Post Conviction Paralysis

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This daunting image is what it felt like after John was convicted and mom died.  I felt captured in mid-air leaving one nightmare and entering another.  Full of uncontrollable fear. I had nowhere to go, nowhere to run and no safety net to catch me.  What’s even more symbolic of this picture, is it happened 9 days after his sentence, 9/11 was felt so deep down inside me this moment resonated with me and I couldn’t get it out of my head.

For years I have had dreams of falling from a tall building or cliff, wide awake feeling the crisis of the moment all the way down, and right before I hit the ground I wake up.  This is a recurrent dream for me and I’ve had it since I was a pre-teen. This is how I’ve felt since I last posted about this douche bag.  Over the past week I have kept feeling like something is about to happen.  Something bad, maybe an anniversary or birthday; it didn’t hit me until today.  January 30, 2002 was the night I was attacked at my home.

My subconsciousness knew this was the next chapter of John, hell I even knew it but couldn’t come to writing about it.  Yet this moment has been gnawing at me and this anniversary is not one to celebrate.  The longer I ignore this demon gnawing at me the more I will crawl into my hole.  So, I’m taking my jump by choice, I’m jumping into the next round of my story and it is my choice to do so.  Praying this is a healing moment.

From August 2001 until January, 30, 2002; I lived in a cave.  I didn’t go places, I shut myself off from everyone, broke up with a guy I was dating and I lived in constant fear.  John wasn’t put in prison, there was still nothing protecting me.  I still woke up 4-6 times per night checking and re checking every door and window in the house.  Kept my porch lights on, alarm armed and my gun within quick reach.  I even had a knife hidden between my mattress set.  My dog was a wolf hybrid and she was a badass and very protective.  I got a job that was 45 miles away from my home, I left medicine as a nurse and went into the mortgage industry.  I felt that I needed to change my career so he couldn’t find me again, driving to a from places was different every day and I read every book I could to learn more about stalking and the effects.

On the day of January 30th, I went to work and my son was staying with his father that night, we had a set schedule of when he would be with his dad.  On those nights I would work late, I dove into my work so I didn’t have to be at home alone.  When I got home and pulled into my driveway it was about 9:30 pm and obviously dark outside.  I noticed immediately that the side gate to my backyard was open and I immediately thought only about my dog.  What if she got out, how will I find her, she had a doggie door she could use.  I decided to go through the gate and call for her, because then if she was home she would come through the doggie door and meet me in the backyard.  It’s a pitch black area, no lights on this side of the house, as I entered through the gate I yelled for her.  Then out of nowhere I hear “Hello Katy” and I’m immediately hit in the forehead with a large object.  I know I lost consciousness because I woke up face down in the dirt with someone sitting on my back with a rope around my neck.  Fuck I’m having flashbacks typing this, I’m shaking.

The fight or flight in me kicked in immediately and I started fighting.  Trying to grab at his hands, but he had gloves on and a Carthartt canvas feeling coat.  The rope was really thin and I couldn’t get my fingers between it and my throat.  I flailed around the best I could and then I realized my car keys were stabbing me in the leg and I grabbed for them.  I had a key fob with an alarm and that car alarm was loud as hell and I managed to push the alarm button.  Then he was gone.  He took off and I don’t know which way he went, when I realized he was off of me I got up and ran to my door and got in, pushed the house alarm panic button and locked myself in the bathroom with the phone.  I coward to the floor in fetal position calling 911 and what felt to be hours was merely minutes before a I heard sirens and a female voice at the bathroom door.  She told me who she was and it was safe to come out.  I came out to my home full of police officers and flashlights and questions coming at me.  I was coughing because my throat was swelling up from the strangulation, I had blood all over my hands and didn’t know here it was coming from, I couldn’t breathe through my nose and I was covered in dirt with rips in my blouse and holes in the knees of my slacks, and I was missing a shoe.  I kept asking for my dog, where the fuck is my dog?  A lady officer told me she was asleep on my bed, breathing but she wouldn’t wake up.  I ran to her and cried and was dropping blood off my face onto her and couldn’t comprehend shit.

