I have had A DAY today.
It started with THE POLICE asking to see me.
I got a call from a “Private number” on my mobile. Since the debacle with Natasha, I don’t answer those anymore, any legit callers will leave a message. Within seconds of trying my number, whoever it was tried Alun’s. Alun and I looked at each other as we sat bolt upright in bed. Who was this? Alun answered and a voice said “This is constable *didn’t hear his name*, we’re outside – can you let us in please”
Heart thumping, I peeped outside our blinds and there was a SQUAD CAR outside.
I had about 50 heart attacks.
I knew immediately that “Ethel” had sent them.
I couldn’t think rationally. I couldn’t breathe. I just kept thinking “How long can they arrest me for?” “What EXACTLY have I said on Facebook/on my blog that resulted in a POLICE VISIT?” Just how much power does Ethel have??? Omg!!!
I have a powerful imagination.
I have since I was 5. Because I was so alone in my family and alone a lot at school, I created my own imaginary world in my head and the more stressed I am, the more I cling to my pretend world.
So when I saw POLICE outside, I imagined that my mind is “Janet HQ” and teeny tiny Janet’s (the size of the cells in my body) run my mind like an office. When I saw the Police outside and heard the Police Officer’s voice echo from Alun’s phone to outside in our front garden…in my mind, alarms were ringing “BEEP BEEP WHOOP WHOOP!!!”, lights were flashing, and 100 tiny Janet’s were running around, some hiding under desks, others putting hazmat suits on, some preparing for battle, others adjusting the glasses on their noses; furiously typing on their keyboards, researching laws on harassment, bullying and discrimination and how I can possibly stand up for myself.
I went with Alun to the front door. I honestly didn’t think my legs could hold me up, but they did. Surprising. Alun protectively placed me behind him. “Stay here, Gorg. Let me go out first” and off he went. I wrapped my arms around myself and tried to stop my heart beating out of my chest.
“Janet!” Alun was calling me outside.
I took deep breaths.
Ok JD. Here we go.
I went outside, arms folded across my chest in an effort to hide my nipples as I was in my pjs with no bra on. Already on the back foot. Already ashamed and embarrassed. I was scared and reflecting back on my posts…what could I have said to incur an arrest?
There were 2 Police officers, 1 male and 1 female. He seemed the “boss” and she hung back a little and was holding a small black notebook.
“We are looking for Janet Daniels-Thomas…can you confirm that’s you?” The male officer asked.
That was the FIRST tip-off that old Ethel was behind this. That is my Facebook name, not my legal name. So that’s the only name people who don’t know me can find me under. People who DO know me and are genuine friends know I haven’t legallly changed my name yet. Some mates still tease me about it. Unfortunately, I’m still Janet Hill at the moment. I told the Policeman that. He nodded.
“We’re here to do a Welfare check as someone in the UK called “Ethel” reported you as in imminent danger. The report was passed to INTERPOL that apparently you’re posting online that you’re suicidal? Something about you hanging yourself on your Facebook post?”
So the Police now confirmed ETHEL was indeed behind this…and I did WHAT now?!?
I NEVER SAID I WOULD HANG MYSELF ON MY FACEBOOK. Sweet Baby Jesus. WHAT ON EARTH?!?
Ethel had obviously LIED TO INTERPOL and I was being punished for it.
ETHEL YOU FUCKER!!!
I swallowed to try to control my rising anger and panic. This is definitely NOT the time to lose it, JD. Do your best to stay calm.
“Err…you’re welcome to come in?” Alun gestured to our front door. He is always kind and welcoming, bless him.
Both Police officers shuffled their feet.
“We could sit and talk on the porch maybe?” The guy suggested
I was dying 1000 anxiety-driven deaths but trying to remain calm on the inside. “There isn’t enough room…argh…but you’re welcome to come inside to the living room?” I offered, doing my best to be as transparent and cooperative as possible while having an anxiety attack.
