Find out why men won’t discuss their mental health

9+ reasons why men won’t discuss their mental health:

Grey scale image of man standing close to the edge of a cliff, over water
Man contemplating suicide —
Image by alamy.com

It’s Men’s Mental Health week (15th -21st June, 2020) and my brother comes to mind. He lives with bipolar disorder and it breaks my heart seeing him struggle. So for him, I’ve chosen to repost this article Learn why men won’t discuss their mental health.

The Priory (A Private Care Group 2015) commissioned a survey in 2015 to uncover men’s attitudes to their own mental health. It concluded that 40% of men won’t talk to anyone about their mental health. Some of the reasons given were:

  1. Some say they just deal with it, or they’ve learnt how to ignore it
  2. Many would say they’re too embarrassed to admit to it
  3. They’re afraid of the stigma
  4. They don’t want to burden anyone i.e. wife, partner, best friend
  5. Some don’t want to admit they need support or don’t want to come across as weak and
  6. some say they don’t have anyone to talk to
  7. They don’t feel comfortable even talking to their GP, worried they’re wasting their Doctors’ time
  8. Afraid if they mention it, they’ll lose their job or their partner
  9. Worry that by displaying their vulnerability, they’ll lose the respect of others.

Mental illness is ‘living hell’

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Man in mental pain – Image by
Talkspace.com

Mental illness is at best, very unpleasant and at worst, it’s absolute hell. In the western world, it’s a major reason for people having to take time off work. Yet many men still don’t like to admit to their bosses that they’re stressed or that they have a mental illness, they’d rather invent some other excuse.

As a mental health nurse, I had the honour of working with hundreds of strong and amazing men. Each had their own humbling story about how they got to where they were, and I shed tears on more than one occasion. However, despite all the care and support in the world, some patients just couldn’t hold on — I know of many male suicides, and it never got any easier to hear.

Fact — There were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK in 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Three-quarters of these deaths (4,903) were among men.

Why the problem with men and their mental health?

Grey scale image of man holding onto a noose hanging from above
Shadow of sad man hanging – Image by istockphoto.com

Does it come down to the way men were brought up and the messages they learned at home or in the playground? “Don’t be such a cissy” or “You big girl’s blouse”. These are dated and dysfunctional responses to little boys and we have much to do to change all this.

Men need to understand that mental illness isn’t shameful or a sign of weakness. It’s a real and common medical issue, and everyone who suffers deserves help.

Sometimes men cover thing up by using subtle language like they’re down the pub with a pal and say “Oh, you know what it’s like, sometimes you just want to be on your own” instead of “I feel really down, can I talk to you?” Perhaps they snap at their partner “You wouldn’t know how damn hard my job is” when maybe they mean “I feel like I’m being picked on at work, can we chat about it?

Furthermore, tho’ more women are diagnosed with mental health problems, men are less likely to seek help. They’re also more likely to commit suicide, mainly before the age of 50. Because men don’t like to admit to having a mental illness, they’re not accessing mental health services, and so — they go undiagnosed and untreated.

Some symptoms you might notice

Mental health signs and symptoms can vary, depending on the diagnosis, and can affect your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Being able to recognize and accept the signs that you or someone you know might have a mental health disorder is the first step. Symptoms might include:

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Sad and crying – Image by
Leandro de Carvalho at pixabay.com
  1. Extreme mood changes of highs and lows — different from your ‘normal’ mental state and for more than two weeks
  2. Hopelessness, or anhedonia (a loss of pleasure from things that used to provide enjoyment)
  3. Confused thinking, unable to make simple decisions and reduced ability to concentrate
  4. Significant low energy, tiredness, or problems sleeping, constantly waking up early i.e. 3-4 a.m.
  5. Constant restlessness, can’t sit still, fidgeting
  6. Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing things that other people can’t see).
  7. Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt/shame
  8. Unable to understand and relate to situations and to people – might come across as confused when they try to interact
  9. Inability to cope with activities of daily living i.e. not eating or drinking (non-alcoholic) enough and inability to tend self-care
  10. Displaying excessive hostility, anger, or violence — masking underlying physical or mental disorders
  11. Changes in alcohol or drug intake — they could be self-medicating
  12. Withdrawal from friends and activities
  13. Major changes in sex drive
  14. Suicidal thoughts and ideation

While lots of people have some of these symptoms some of the time, it’s very different to mental health symptoms. With depression for example, your GP would expect you to have a cluster of symptoms, all at the same time and for more than 2 weeks.

