit here like a sitting duck, was waiting outside. It also is not pleasant being stared at, and the people such as the cleaners who saw me over the last couple of days have tended to not only stare but gasp and I can’t handle it.
The weather out there is nice. People are walking around in their summer clothes. I am walking around in long sleeves and a scarf. I had in mind that I would start my regular walking programme again on return from Chile but I feel a long way separated from that right now. I feel very, very unfit and fragile and I don’t want to be looked at. Meanwhile it is glorious sunshine and people are looking forward to the long Easter holiday weekend and I’m not going to see any of it because I have an amount of work on that is making me cry right now, thinking about it, and at the same time I might as well work because going outside feels like a big challenge.
I am not sleeping well. I am afraid to sleep at night in case something happens and I can’t defend myself. So then I’m exhausted during the day and that’s not helping me work.
I gained loads of weight while I was in Chile and I’m glad now for those few extra pounds of fat because I was beaten hard and for quite a long time. This wasn’t a quick lashing-out, a quick single punch in the jaw in the heat of the moment, it was sustained violence. The kind that lasts several minutes, the kind where you can be on the phone to emergency services while the blows are falling, the kind where you will wonder if you will make it out alive, the kind where you are concentrating so hard on survival that you lose control of your bladder, the kind where you have to use all your concentration to dodge blows to the head, the kind where you need to escape and the only way to escape from the corner and out through the door is to move closer to the person who says they are going to kill you and is punching you in the head to show that they mean it. The kind where a few extra pounds of body fat are suddenly your best friend.
Here are some things not to say to somebody who has recently experienced this kind of traumatic event:
- “I am so worried about the person who attacked you.” Yes, we all are, they are obviously very mentally unwell and they need mental health services urgently, but they are not here right now and therefore they are at least temporarily out of reach. I am still here, meanwhile.
- “They must be so scared.” Yes, and I was scared when I was being beaten so hard that I pissed myself.
- “Try not to think about it.” Hello. It doesn’t work quite like that. Especially at night when you can’t sleep.
- “You can wear sunglasses.” Eventually, maybe. I can wear sunglasses when the swelling on my cheekbone and eye socket goes down enough that wearing glasses doesn’t hurt. Then I just have the rest of my body to think about.
- “Me and my girlfriend don’t need this.” Dear neighbours. Sorry for the noise and the inconvenience. I’ll try to let myself be killed quietly next time. Sorry if that interrupted whatever BBC crime drama you were watching on TV. Also, try to use better grammar next time you’re complaining.
So that’s me.
Things to do:
- Insurance claim. A lot of things around my house are broken and torn down and torn to pieces. My computer was destroyed. Thankfully my laptop escaped punishment, hence being able to talk to you.
- Household repairs. This is going to be a list in its own right, quite a long one. A lot of things need to be replaced and mended. I have holes in my walls that need to be plastered. It’s not good.
- Cleaning and clearance. There are large broken objects that I’ll have to pay someone to take away, more stuff that needs to go into storage and after that there will be an underlying layer of deep cleaning in parts of the house that I couldn’t access very easily.
- General housework. I had professional cleaners in so at least my two main rooms are clean but because everything got thrown around, everything that is not rubbish is in disarray, in a series of shopping bags and it will take weeks and weeks to organise it and get it back together.
- Start going outdoors every day because I desperately need some fresh air and some exercise.
- Remember how to do my job and get on with it urgently because I am not going to get any holiday until next month at the very earliest.
And that’s all the news. I don’t know when I will see Moody again and I am not desperate to see him right now, even though I’m incredibly grateful for the 48 hours of intensive nursing care that he provided. I am too exhausted and miserable to be able to deal with it. I just want this whole thing to be over and I don’t know how to make it be over. It isn’t over. It’s making me feel tired. 1 Survival point.