Before you read any further, I have to put in place a TRIGGER WARNING. Sometimes trigger warnings make people want to read things more. This blog has descriptions of sexual assault. Please do not read on if you feel this could trigger you, cause you distress or upset.
I have not been writing much about my past lately. The reason is because of nightmares. But I am going to try something new. Insted of not speaking about my nightmares, I’m going to see if speaking about them makes it easier for me. If it takes the intensity out of them. I guess this blog , in some ways, is a selfish act on my part. I would never want to put the thoughts and memories in my head into that of another. Hence why I have added the trigger warning.
I don’t know how this blog will be received but let’s do it anyway. I suffer with PTSD from events in my childhood and kidulthood. The PTSD manifests in different ways at different ways. I was offered counselling. The waiting list was horrific and when I did have it I can honest to god say it made things much worse. I remember talking, wanting to see if this would help, so I just spoke about so much stuff. At one point I could see the visible shock/horror/disgust on this mans face. He couldn’t hide it. I went for 5 weeks. On the 5th week I spoke about a nightmare I kept having. I sort of got lost as I was talking, the counselor was there, but I was kind of talking to myself. Going into detail about that day. I looked up as I was talking and the look on that mans face….wow….It reminded me why I had always chosen not to talk about stuff. People don’t want to hear it. I don’t blame them.
I suffer from nightmares. Have done as far back as I can remember. My nightmares are….one of the worst parts of my life. If I could make them go away my life would be so much better.
The nightmares have different effects. For a start…. I can’t sleep. I fall asleep and then wake up because they are so bad and then I don’t want to go back to sleep in case I dream it again. I sometimes can’t tell if its real or not for a second when I wake up and that makes me feel really unwell after.
Sometimes I wake up and I’m mid panic attack. Or I am heaving……sick to my stomach. Or I am gasping for breath like I am drowning.
Sometimes I wake up crying. I’m not sure if I wake up and start crying instantly…or if I cry wen I am sleeping and then wake up crying.
Sometimes I wake up and have to check if the kids are ok. Sometimes I forget that 2 of them don’t live here.
People often ask me what my nightmares are like. I don’t often talk about it.
My dreams (not my nightmares) are always boring. I never fly or have powers or anything like that. It is always normal everyday stuff. Some memories playing over. Sometimes recent events. Sometimes made up stuff. But always just real life.
I have never slept well. Never. My daughter says that I wake up even if the cat meows. Its true. And when I wake up at any time of the day, I am wide awake. I can open my eyes and fully function. Something I must have developed years ago.
I don’t think I have been in a deep sleep for years.
I can’t fall asleep.
No matter what routine or what I do I struggle to get to sleep. It’s so frustrating laying there at 1am knowing I need to get up at 6. Last night I must have gone to sleep at 1 and then woke at with a bad one…. that’s how I refer to the worst nightmares…. the bad ones. I woke up and didn’t get back to sleep until 3 and then up at 6.
Sometimes my nightmares can affect my mode for the day. Sometimes the hang over me…reminding me…. taunting me…even in my waking hours.
My nightmares repeat. So, I have the same nightmare for weeks on end but usually with different endings. Its like I have to keep playing it out until I accept the “True” ending. I am sometimes falling asleep and then release I am going into that nightmare and must try and pull myself awake.
So, what do these nightmares consist of…Fear, anger, regret.
Some of them are real life things that have happened in my life and maybe sometimes some madness is thrown in
Sometimes they are real life stuff that has happened, but the ending is slightly different each time
Sometimes it’s a real-life thing that happened that is exactly how it happened and just repeats over and over again.
Sometimes it’s something that has happened but its all blown out of proportion and exaggerated and much worse than it was…like…instead of the thing happening to me it happens to my mum. These are my worst ones.
So, what is actually happening in these nightmares…. the content of them…. Use your imagination. The dark part of your mind. The stuff you know goes on in the world but don’t want to think about 247. Think about the stuff you read on the news…the training you have had…. My nightmares look like that.
However,……. if you are actually asking. …. if you want to know what I dreamed about last night. Then let’s do it…. I will tell you.
But it’s just a nightmare…remember that
This one starts the same each time. I am under the Arch with some of the boys from the local area and a girl named Lydia.
That line above will mean nothing to millions of people in the world. But will mean a lot to 11 people in this world. 7 of them wouldn’t care. 1 of them would love to read each detail and relive it. One of them would not carry on reading any further. One of them would but would shake his head trying to get the thought out of his mins…one would dream it again and again.
