I feel like a criminal. It started in hospital, where many of the nurses thought it ok to shout at patients.
Back then, I felt I had done something awful. Funnily enough, the night the police brought me home they treated me with compassion. They didn’t make me feel bad. They certainly didn’t make me feel like a criminal.
I’ve done nothing wrong – I haven’t hurt anyone
I know I’ve been sick. I haven’t hurt anyone. My children have always been safe and cared for. The families I have worked with have always had the best of me. I am not and have never been a danger to anyone apart from myself. So why do I have to jump through hoops to get on with my life?
Why have my children been interviewed to see if they are happy?
Why am I not allowed to serve God in accordance with the gifts he has given me?
And even though a psychiatrist states I have never been a risk, why am I still having to get evidence?
I live through this nightmare
Still I live through this nightmare where I am treated as a criminal. Innocent until proven guilty clearly doesn’t exist in the church of England, or when you have depression. My counsellor reassured me that the thoughts I was having, how awful they made me feel, were all part of obsessional thinking. A fear of acting in an abhorrent way that would never occur, like a mother thinking she may harm her children. An abused child feeling they may be a paedophile. The child of an alcoholic believing they will become an alcoholic too.
Studies show that most people have obsessional thoughts, and while some of us see them as just thoughts, others like me worry that they are real issues, and become anxious about preventing behaviours that they would never put into action.
They never told anyone
A friend of mine confided that after her child was born, she and her husband covered up her depression. Eventually she got counselling, after stabbing her husband as he tried to prevent her slitting her wrists. They covered this up when he attended A&E. They never told anyone at the time. She caused physical harm to her husband. They lied to authorities. She was caring alone for a small baby with no voice. Yet no-one prevented her from seeing her son unsupervised. Her colleagues did not haul her over the coals, or request medical evidence that she was not a danger.
We trusted people
No, they were clever. They obviously were more suspicious of the system than me. They lied, covered it up and she was able to keep her job, her dreams and rebuild from a low point. Unfortunately we told the truth. We trusted people, we trusted our friends. Then they treated me like I had done something awful. It was awful. When someone has low self esteem and is filled with self-hate, that doesn’t do much to improve their emotional health. They start to believe they really are a terrible mother. A monster.
They withdraw further. They might just believe that this will hang over them forever. If that’s the case, perhaps the battle isn’t worth fighting. Perhaps you have extinguished that tiny flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here