They called for an ambulance to take me to the hospital, animal control took my dog to get checked out at a vet and I couldn’t stop shaking.  I shook like I had hypothermia, I felt paralyzed and confused.  The emergency room doctor looked me over, took x-rays of my throat and CT of my head and nose. Gave me one hell of a sedative to calm me down and watched over me for hours.  Meanwhile I had this detective, a woman, who was there to ask me questions.  I explained over and over what transpired.  It was fresh in my head, and I kept telling myself “you have to keep remembering, close your eyes, keep the imprint in your mind”.  I remember the doctor giving me a steroid for the swelling in my throat, a narcotic for pain and the sedative all in my system.  I was at that moment just trying to piece things together, all these drugs and I couldn’t keep anything straight.

Once the hospital released me the detective took me to the police department.  Took me into an interrogation room with mirrored windows and a camera.  Then proceeded to ask me more of the same questions.  I kept relaying to her about the stalker, kept telling her to go find John.  I felt like she just wouldn’t listen.  I got very frustrated and upset and demanded to see the lead detective that helped with John in the first place and she kept saying “He’s not on duty, I am”.  After telling her my story and what happened, she said I couldn’t go home because the police were processing the scene and would be there all night.  I had to stay at a neighbor’s house. My sister lived across the street and when the officers originally went over there to tell her what had happened, she was high or drunk and told them she just didn’t have time to deal with any of it.  Yeah, my own sister, the self-absorbed trained narcissist just couldn’t deal with it. So I stayed at the neighbors.  I laid on their couch, I tried to sleep but seriously who was I kidding.  I couldn’t sleep.

The next day I went home, called the vet and went to pick up my dog.  She had been sedated with a hotdog laced with an animal sedative. I called my dad Clint and he was on his way to my house, he was 5 hours away.  My son stayed with his father.  I just laid in my bed, waiting….

The detective called me the next day and asked if I had any ideas of who would want to hurt me.  I busted out laughing. “Are you fucking kidding me? Do you not remember me telling you over and over about John?  Did you find him, did you interview him?” Her response took this trauma to a whole new level, “No we didn’t, we felt that if we came to him about you it would reopen his obsession with you.” UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE! She asked if she could call my psychologist to see if maybe she could understand better what I’ve been through with the stalker.  Weird ass question, but okay, please go for it.  I had an appointment with Madeline the next day because of this attack, maybe she could shine some light on me about this detective and what the fuck she is doing.  Madeline trained Police Officers on this type of violence and the victims.

That night my dad was with me shaking his head in shock, then told me he was going to run an errand and would be back so I wasn’t alone for long.  5 hours later Clint stumbled into my house, so drunk he couldn’t even speak.  Good ol’ dad went and got drunk, that was his coping mechanism and his way of helping me.

My support system, non-existent.  Sister didn’t want to be bothered and didn’t even come to check on me once, because she was headed to Mexico for a vacation.  Dad was drunk the whole time.  My ex-husband was threatening to get a court order to take my son away (once again) on the grounds of an unsafe home.  I had no friendships because I cut them all off during my cave hibernation.  I was so very alone there were no words to explain how alone I was. I went to see Madeline that next day, she told me that the detective hinted around that she thought I did this to myself.  It “Just seemed weird that I was able to get away so easily. That based on her experience she’d never seen anything like it before.”

If you’re sitting there with your mouth wide open and shaking your head, yeah, that just happened.  Madeline knew me better than that, she knew I was telling the truth.  I’m still not sure how I hit myself over the head and wrapped a “shoestring” around my neck and strangled myself.  Not sure how I broke my nose.  Really not sure how I could have sedated my dog while I was at work for 12 hours and she was still sedated when I got home.  Apparently according to Inspector Gadget, I did this to myself and she refused to further investigate.

At that very moment I was crying so hard in Madeline’s office I couldn’t breathe.  I hyperventilated and told her I was just going to kill myself.  Fuck it.  Nobody cares, everyone around me is fucked in the head, I’m scared as hell and I will not live like this any longer.  My .38 would have been my best choice, hollow point bullets, blow my fucking head off.