The girl…lets call her Lydia…she is wearing a black shirt tied up under her bust, so it shows her stomach, denim shorts (short), black thin tights and ankle boots. She has jet black hair and looks like she would be a goth kid. She is a rich kid. She comes from one of the parts of our area that is dripping in money. I have seen where she lives and it’s like a dream house. She has a “Posh” accent. She wears fancy perfume. She has a mum and a dad. I know this because when I was getting to know her, I asked all the questions that people ask when you are acting like you are interested in them. Like I was told to do. We “met” near her house. I was sitting on the curb outside her house and as she walked past, I asked her for a lighter. Asked her if she liked to weed. Said I had some she could try. I said I could give her some for free to try. We sat for hours on that curb chatting. I complimented her clothes. Said I loved her earrings. (I didn’t). Said that I wished I had stuff like that (Also a lie). I say we “met”. I was told to sit there and wait for her. To get her chatting. To befriend her. It was no accident. I must have been 13…. she was almost 16. I invited her to a party the next weekend and she became a regular on the weekends…. I mean…even rich kids don’t turn down free weed and a free party. I never liked her. I mean…. I didn’t dislike her…it was like when your parents make you play with their friends’ kid. I also knew how this was going to play out and it made me sick to my stomach. The words “Like a lamb t the slaughter “used to play through my mind often when with Lydia. They used to start about 4pm on Friday…the boys and men… go get this girl…. that girl. But when they started to talk about Lydia I would sigh and start making excuses. But…none of that. So, I would go and knock her house. She was so rude. Like…. she looked down on me…. the little tramp girl she had to be friend with to get in with the mandem. I would knock and she would ether invite me in or leave me on the doorstep for however long she was getting ready. I didn’t care either way. She would take me up to her room…her house was beautiful…but her room was nothing like the house. She had stuff thrown everywhere, graffiti on the walls. She was a good girl acting out and it made me so mad…what the fuck did this girl have to be angry about!! She would try on all these stupid outfits. Knee high boots…skirts. I was so done with having to do this. I would just tell her hurry up we need to go to the party. She would be so horrible to me…right until we got to the edge of the estate. Then it would be “You won’t let nothing happen” and “If you stay with me at the party, I will give you this or that”. She wanted to be there, but she also knew it was so dangerous. But she kept coming. The boys didn’t go too far with her…no…. they knew that would scare her off. Flirting…arm round her…cheeky kiss. Free weed…free drink…. A lift home……I just took her to the party and acted like I had her back. I didn’t. If she even knew that them boys wouldn’t listen to me, she would have run day 1, I think.
When the boys started chatting about getting bored with giving her free weed, I decided I couldn’t do it again. Not again. So, I didn’t go on the Friday. Told the boys no one answered when I knocked. Then again on the Saturday. On the Sunday I went to her house and knocked. She came to the door ..looked me up and down and started saying “You bitch, I waited by the shops on Friday night because you didn’t come for me…and then again Saturday….next time I will take myself there…bitch”. I licked my lips and said “You shouldn’t come there anymore. You should just leave it” If she ever knew the danger, I put myself in by saying them words…damn… “They don’t care about you. They want to fuck you…that’s it”. As the words left my mouth, I regretted it. If she went back and said that I said that…shit…I don’t even want to think about it. But I had told her and now she could be safe.
“Oh…your jealous” she shouted. Shouted it so loud. “You fancy Jerome don’t you…. well I’m sorry none of the boys like you…no wonder …always in them jogging bottoms and that stupid cap”. I looked at her. I wanted to one bang her so hard. Tears burnt my eyes.
And I turned and walked away.
Anyway, back to the main part of the dream…this takes place about 2 weeks after the argument at her door. She has been coming to the estate by herself. She ignores me. I said something to her the other day, and she was fucking rude. I stood up to slap her down and one of the boy’s frowned and shakes his head at me. Just like a shotter should never eat his own food…you can’t go around roughing up the goods. So, I just don’t chat to her when she is around.
This arch I speak of, in the middle of it is/was like a stone beam and lots of pipes are exposed where the wood and bricks have been removed by kids on the estate. They did this because hot water run through them and if you stood near them you would get warm. I guess the pipes must heat the flats above. We are all standing under this arch. As the dream starts, I am anxious. I am under the arch and I know something is gonna happen. The boy I am directly with is acting different. He acts like this when he knows it’s going to kick off. But this time is different. The girl, Lydia, is smoking a spliff and flirting with one of the boys. I can’t tell you exactly what is being said but he is saying things like “You would suck my dick for a rock…yer” and she is giggling and saying “Maybe”. Me and the one I am standing next to are silent. The other boys…I don’t like them…they are all whispering and chatting…you can feel the vibe getting dark.
The boy I’m with looks at me and leans forward and says in a very low voice “When I say, you need to run”. I shake my head. One of the other boys say, “What’s that…what you saying to her”. “Nothing” my friend replies. He is not acting shook. But he is. I can feel it. He stands tall when he says it. Under this arch the door to an old boiler room. Never locked. I went in once. I don’t talk about that.
Lydia is now sandwiched between the boy she was flirting with and another boy. The boys are still sitting on his push bike and he has put his hand around her waist and pulled her close into her. The other boy is standing close behind her, his body pressed into her. Like two snakes slowing compressing their victim. She is giggling away. Saying that she aint scared to try crack. The boy behind her whispers something in her ear and she throws her head back in a very exaggerated way and fake screams with laughter and says “I know you all fancy me…. but you could never have me”. I shake my head to myself and pull my cap down further on my head, over my eyes. Why is she talking like that? She thinks she is in control of this. That she could now just walk away. I however know that she is not leaving until they have done what they are gonna do. She could scream down this place and she would still be staying. No one would come.
