Hide and seek – a stalkers game

WARNING: This blog paints a picture of how it can feel to be a victim of stalking. It talks about the fear of being home alone and feelings of being watched. I have given specific detail on the images I imagine and how I feel. Do not read this if you believe it could make you fear being home alone, being watched or stalked, or might trigger a bad psychological response. This could also be harmful for people with OCD and reoccurring thoughts.

Sadly I don’t think even a German Shepherd could stop me from being scared. This cutie certainly can’t!

Home alone and it’s after sun set. I’m absolutely terrified to the point I can hear my own heart beat and I feel completely sick. I can’t even explain the level of fear I have when I’m home alone and my husband is working nights.

It’s not like a subtle anxiety, or a really scary experience, it’s completely and utterly paralysing fear. At every moment I am waiting for a man to appear from behind the curtain or under the bed. I don’t fear that I might be hurt. I fear that he has nothing other than a creepy agenda to just stand and watch. The watching man.

Not long ago I was stalked for almost 2 years by a complete stranger. Eventually the police interviened and put an end to it. I have to say that they were amazing and I will forever be grateful. I had a full team pose as civilians to catch him and stop him. From time to time I still receive a call to ask if things are OK and if I’ve had any further trouble with him.

I don’t know if this experience has made this whole ‘home alone’ situation what it is today. What I do know is that my jaw is aching because I have been grinding my teeth continually since my husband left the door.

I’m in a constant battle between wanting to look behind every door, under the beds, behind the curtains and in the cupboards. I’m stuck between checking and being too terrified to check because I’m almost certain someone is there just watching.

Without a shadow of a doubt I know I can hear breathing, it isn’t mine and it isn’t the dog’s. I can hear someone clicking with their mouth in the other room and winding me up, playing mind games. A bit like my stalker did in his variety of ways. The very fact that I wrote ‘my stalker’ makes it feel like I have some kind of ownership. He’s not ‘my stalker’ he’s a person that decided to stalk someone and unfortunately that someone was me.

I decide to check the window ledge in my room to make sure there’s no one hiding behind the curtain. I should explain that I don’t even think a 3 year old could fit and hide on that window ledge but I’m completely convinced that there is a man hiding there. As I check, I’m haunted by the image of a man standing in the middle of the garden just looking up at me expressionless. He’s not really there but in my mind he is, and to me that’s 100% reality.

I open the under stairs cupboard to get the dogs dental chew. I’m convinced that there’s a man curled in the corner hiding and just waiting for me to find him so that he can stare at me with an expressionless face. It’s like a constant game of hide and seek. Now I want to shut the cupboard door but I know he’ll be standing behind it as I close it. Just there watching, not actually doing anything.

I go to my bed, which is the most horrifying part. Checking the locks before bed and turning the downstairs lights out. I want to leave the hallway light on upstairs but I can’t. I can’t because then I might see the shadow of his footsteps under the door. As I sit here in my bed I can hear creaking. I know the creaking is him standing at the door just breathing. Just standing there doing nothing with his face against the door. The creaking is him in the wardrobe, under the bed, in the roof. He is everywhere and everything all at once.

I need to cry but I’m too scared to make a noise because then he’ll know I’m there and that I’m awake. He wants me to be awake because then he can frighten me by just being there.

It’s only 11:30pm. My husband left at 9pm. It’s been 2 and a half hours and I have 5 and a half left to go. Over 5 more hours of being slowly psychologically torchured by a man who’s name I’ll never know.

I hear a noise on the TV, an odd laugh, a bang, a click. I see a menacing face, an odd glare. Even the most innocent of programs can trigger a thought for me and send a wave of fear and heat through me. I can’t even distract myself to mute my fear.

What makes this most scary is that I don’t even know his agenda. He’s the ultimate psychological thriller, just pure creepyness. Because he has no agenda he has nothing to loose and that makes him even more powerful. He doesn’t fit in to social norms or believe that both the actual law or basic laws of human decency apply to him. He has nothing to loose and he fears nothing. He smiles in a jail cell because he gets pleasure from fear.

He’ll play the long game, wait in the dark for hours until I’m home alone before he comes out. I suspect he likes that he can remain so calm, and I suspect it’s for sexual gratification.

One of the most terrifying things about my real stalker is that for the longest time I didn’t know he was there. When I finally realised I remembered him being there all along. I can’t get over the fact that someone can watch and follow you for so long and yet remain hidden in the shadows for the same length of time. As soon as I noticed him the memories of him being there, all the times before hit me like a freight train. Layer upon layer began building in my mind within seconds. He had been there all along.