How to help a man experiencing mental illness

Are you or someone you know experiencing mental illness? Are you having suicidal thoughts? Would you know what to do?

Lone man – Is he suicidal? -Image Pexel.com
  1. You can be there for them, just listening and I know this is hard but — don’t interrupt, listen actively (for more on listening skills see here).
  2. Tell them they will get through this, they will stay safe and these thoughts will pass.
  3. Ask if they’re having suicidal thoughts and if so, do they have any intent i.e. do they have a plan and the means — if they do, you need to call their GP or other professional. *Asking if someone is suicidal will not make them go and do it! And stay with them ’til help arrives
  4. Do not give advice if you’re not a trained mental health professional, you might give the wrong advice. Instead, offer information and signpost them or take them to the appropriate services.
  5. Try not to ask them why they feel depressed/anxious/suicidal — it’s not helpful right now and all you’ll likely get is a list of reasons — think on, what would you do with all this?
  6. Try not to offer platitudes, rather reflect, paraphrase, summarize. You’ll get more if you ask open-ended rather than closed (yes or no) questions. And don’t be scared about silences or filling the gaps.
  7. Let them know they’re not a burden and tell them that you’ll get through this together but — don’t make promises you can’t keep, if you let them down, that might make them feel worse.
  8. Tell them they’re not alone; many others experience mental illness and lead fulfilling lives — they have good jobs and are contributing towards society, they’re married or dating, they have good social lives and they’re able to carry out their activities of daily living.
  9. Explain that some mental illnesses are a result of chemical changes in the brain — it’s not about being weak and failing — at times we live in a hostile, stressful, demanding and right now, a scary world.
  10. Some symptoms of a mental illness mimic physical illnesses at times, such as headaches, general aches and pains so they must see a GP to see if there’s any underlying physical problems that need treatment.
  11. You can’t force someone to access professional care, but you can support them in making an appointment with a mental health professional and you can offer to go with them?
  12. If someone has self-harmed or is considering doing so, take the person to the hospital or call for emergency help.
  13. Don’t make throw away statement such as “You can’t be depressed, you’ve got a nice car, a big house etc.” If a man says he’s feeling anxious or depressed — trust me, he is!
  14. If you think someone is showing signs of psychosis and they’re paranoid, try to remain calm, give them reassurances that they’re safe with you and that no harm will come to them — stay with them — only if it’s safe to do so! Otherwise, be aware, stay safe and call for emergency help immediately.

So how can we reduce this gap and improve men’s mental health?

Coloured image of 4 youngsters, 3 girls and 1 boy, making faces for the camera
Little boys and girls need education
– Image by Pexels.com

Hugh Martin, founder of counselling service Man Enough, says the first step is to encourage conversations within organisations – such as sporting clubs, groups and workplaces – making space available for men to talk about how they’re going.

More than that; we need to be teaching our children about emotions and how to manage or cope with them.

Let little boys know it’s okay to cry if they’re hurt or sad. Show them pictures of different faces, showing anger, smiles, laughing, shy, happy and sad – get them to point to a face that will explain how they’re feeling right now. Never tell them “big boy’s don’t cry.”

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Clipart.com

Would you be able to help a man who’s experiencing mental health problems? What’s your experience of men and their emotional difficulties? I’d love to hear your comments and I’m happy to answer any questions.

You may find the following articles useful:

  • Anxiety in men
  • Reading a previous post 19 free mental health apps just for you here
  • Or Tips to help with your anxiety and panic attacks here
  • Attending a self-help course in person or online
  • There’s A powerful new mental health book featuring personal experiences from men and their partners urges men to open up – not ‘man up’. Big Boys Don’t Cry? contains 60 individual anecdotes from men working in a diverse range of careers from lawyers, postmen and soldiers to construction workers, Big Issue sellers and elite sports stars.

My depression and anxiety – Guest post

I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for years

I’m delighted to have this Guest Post written by Charli from Life with Charli: Depression and Anxiety: The Start of a Recovery Journey. I’ve just recently come across her blog which she started to help inspire and motivate others! She certainly inspires me and I think you might appreciate what she has to say.

I made my first visit to a mental health clinic this year. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety since I was a child, but am only now getting help as an adult. I often had suicidal thoughts. Also, whenever my anxiety stated flaring up, I would start shaking uncontrollably and feeling nauseous. I’ve actually seriously considered seeing a therapist twice before finally seeking help, but eventually decided against that decision. It’s definitely been a long road to get to where I am today.