We all went in. Alun busied himself tidying the living room and I sat on one end of the sofa, placing a cushion in front of my chest. “You guys can take a seat?” I gestured to the sofa – large enough to comfortably seat 3 people. The guy shook his head but the girl sat at one end of the sofa – the opposite end to me. Alun stood so that we all made a sort of square where we could all face each other.
In my head, I was panicking.
Am I going to jail?
Am I being sanctioned?
What had Ethel said that could possibly convince POLICE to come to our HOME first thing in the morning? I didn’t think Police involved themselves in Facebook fights between wound-up girls. Surely this wasn’t right?
Would they let me pack a bag or just arrest me on the spot? What do I even pack for Prison???
Or a scary hospital??? OMG Please don’t lock me up in Greylands (a terrifying mental asylum that hasn’t changed much from the 1800’s). I have Private healthcare so just send me back to Hollywood Clinic, I was secretly longing to go back there, anyway.
“Are…are you going to arrest me?” and tears were suddenly pouring down my face. I was so terrified that nothing was making sense. I was hearing everything as if I was underwater.
“No no” the male officer was quick to assure me “We’re honestly just here for a welfare check – to make sure you’re not going to harm yourself. Ethel was insistent (was she, now) that you were mentally unhinged (FUCK YOU, ETHEL!!!) and that you were presenting a threat to yourself and possibly to society as a whole (I was WHAT, now?!?). We take things like that very seriously so we came right away”.
So this is RECENT.
Ethel. How could you?!?
I was trying to MOVE PAST THIS but it seems Ethel WON’T LET IT GO. She rang the POLICE!!! She told INTERPOL I was a danger to mysel and to society??? WHAT?!?
I hate her, guys. I’m sorry but I hate her now. I hate her guts. I really do.
“Have you been posting on Facebook that you’re suicidal?” the male officer asked.
“Well I’m definitely struggling” I admitted honestly “But I have NEVER posted about HANGING myself and I’m definitely not mentally unhinged – or a danger to myself – or to anyone else in society”
As I spoke, the female officer flipped open her black notebook and I was suprised to see it was an like an iPad of some kind – a tiny electronic notebook. Impressive. If I wasn’t so TERRIFIED I would have commented “cool” when I saw it.
She started typing away as I spoke. I found that comforting somehow, that the TRUTH was being noted. Finally.
“We’d like to hear about you – about who you are and how you’re life’s been these last few months if that’s ok?” the Male officer said. Alun had cleaned our brown leather ‘seat’ (its a small leather-covered cube) and offered it to him to sit on. He declined. I felt like he wanted to maintain ‘distance’ and that hurt me somehow.
So I told them.
I said “in the last 6 months (okay I’m not the best at keeping track of time – it wasn’t a deliberate lie, it honestly feels like only yesterday my Dad died, the pain is still so raw and so deep) my Dad died, I lost my job because someone impersonated me, pest control stomped a hole in our roof, I’m juggling multiple court cases, constantly looking for work and trying to help my Mom get over the grief of losing my Dad. Dad died suddenly and overseas so that we couldn’t have a funeral for him and we’ve not been given the chance to move on. I’ve been under so much strain and pressure. I’ve just recently come out of hospital and am working full time trying to provide for my Mom and make ends meet. I’m treading water and it’s…it’s really, really hard.”
At this, both officers looked at each other.
That changed something. The atmosphere in the room totally changed.
“Oh gosh, we had no idea” the male officer said “We’re so sorry Janet”.
My first apology in all these months of pain. It meant a lot.
The female officer gave me a kind look and a gentle “you’re alright” wink.
The male officer cleared away the books and drinks on the table and sat on the end of it. He moved closer to me. I liked that.
“Ethel said you had threatened her (she said WHAT?!?) and that your sudden decline in mental health was concerning to her and her life”
OH HAD SHE, NOW?!? THAT BITCH!!!
“I haven’t threatend her at all, we had a fight online and I thought it was between herself and I. I made a ‘dick move’ posting a photo comparing my ex to my current husband and “Ethel” took great offence to that and had a huge go at me online.
