December/Christmas had always been a fun extravagant time for us. We acted like kids for most part of it. It was full on preparation right from the start. From the food, the drinks, the tree, the colour of the decorations to match the table decorations. Each year there was a different theme. But not any more.
This Christmas raised my anxiety levels. No more “decking the halls” or “joy to the world”. No “Christmas time, mistletoe and wine” and no “all I want for Christmas is You!”
Thing is, try as I could, I could not avoid it. To get to my CBT sessions I had to make a two mile walk there. Due to the head trauma and all the other things, I was not allowed to drive.
The walk meant I had to make to make an unavoidable walk through a large shopping centre and High Street to get to the surgery on the other side of town. My anxiety and panic attacks began to rise to the surface. Avoidance was impossible, but I had my high collared jacket and my trusted baseball cap.
Each visit I arrived in the surgery I had high anxiety, panic mode as well as trembling through trying to enter “fight or flight” mode.
Through out December, the weekly CBT sessions managed to keep my anxiety levels low. Over the Christmas Holidays I was given all the out of hours numbers for the crisis team I could need, and told to get to A&E if there were any serious issues. There were a block booking of appointments for January made that would take us up to the court date in February.
I was thankful for all the support that I had received. Fingers crossed 2015 is a better year.
January came, and so did the police. It was now time to make my impact statement: how 5th October 2014 had changed my life for ever. From what I have written so far, it’s plain to see the impact it had made. There will be a far greater impact statement at a later date.
Throughout January I received more CBT preparing me for the upcoming trial mid-February. The day loomed closer and closer. The Big Black Dog had become more of a puppy to me for now.
Part of my therapy, the Crown Prosecution Services gave me a familiarisation tour of the courts the week before the trial to help ease my anxiety. The day arrived. I was pre-armed with Diazepam and an arsenal of CBT tactics to get me through the day.
We arrived at the County Courts at our allocated time. Sat waiting in the witness room. The police entered with the prosecution barrister: “We have some news. A plea of guilty has been accepted on three counts, so the jury has been sent home…”
I held my breath “… However, there is a plea of not-guilty on the charge of Section 18 GBH wounding to cause serious and/or fatal injury to yourself. So the trial goes ahead.”
I was called to give witness. Questioned by the prosecution for nearly 60 minutes. EVERY CBT tactic was carried out. Breath control and distraction to name but a few. It was the toughest round of questioning I had ever faced. At the end of the questioning from the prosecution, I heard words from the defence that I was not expecting:
“You’re honour, I need to speak with my client.”
“Recess of 30 minutes!”
I was told that I had to sit in a room on my own. The court clerk advised that as I was suffering anxiety, that may not be advisable. The Judge permitted me to sit in the witness room, however, I had to remain silent.
Thirty minutes came and went. Then the police and the prosecution barrister came in to the room: “A plea of guilty has been accepted…..” Everything else said in that sentence just blurred in to one. I returned home later that afternoon. Of course there was celebration.
Now the real healing began.