It started as a small child

For starters, I didn’t realize that I needed help in the first place. When I was a small child, I didn’t fully realize that the thoughts I was having were a problem. I didn’t understand what I was experiencing. During my teen years, however, a part of me started to feel that something with my mental health was off. I never really opened up about my thoughts to anyone, not even my family members. I was too scared to share those feelings, too ashamed.

When I was a child, my parents and everyone who met me described me as “happy”. I was always smiling, and as I grew older, I learned to smile even when I wasn’t happy. Pretending that I’m always ok started to become harder once I reached adulthood. I could no longer hide how I was truly feeling. However, I still didn’t want to open up to anyone. I was still trying to keep my struggles bottled up inside. I wasn’t truly hiding though. Others were able to see something was wrong.

It dragged on thro’ college years

My depression and anxiety started to become more of a serious problem during my college years, and this was not very easy to hide. I started becoming very irritable and easily offended. This started affecting my relationship with my family. Moreover, I had a small panic attack in front of a professor twice. Both professors noticed and tried to make sure I was ok. I also broke down in the disability office of my college, and one of the concerned workers in the office told me she is a licensed counselor if I needed to talk to someone.

Others noticing my struggles was not the only sign that I needed help. I started seeing a new doctor late in my college years, and her office gives patients a mental health questionnaire at the beginning of every visit. I mostly lied on them. I wasn’t ready to open up, to talk about my suicidal thoughts. I was too scared. Just thinking about seeing a therapist made my anxiety flare up.

All the different scenarios that could take place would run through my mind whenever I thought about getting help. I was afraid of being put on medication. I was afraid I would be forced into a mental health institution for treatment. I was afraid of what people around me would think of me if they knew about my struggles. I was especially afraid of what my family would think. Lastly, I was afraid of letting go of the views I held on to about mental health for so long. I am a Christian, and I struggled with feeling like my mental health issues meant that my faith is weak. Those fears kept me from reaching out for help the two times I felt I was ready to.

Accepting help

I started my blog last year in March. Interacting with other bloggers, and seeing how open many of them are with their mental health conditions was inspiring. I realized how freeing it can be to open up about our struggles. I was also beginning to grow tired of trying to fix my problems on my own. It was time for me to seek help. I was scared at first, but I wasn’t willing to let my anxiety stop me this time.

I started seeing a therapist regularly, and I recently even decided to start taking antidepressants. Both have been helping tremendously. I even began talking with my family about my struggles and my suicidal thoughts. One of my siblings told me that she has never had suicidal thoughts, and never thought she would be better off gone. Talking with her and the rest of my family made me realize that I really did need help.

4 Important Lessons

Since I started going to therapy and taking antidepressants, I’ve learned four important lessons:

  1. I learned that my fears about what happens when someone reaches out for help with mental health issues were unwarranted.
  2. My mental health struggles don’t make me any less of a Christian. Christians can have mental illnesses too.
  3. Medication for mental illnesses might not be the answer for every person with a mental illness, but they definitely can help for some. There is no shame in giving them a try.
  4. Opening up about my mental health struggles was definitely liberating, and I’m glad I reached out for help.

Over to you

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ClipArt.com

What can we learn from Charli’s journey? Do you have any thoughts or comments on this honest and open post about Charli’s journey? Any questions? In the meantime, stay safe and look after your own mental wellbeing.

You might find the following posts of interest:

Abusive relationships and me

Why did I tolerate abusive relationships?

Coloured characters with words written on them like selfish, no good, careless, ugly - feelings in abusive relationships
Feelings in abusive relationships — Image by Pixabay.com

This is the 12th in a series of My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis. Read parts I, II, III, IV, V , VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI for the backstory. It might make more sense. You’ll read about me and my abusive relationships over a period of many years.

For those of you who don’t know, I started writing about my journey six months ago. I only ever intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey was longer and more painful than I remembered. That’s made it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken many breaks and written lots of other posts in between. I’ve had time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.

Part XI ………. we hugged and cried, but this time we cried with laughter. Ian was calling across the road “Can you get us a taxi?”

