On Thursday we got a call from ACC. After three months deliberation on our case, they made one minor change. M asked how our corrections to the report had been factored into this decision. ACC response – what corrections? They had never received them, or lost them. To put this into context, we started this process in February of last year, it’s gone through about five different variations on the report and now gone to mediation. It took us two weeks and a lot of strength to write those corrections which involved correcting the details of our abuse and more devastatingly, writing anywhere for the first time that the father sexually abused us. So this was highly confidential, soul destroying information… and they LOST it! It could have ended up anywhere, anyone could have been reading it – it had our name, address and everything on it.
When I’ve told people this, their immediate response is “Oh no, do you have a copy on your computer?” Yes, of course we do. I know that’s the reasonable response you give to an adult. But SO holds the secrets on that bit of paper and she is 7. All she sees is that we should never have told the secrets cos it’s bad and lots of people read it and it’s bad and we’s get into trouble and we’s bad and evil and it all our fault. It becomes a mantra that we’re bad and evil for telling. W and SO are closely linked within the system. SO gets upset and W will react. This action meant a call to the mental health crisis line on Thursday night to stop the suicide. In typical form with our interactions with this team, the connection was bad and they were going to call back. They did eventually – on Saturday. We had the usual conversation:
Crisis Line: You’re suicidal, lets bring you in for an assessment.
Us: No thanks, your only option is hospital and that isn’t an option for me.
Crisis Line: No, we also have community placements or agree to regular contact for a week to see how you’re going. We can also get you in to see one of our community psychiatrists.
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Almost like they will be able to help.
Us: In my experience that has never happened. I’ve been promised community placement, only to end up in the psychiatric ward. I’ve had phone calls daily from your team and they’re more triggering than helpful.
Crisis Line: Well I’m sorry that has been your experience, let us know if we can help.
I know that those of you who haven’t experienced their services will say I’m being stupid for rejecting this assistance. I know that they have saved many lives. But our issues with authority and psychiatric hospitals mean that they are more likely to kill than save us. We call them for the distraction, nothing more.
One of us called them again on Saturday night and we ended up being hauled in for an assessment. It was hell. We need peaceful surroundings and control when we’re suicidal. But last night it was raining and there was international rugby on TV. Those two factors meant that a great deal of the homeless had decided to be suicidal that night in order to watch the rugby, have a shower, get a meal and warm bed. The shelters would’ve been overwhelmed, and they know that if you say you’re suicidal, they have to admit you.
We managed to get out of the hospital and get to the relative safety of home. But we’re a mess. The oddest things are triggering. We know that people need to talk about how they cope with sex as a survivor. But today, it’s too much. It’s become about others not being safe – cos all sex hurts.
We’re in trouble and I don’t know how to fix it.