“Why would she care what you said about your ex?” the male asked.
Well. NOW we’re getting somewhere.
“She is a member of the Youth and my Ex is her Youth leader, she looks up to him and attacked me in his defence” I explained. This got written down.
“We got into an online fight. I said things I wish I hadn’t, Ethel responded by attacking me, we were both escalting things and saying horrible things” I admitted, TRUTHFULLY. “When I thought the fight was over, Ethel sent out a WhatsApp message to a huge group in the UK Church which I wasn’t part of it or aware at the the time so I felt attacked and bullied with no way to defend myself…it went out to so many people and Ethel was encouraging others to report me – even people who didn’t know me”
The female officer grimaced “Woah – that’s bang out of order…that must have been awful for you, Janet – we’re so sorry”
It WAS, yes. And thank you.
I saw her tap away on her screen. I’m hoping this was all getting recorded.
“So your Dad died and you lost your job” the Male officer repeated.
“Yes” and at the mention of Dad, my heart broke again and new tears rushed down my cheeks. I wiped away at them with the back of my hand. Alun saw and came over to me, putting a protective arm around me.
“Not only that, I’ve had to go to to Court 3 times in the last 4 months and I’ve had to move from about 5 different jobs…it’s all been…a lot” I sobbed.
“Janet is so resilient” Alun added, squeezing my hand supportively “She’s never out of work for long and always bounces back”
“Just the loss of a parent alone can be enough to cope with…” the male Policeman said. His voice was more gentle and his eyes were nicer – less judgemental somehow. “Let alone all these other really big issues you’ve had to deal with”. I nodded and continued wiping tears from my face. I just couldn’t stop crying. I was so hurt and so scared.
Maybe I was imagining it as I was desperately looking to be seen and understood…but I felt like something had definitely changed in my favour.
“Janet has had depression and anxiety” Alun rubbed my arm gently “but she’s not mentally unhinged and she would never threaten or hurt anyone. Janet works so hard, she cares for all her friends, she’s supporting her Mom since the loss of her Dad…she’s…amazing” Alun hugged me close to him.
Both Policemen looked at each other with that “aww bless” look.
I was so proud of Alun.
“So you’ve been going through A LOT, hey?” the male policeman asked. Gently, this time.
I nodded and kept crying. It was all so overwhelming for me.
“Are you…do you have help with what you’re going through?” he asked.
“I have a great pyschologist I see and I see my GP, too – you can look at my medical records?” I offered.
The male officer waved his hands and smiled “No need for that, it’s just good to know you have support – it looks like you could definitely use some with everything you’re going through…but from what you’ve told us, you’re doing the best you can – you’re seeing a psychologist and seeing your Doctor…do you find they’re helping?”
“They’re amazing. It’s just expensive and I’ve been in and out of work so much that it’s hard to afford to see them regularly. I see them when I can afford it. I’m doing my best to manage my mental health in the most positive way I can”
“Ugh it costs so much these days to get help” the female officer smiled across at me. I was beginning to like her.
“Do you have a medicare card?” the Male officer asked.
“I do” I confirmed “but from a $200.00 per session psych appointment, Medicare only give about $80 back, maximum…so I’m still paying A LOT of that on my own with no support financially. It’s really hard”
Both Police officers nodded.
“You’re doing your best in some really tough circumstances” the Male officer said
“You should be really proud” the female officer added
“Well” the male officer stood “We’ve got everything we needed from you. Thank you Alun and Janet for letting us in, sorry we interupted your day off – look at you both in your pjs…sorry guys”
And we all stood.
“We’re satisfied you are fine mentally and we can close this case, thank you for cooperating with us and again, we’re sorry you lost your Dad” the male officer said. The female officer touched my arm gently “Hope you’ll be ok”
Alun walked them out while I balled myself up as tight as I could and just wished to disappear.
This had been such a hard morning.