My heart is now racing. I watch the two boys run their hands over her. I feel sick. I look up at my pal. He looks at me, shakes his head and spits on the floor. That means nothing to any of them…but my look at him was saying “I’m gonna tell her to run” and his look was telling me “Don’t you fucking dare…if you do…I can’t stop them”. Suddenly a man walking his dog comes through. He keeps his head down and does not look up. I want him to see…. I want him to do something …like adults should…. but he just pus his head down and keeps walking. One of the other boy’s says “Yo…Lydia…you wanna come smoke in the hut (The boiler room).” She giggles and says no. The boy holding her says “What do you mean no. After all the fucking weed, we have been giving you…pay back girl.” He says this in a laughy voice, but I can see he is now holding her wrist. She is rich. She could pay for it. She could offer to pay what she owes. But she thinks this is all a fucking game. She says, “If I go in there you lot will feel me up”. They say nothing. The same boy…I hate him so much even to this day…. He looks at her and says “Bitch, walk into the fucking hut or don’t bother come round ere anymore” And then she says…” Ok then”. Just like that, my pals head shoots up…looking. Looking at her…at them. They all start walking towards the Boiler room door. She is whopping and giggling… and one shouts back…” Blondy…and you”. How?….how have I just gone from one of them…one “Of the boys” …to a girl they want to fuck. How. I shake my head and then I say loudly “Lydia…you can just say no…I can go get your dad”. I can’t believe the words just come out my mouth. The silence is deafening. I may look calm but all I can hear is my heart banging in my ears. He looks at me…my pal…I don’t turn…but I can feel him, and I know that his eyes are wide. Me…I’m just looking at her. Straight in the eye. Female to female. I run my thumb over the blade I have in my coat pocket. In my dream I can feel the coldness of the metal. I will use it if I have to. Would get hurt, no doubt…I don’t know this girl from shit…but if she needs it…” Na..I want to” she says. We all just stand there. “Bruv…come” they shout to my pal. He doesn’t respond in any way. And Lydia and the 8 boys go into the cupboard and close the door…
My pal is so mad ….” What the fuck do you think you are doing” he says in almost a whisper. I put my head down. “I’m not fucking joking…. you need to fucking stop doing this”. I look up at him and shake my head. He is so angry. “when they come out you need to be gone”. I shake my head. He grabs me by the front of my coat and pushes me against the wall hard “I am not joking. Go. Now”. He kind of shakes me. I shake my head no. He pushes me away and sits on the stairs behind us and starts billing a spliff.
We don’t speak.
You can hear lots on banging from the boiler room. Like things being dragged around. No voices. No shouting. No screaming. The suddenly a noise…a slap…a noise like some being clapped across the face very fucking hard
“I can’t keep you safe anymore” he says after a time. Not looking at me, just looking at his lighter burning his spliff. “why” I ask. “I just can’t. You need to go away”. I stand. He knows I won’t leave until the girl comes out. Like always. He gets up and looks past me. “I don’t want to see you round here anymore” his voice is cold. We have grown up together. But I know why he is saying this. And that’s fine. But I will just wait until she comes out.
Suddenly the door bursts open and they start coming out, all pulling up their trousers and tucking themselves in. All asking who got rizla…who got weed.
I back away to the entrance of the arch as I will need to leave in a second…I just need to see if she is…
Out she comes. Her hair is a mess. She has been crying…she still has tears running down her face but no noise. She is so pale. Make up is everywhere. One side of her face is red and starting to look like it could bruise. She still has her tights on, but they are so badly ripped it looks like she has been in a fight. Her bare arms are red. Like she has been dragged around by many hands. She has on her short shorts but one of the pockets is ripped clean off, just hanging. There is a thick trail of blood running down her thigh. I wait…she looks up and sees me. I say nothing…but I have not left…In my mind I think …I’m here girl…come…leave with me…. she looks at me…I mouth “Come….leave with me”…..and says loudly…
“Blondy said you lot was going to do this. She told me not come here anymore.”
What…what are you actually doing. My eyes are wide.
She is shouting now …” How come she don’t have to stuff with you lot. Take her in the fucking room”. She screams the last two words.
I was there the whole time to see if she needed help. She knew that. And now all of the boys are looking at me…… Lee…the worst one…says “Yer…fuck it…. let’s take B in the room” and then my pal turns to me and says “Just fucking run” and I do. And they chase me….
Over and over…night after night.
Each time I have that nightmare I wake up gasping for breath, At the weekend I had it twice in one night. But I just keep reminding myself…it’s not real…. it’s just a nightmare
Just a nightmare
If you have been affected by any of the above in any way you can seek help and support from some of the organisations below.
NHS Choices – Help after rape and sexual assault
Rape Crisis: Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30)