After swallowing nearly a bottle of tablets, I left the house and got onto the school bus. I remember looking at the faces around me, wondering what kind of morning they’d all had. My heart was beating so hard, I thought it was going to explode out of my chest. I felt terrified, yet liberated at the same time. Finally ‘I’ had taken control.
I’m guessing it was around mid-morning before the effects of the tablets began. I suddenly felt really sick and scared. Did I really want to die? What about my sister? My best friend noticed the colour drain from my face and we were both given permission to go to the toilets; I then told her what I’d done.
The ambulance arrived at school within minutes and I was taken to hospital. To say I was scared of what was going to happen to me is an understatement. I was as terrified of my step-fathers response, as I was to possibly dying and I was right to be. He soon arrived at the hospital with my mother and was ‘so’ angry with me, so aggressive, he was told to leave the hospital. I guess he had never heard of the term ‘a cry for help’.
So what happened next? The Social Services were contacted and I had to give a statement of ‘why’ I had taken an overdose. I told them that it was because my step-father hit me. I didn’t tell them he had sexually abused me because I didn’t think they would believe me.
For the next month I lived at a friends house. I was really happy not to be going home and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of living with a normal, happy family. I don’t remember missing my sister at all and still feel guilty about that, but I can only guess that I managed to block out any emotions attached to her. I was just happy to be safe. During the month I was away, my mother was re-assuring me constantly, that things at home had improved. My step-father wasn’t drinking any more and my sister was missing me and wanted me to come home. She promised me that if I were to return, everything would be O.K. The Social Services also visited me regularly and, again, I was assured that their support would be continuous on my return home.
So, one month after ‘the incident’, I returned. As soon as I walked into the house, I could feel the tension. As I walked in through the door, my step-father looked at me with such anger and hate, I could feel me stomach turn over. I wanted to be sick. I made my way upstairs to unpack, opened my bedroom door and could instantly see my room had been trashed. Games had been tipped out of their boxes, books knocked to the floor and clothes emptied out of the draws.
The Social Worker did visit, once, and her piece of advice and ‘support’ was to say to my step-father “when you feel yourself getting angry, go for a walk”.
Of course, that didn’t happen.