I remembered he was the guy that touched my leg on the train whilst pretending to be asleep months ago. I remembered all of the other times he had made physical contact with me. Then suddenly I think of all the times I don’t know about, all the things I didn’t remember and all the times I didn’t see him, but he was there.

In the weeks before police intervention, I began making records of his behaviours and when he appeared. I took pictures of him watching me. The one video I will never forget was when I secretly filmed him on a train journey whilst I pretended to be asleep. He never broke his stare once. He never stopped looking, staring expressionless, not once did he break his gaze. As a lady stood in his eye sight he lent to the side so that he could look around her to just watch.

I’ll never know his name, I’ll never know who he was, but most importantly and most haunting of all, I’ll never know why.

It’s the never knowing why he did it, that means I’ll always be watched. My images of the watching man are not of him. They’re the figure of someone else but they are born from him. The image I see are from that disgusting Luther episode of the man hiding under the bed. That’s my mind’s invention of how the watching man appears in my empty home.

When my husband is here it’s the safest place in the world. When I’m staying away from home with a friend or family member I feel safe. But whenever I am alone, in the dark, at home or away. If I’m alone the watching man will always be there.

He might not be physically real anymore but to me his affects on me are completely real. For as long as he is there I will continue to play hide and seek with him. I will continue to know that he is everywhere and everything all at once. I will continue to feel him there. Waiting, breathing, watching.

Statistics show that 700,000 women are stalked each year. Victims do not tend to report to the police until the 100th incident – which is similar to my own experiences.

If you or someone you know needs help you can call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300

I found them very helpful as well as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust http://www.suzylamplugh.org/

If you have ever been stalked or you care for someone that has been, know that it can take time for the effects to surface and that sometimes they make no sense. If you need support then make sure you reach out.

Only 4 hours left till I’m not home alone anymore.

XxXxX

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. 💚

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. 💚

So many of us are affected or know people that are affected by suicide. Sometimes we hear people refer to suicide as ‘selfish’ or people complain about ‘inconvenience’ when it means their trains don’t run. Just remember that someone was ill enough to end their own life and that’s a pretty awful place to be in. It is not selfish and it is not an inconvenience. Nobody wants to be ill and nobody ever wants to feel that it’s their only way out.

Usually people share posts and ask others to do the same. ‘share or post this so that others know you’re there’. They encourage you to reach out and ask how others are doing. But we often forget to ask ourselves how we are too. So today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, reach out to others and encourage others to do the same. But don’t forget to reach out to yourself also because it’s not selfish to make sure that you’re OK too 💚

The Birth of Openness

This week has been pretty hellish for me, I suppose that’s what finally pushed me to start Diary of a ‘Mad’ girl. Over the past year I have learnt to become more and more open about my mental health, something that I have found to be particularly helpful when it comes to coping with any anxieties or depressive moments I may have. Being open about who you truly are and how you really feel can be completely liberating and quite inspiring. Strangely, I can often find more courage when opening up to strangers. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a ‘reputation’ to uphold or a ‘character’ to protect. What you see is what you get. If a stranger knows my darkest secrets I won’t have to see their eyes everyday looking at me and knowing my struggle. Of course family I see everyday so that’s a different story.

I’ve really come a long way in the past year, just being me. sadly this week I found myself being put back into my box, knocked back a century or two and silenced with gaffa tape. My ability to be open to the world was completely stripped from me and so too was one of my biggest coping mechanisms – openess. What do you do when your told you’re not allowed to discuss your mental health? And with no reason given for the need to be silent on the topic other than ‘not everyone is ready to hear about mental health’. Well excuse me whilst I ask all those with visible disabilities to cover themselves with blankets because people just aren’t ready to hear about disabilities. What outrage would ensue? So why then is mental health still treated so differently to physical health. My brain has an actual physical condition, a chemical imbalance and yet I must act as though this disability does not exist.

If I had a heart condition would you ask me to run up 5 flights of stairs to deliver a letter? Would you expect me to disclose my health difficulty to you so that I could take the lift instead? Or would you prefer I keep quiet and die of a heart attack? If the reasonable adjustments you make for someone with a physical disability allow them to function better, then what reasonable adjustments can you make for me when I’m suffering from a chronic illness that I’m unable to discuss?

With so much change going on in the world, both for the better and worse, I refuse to remain silent on the issue of mental health. If we campaign for cancer why is mental health any different? I will be regularly sharing my experiences with mental health, positive, negative, the wins and my struggles. I hope that Diary of a ‘Mad’ Girl will help others that face mental health difficulties, friends and family and those that have no idea what it’s all about but are willing to learn more and spread the message.

I look forward to taking this journey of openness with you and will forever be grateful for the time you spend reading and sharing Diary of a ‘Mad’ Girl.

Thank you

XxX