The past 2 years have been challenging to say the least, but this week has to have been one of the toughest. I have known for months that this week was hopefully the final court hearing and had prepared for it both practically and psychologically. However, the days leading up to it brought about a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights. I had run through various scenarios in my head ranging from the worst-case scenario to the best-case scenario to try and be as prepared as possible. I supported myself as much as possible by having my calming aromatherapy spray and my aromatherapy playdough, I had friends at the end of the phone and a good legal team behind me.
I kept telling myself that once I got through this day that it would all finally be over which is all I have wanted for so long…to finally be free to live my life. And yes, I am finally now free to live my life and all the legal battles are over, however…the next day I crumbled, I felt as though I hit rock bottom and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear, the pain I felt was unreal, it was as if every feeling I had ever had and everything I had lived through all flooded me in one go and I couldn’t cope.
I have pushed this day aside ever since I knew it was coming, not wanting to talk about it because I had had enough, telling everyone it didn’t matter what the outcome would be as long as it was finished. I’d not even told my counselling course tutor that this was all going on whilst I carry on writing essay after essay and practising my counselling skills as I didn’t want her to think it would affect my capability to do the course, so I intended to do my course as usual the day after the hearing.
As it happens, shortly before I was supposed to start, I collapsed on the floor and sobbed for hours, too weak to move. I then worried about what my tutor and peer group would think as I am not the kind of person to not turn up without letting people know. I felt incredibly guilty and that I had let people down.
The course means so much to me but in hindsight I should have kept my tutor informed of what was going on and taken my friends advise to not do the course this week as I had had a very tough time. Fortunately, my tutor is incredible, and her response was especially touching, she told me that the light comes, allow myself to experience the emotions that arise and how much I matter to my peer group. I was also given an interesting perspective on things by someone who said that part of my feelings are probably because it’s all over now and that the sense of relief can have an opposing effect to what you expect because all the adrenaline that kept me going has gone.
I suppose I was being harsh on myself as initially I was elated and wanted to pop open the champagne, then shortly after it hit me, and I certainly didn’t feel like this. I do have a bottle of champagne, but I am waiting until I receive my decree absolute before I open it. (I never thought I would be getting divorced, let alone celebrating it but here I am, wanting to sing from the roof tops that I am a free woman!!).
Regarding lockdown, I was wondering if people are classing this week as the end of lockdown with restrictions beginning to be eased from Monday? Although all that is changing is that schools are opening to all pupils and we can now meet one other person outside.
This week the governments budget was announced with some interesting points. I found it interesting that furlough has been extended until the end of September, yet lockdown is planned to end on 21st June. I was pleased that the £20 weekly uplift in Universal Credit has been extended for another 6 months as this makes a huge difference to families, including mine. It’s also good that the minimum wage is going up but it’s still not in line with living costs increasing.
I’m very pleased to see that £19m has been given for domestic violence programmes as 1.6 million women are affected by domestic abuse every year (not forgetting that men can be victims too) and I have no doubt that lockdown has had a negative affect on anyone experiencing abuse and that there will have been a spike in abuse that to some extent will have happened without anyone knowing as people haven’t been able to see others so it’ll be a lot easier to hide. It’s incredibly scary knowing that according to Refuge (a domestic violence charity for women and children), 2 women a week die at the hands of a partner or ex in England and Wales.
I think it’s positive that 95% mortgages are going to become available from April as I know so many people, particularly single people really struggle to save £10-£20k for a deposit on a house. However, my concern is that mortgages are still limited to around 4 times your salary. So, for example a teacher may earn around £30k which would potentially give them a mortgage capacity of £120k yet the average house price according to the house price index is £230k so there is a huge gap in affordability unless banks are able to lend more.
I received my invitation to complete the census 2021 this week…the highlights of this were being able to say that on 21st March 2021 I will be divorced and choosing to select my sexual orientation. I didn’t realise that this year’s census is the first time that people can state their sexual orientation and trans status. I also didn’t know that there are no robust figures on the number of LGBT people in England and Wales. The data collected through the Census will play an important role in addressing inequality gaps. It will be of particular use to the LGBT sector as we demonstrate the need for national and local Government to increase investment into LGBT-specific support.