Moving on

Black and white image of legs wrapped in barbed wire - moving on through abusive relationships
Moving on — through abusive
relationships

Despite the fact that I could laugh in that instance, once the boys went off to bed I was left reeling. Everything had happened so quickly. I felt blindsided once again, and p’d off with myself for getting into yet another abusive relationship. But please, before you judge me, “walk a mile in my shoes“. You know my name but you don’t know the whole story yet.

I’d been separated from an angry and violent man (father of my adorable sons), married to another insecure and passive-aggressive neanderthal within a year, and separated the following year.

Is it any wonder my mental health took a nosedive? I constantly felt disconnected to everything around me and that I had no control over anything. Anxiety and panic hit me in waves, overwhelming me at times, and I struggled to remain connected. The panic attacks tended to reach their peak after about ten minutes and took half an hour or so to subside. That’s an extremely long ten to thirty minutes when you’re drowning in quicksand.

What is panic disorder and what to do

Young female, hands over her face, panic attack in a public place
Panic attack in a public place
Tero Vesalainen – Dreamstime.com

If you didn’t already know, panic disorder is an anxiety disorder where you regularly have sudden attacks of panic or fear. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times. It’s a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations, NHS, UK.

But for someone with panic disorder, feelings of anxiety, stress and panic occur regularly and at any time, often for no apparent reason. A panic episode leaves you feeling temporarily exhausted and drained.

Having a panic attack doesn’t necessarily mean you have panic disorder. Panic disorder is when you have repeated panic attacks that severely disrupt your life. You can read more about anxiety and panic attacks on the NHS website here. Or you read my post on How to manage panic attacks here.

I’ll kill myself if you leave me

Black and white photo - female head shaking violently and pulling hair - abusive relationships feel like this
Abusive relationships can feel like this — Image by Pixabay.com

I was exhausted, jittery and tearful when my phone rang one evening. It was Liz, Ian’s younger sister, calling cos she thought I should know that Ian was in bits. He was crying down the phone to her and threatening to kill himself.

She pleaded with me to give him one last chance, begging me to call him as she lived too far away to help. I stressed that that was Ian’s choice and I would not be emotionally abused this time, or ever again. “Call his friends” I suggested. I was way past caring and unwilling to engage in more emotional intimidation from either of them.

She told me how he’d have to sleep in a phone box because he had nowhere to go. “At least it’ll be familiar cos he’s done that a few times in a drunken stupor,” I laughed. “He’s also threatened to kill himself before, so it won’t wash with me anymore. Sorry Liz, I’ve got to go.”

I had no intention of being in contact with Ian, other than when I had to – at work. The thought of talking to him at all made me feel nauseous. So I seriously couldn’t have stood listening to his pathetic crying or his sad sorries.

Did no one see the red flags?

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Red flags in abusive relationships

My last related post (If anxiety was a person) garnered comments on social media like “Did you not notice all the red flags?” and “What took you so long?” Let me tell you, I wish I’d seen flags of any colour before I married him. If I’d had one iota of evidence that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, of course I wouldn’t have married him. I certainly wouldn’t have paid out for the huge wedding either.

I wish I’d known that he’d regularly drunkenly slept in phone boxes that stank of stale ciggies and human pee. It would’ve helped had his work colleagues informed me, tho’ I can’t blame them for his narcissism or for my own foolishness.

If only my own friends or family had noticed something untoward, prior to the wedding. I would have called it all off and put the financial loss down to experience. However, since I had no indication otherwise, I had the big fat wedding, the hundreds of gifts and the honeymoon. I was embarrassed about the whole damn thing, no doubt the reason for me hanging on for a year. I was ashamed and felt guilty that I was putting my sons through the shame of an early divorce too. Hindsight is indeed a very wonderful thing.

Inappropriate laughter at other people’s misfortune

Coloured photo of woman on a giant swing in front of a waterfall
We all deserve peace in our lives — Image by Pexels.com

I thought I’d be able to move on and sleep easy now I was on my own with no one to answer to and nothing to complicate my life. You’d also be forgiven if you thought that after the storm that was my marriage, there’d be peace and tranquility. But it doesn’t work like that. Just because I’d had and ended abusive relationships, it didn’t mean that was the end of my mental illness. It was back to the beginning for me.

I was plagued with generalised anxiety which, tho’ invisible to others, made me scared of everything. I’d jump up at the least little thing, causing other people to jump back in fright. I’d giggle hysterically and inappropriately if friends mentioned any bad news, leaving me embarrassed and them p’d off. It’s a nervous reaction but try telling that to your friend after you’ve laughed uncontrolably because her pet tortoise died.

I needed help

I’d recently accepted a coveted Band 6 post at our Day Hospital, which meant more managing and training junior staff. I wanted to make a good impression and obviously didn’t need any unnecessary stress. Luckily, the Day Hospital had little call for Rapid Response so I wouldn’t bump into Ian as much there either. But still the recurring panic attacks continued to deny me sleep and threatened to spill over into my work.

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Staff training — Image by
Pexels.com

I needed help, and fast. Fortunately I managed to access six sessions of therapy through our NHS Wellbeing at Work programme. While this wasn’t as helpful as I’d expected, therapy gave me a place to dump my baggage each week. This left brain space, allowing me to prepare and effectively deliver teaching sessions for staff, without choking on my words.

I chose to tell only one co-worker about my current anxieties. Callum had also experienced mental illness and had previously been an inpatient on one of our wards. We started working at the Day Hospital on the same day and we soon became great friends. Callum was a gorgeous young gay man and could cut anyone to the quick with his wicked dry sense of humour. He would later tell me that he’d wondered what I’d ever seen in ‘Quasimodo‘, as he’d named Ian.

Should I have warned his new girlfriend?

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Image by Nick Fewings – Unsplash.com

About six months on, I was happy to hear that Ian had started dating Olga, a Social Worker colleague. That meant he was leaving me alone, mostly. When I next bumped into Olga at work I asked if there was anything she’d like to know. She responded with an odd look and an emphatic No! I should have explained the red flags but I also understood that no loved up twenty-something wanted to hear from an embittered forty-something ex.

Some four years and two year old twins later, Olga approached me in the local cafe. I wasn’t in the least bit shocked when she asked whether Ian had been jealous and controlling with me. I smiled sympathetically but too bad, I was running late and needed to get back to work. Ian called my office that afternoon, reprimanding me for telling Olga tales and ordering me not to interfere. He then asked how I was — I had to laugh.

I haven’t been too well physically as of late and it’s the early hours of the morning here in the UK. I need some sleep now but I hope you’ll stay with me on My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis.

Over to you

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Clipart.com

In the meantime, have you or anyone you know ever experienced anxiety or panic attacks? You might want to read my post on How to manage panic attacks here or 19 free Mental Health apps just for you here.

Do you think I should have warned his new girlfriends? Do we (as exes) have a moral obligation to do so? I’m happy to answer any questions and as always, I look forward to reading your comments.

If you or someone you know are experiences mental health problems please seek professional health. It can be extremely beneficial to talk to a professional.

You can read part XIII.

If anxiety was a person I’d punch it right in the face

My journey through anxiety and more – Part XI

dark skinned lady with white wrap covering her most of her face, tears in her eyes
Anxiety and panic attacks
broke me

This is the 11th in a series of “My journey through Anxiety, panic attacks, depression and psychosis. Please click here for Parts I, II, III, IV, V , VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X if you wish to read the backstory (It might make more sense).

For those of you who don’t know, I started writing about my journey six months ago and only ever intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey through mental illness was a lot longer and more painful than I remembered. That’s made it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken many breaks and written lots of other posts in between, giving me time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.

I’d had enough!

……….. I told him to pack his things and leave before I got home from night shift in the morning.

Night shift on a mental health ward

Lady in red dress and white sandals hanging from a rope around her neck
Shocked? You should be! Female patient strangled herself

After our patients had had their night medication, the support nurse went to complete the half hourly observations. This meant checking each bedroom or cubicle to ensure everyone was accounted for and alive.

I was in the office when a roar from the end of the corridor alerted me and I raced towards noise. Oh, Jesus! A female patient had strangled herself with the belt from her robe. Her face was a horrible shade of purple and she appeared not to be breathing. My anxiety levels just shot through the roof and I felt the colour drain from my face.

I helped untangle the belt from round her neck and felt for a pulse, but there was nothing. Jesus, I’d only been a mental health nurse for two months and I was near paralysed with fear. “Get the crash trolley,” I yelled down the ward to Maria the third nurse on duty. Sarah was a favourite of mine and there was no way I’d let her die, not on my watch.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a mental health ward

Down on my knees now, I fumbled, trying to find the right place to press (the breastbone is pushed down firmly and smoothly, so that the chest is pressed down between 5–6 cm) then started CPR (at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute – that’s around 2 per second, British Heart Foundation).

I could feel the sweat dripping down my back and the trembling in my arms as I continued 1.2.34.5……… 30, for what felt like a lifetime. All the while, I was trying to keep calm, as this was no place for my impending panic attack. Concentrate, concentrate Caz, you can do this, concentrate. Finally Maria arrived with the crash trolley and I asked her to take over while I ran to call the Crash Team.

Crying with relief

I turned to sprint back to the office but stumbled and fell forward with a thud and landing awkwardly. I immediately felt searing pain in my right shoulder. Still, I got up as quickly as I fell and dashed to put a call out “Cardiac arrest on Violet Ward.” This relays a crackly radio message to the Cardiac and Rapid Response Teams. When they get that message, they race from the general side to the Mental Health, side pretty damn quick.

Four doctors dressed in scrubs, running down a corridor
Emergency Crash Team running to
an emergency

I’d all but forgotten my own burning pain as I ran back see what was happening. On my way, I guided any inquizitive patients back to bed and tried to reassure them all was well.

I took over the CPR and rather stupidly, wept with relief when Sarah started showing signs of regaining consciousness. Her eyes were flickering and she was trying to catch her breathe. She now had a pulse, albeit a weak one. Just then, the Crash Team arrived and took control.

Caught wearing a tired grey bra

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Duty Doctor —Image from Freepik

Sarah had survived, but was still taken over to the general side to be observed overnight. The Duty Senior Nurse was in our office making sure we were all okay when someone let on that I’d fallen. The cute young Duty Doctor came to see me and all I could think was “What bra have I got on” when he asked me to undress to assess any damage. Only I could be wearing a comfortable but tatty old bra that looked like I’d washed the floor with it! The shame.

Despite the agony, I didn’t complain too much so the Doctor suggested I go home and return to A&E tomorrow if the pain got worse. It was just past eleven p.m. and I called to let the boys know I’d be on my way home. Only it was Ian who answered, drunk and stoned, so I hung up and got a taxi home.

He should have been gone. Aaarrgghhh……. I sure as hell was in no mood for more of his spiteful crap. Once home, I ignored him and went straight up to our bedroom when I got home. I managed to sleep with some pillows propping up my right arm and woke at dawn, in agony.

A slap in the face

Lady with right arm in a sling
Broken collar bone — Image from Amazon UK

Back to the hospital, where they confirmed that I’d broken my collarbone and torn my rotator cuff tendons (muscles and tendons that attach the arm to shoulder blade). I was put in a sling, given strong painkillers and sent home to rest up. But before I left, I went to see how Sarah was. I got a slap in the face, albeit a light one, cos she was mad that we’d saved her. Of course, I told her, I’d do it again.

My painkillers were starting to kick in and I was feeling kinda woozy so any anxiety I’d had about facing Ian all but disappeared. For f*ck sake! The whiff of beer and cannabis about knocked me out as I opened the front door. It was just two in the afternoon, for crying out loud.

Still, I was delighted to see all his boxes stacked in the hall, “Wakey, wakey, time to go,” I sang cheerfully.

The drunk driver and a mad man

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Crying in pain

“Can I borrow the car?” slurred Ian as he staggered towards me, hand out for the keys. It would have been funny if he hadn’t been so serious. “Nope! Get a taxi,” I smiled. With that, he lunged at me and grabbed my wrist viciously. “Aaarrgghhh!” I screeched in pain and anger, hanging onto my arm and cursing under my breath.

At that, I heard “Mama,” and Nic was hurtling down the stairs behind me, “What did he do, did he hurt you Mama?” I hadn’t realised he was home from school. Ian shot out the front door and Nic was charging round the kitchen like a madman, cursing furiously. He yanked the front door open and threw out every one of Ian’s carefully packed boxes. Ian looked on helplessly as glassware, cd cases and electronic equipment crashed down onto the road.

The neighbours were out, wide-eyed at the the scene unfolding and I don’t know what was funniest. Ian’s look of helplessness or Nik holding every last piece of luggage high above his head before throwing it as far as he could. The door thudded shut! Nic was trembling and pale with anger, he turned to me tearfully, whispering “I’m sorry Mama.”

We hugged and cried, but this time we cried with laughter. Ian was calling across the road “Can you get us a taxi?”

Over to you

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I’ll end here for now and hope you’ll stay with me for the next part. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and please feel free to ask any questions.