Madeline being the badass psychologist she is, immediately got me admitted into a behavioral health hospital for a full workup.  She even drove me there.  She called my father and told him to go home, that I was admitted and didn’t want anyone to know where to find me.  She told him his behavior did more harm than good. She arranged for my dog to be looked after by neighbors.  She also called the detective and informed her that her disbelief in my attack was destructive, unprofessional and would be reported to the Chief.

I was finally in a safe place.  Getting real help.  Being cared for.  To this day, I can’t wear a scarf, no tight necklaces or fashionable “chokers” and I can’t be grabbed from behind. My little boy now likes to ride on my back, and I have to remind him each time not to grab tightly around my neck and I have to remind myself, it’s just my little boy.

 

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The Conviction of the Stalker

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From the moment John was arrested, I felt like I was vindicated. Through the initial stalking, people did not believe me; the police, hospital, family and friends…treated me like I was the crazy one. Treated me like I asked for it, I may have caused it to happen and held me responsible for becoming a victim. No one asks for domestic violence, no one asks to be terrorized, it’s not a goal people aim for. The vindication was a relief.

He was arrested in June 2001. The prosecuting District Attorney was an amazing woman, the best I can describe her now is like the character Grace Hanadarko from Saving Grace.  She was straight forward, took no shit, had a tough yet beautiful appearance, yet very caring on the inside. I was in good hands. We had to wait for a couple of months for this case to be brought into court, which was scheduled for August 22, 2001.

Right after he was arrested is when my mom, Joan, started to become very ill.  I have written about that time and it was beyond stressful, therefore having this bullshit court hearing piled on top of her dying was a level of trauma I can’t really explain. If you haven’t read about Joan, please go back through my blog, you’ll get a good idea about her. To help explain those 2 months, click on Joan here and you can read about this shitty time with her.

I thought once John was arrested, we would just have to wait for the court hearing, and I was terrified. I had to come face to face with him, I had to tell my side of the story, be cross examined…it caused me high levels of anxiety. I ended up running away from home for a week and stayed at a dude ranch far from home, so I could be “unknown” and feel safe and have no contact with anyone. Upon my return I had a message from the D.A. to call her, she informed me that there had been a development while I was gone.  Apparently a woman (Vera) that used to work at the same hospital as us once before, called the D.A. and told her that I met with her. Vera told her I met her in a park on a specific day, we sat on a park bench and I admitted that I made the whole thing up and that it all was just a huge mistake. Grace gave me the details of the name of the park, the date and time and location of the bench. Grace then said, I know this isn’t true because you were at the dude ranch during this apparent meeting. I was at the dude ranch, 300 miles from my home, so the possibility of this happening was slim to none. Grace knew this and pressured Vera further about the subject. She then let her know what happens to people who interfere with a felony case and how much jail time she would be looking at.  Vera caved immediately and admitted that John put her up to it.

Wow.  This crazy fucker just doesn’t know when to stop. It did however, put a “nail in his conviction” and he was forced to plead guilty. He no longer had any leverage for a trial, hearing, nothing. He lost all credibility in that moment.  Huge relief once again. I still had to go to court for his guilty plea, in 2001 victims didn’t have a lot of protection at hearings, especially because a stalking conviction was so rare and misunderstood about what the victim had gone through. I didn’t really have much time to think about it though, Joan was on her way to dying and I was stretched so far and so thin.  Between the stalker and Joan, I was a mess.  I got fired from my job at the hospital because I couldn’t focus, which was a fucked up blessing in disguise. It allowed me to be home with my son, focus on mom, wait for the hearing and process everything happening.

Joan died August 18, 2001. I was in court August 22, 2001. I faced that slimy son of a bitch 4 days after the death of my mother and I was strong!  Joan was by my side in spirit and she gave me the strength.  I could hear her words “Men are shit sweetheart, fuck him and the horse he rode in on. You can do this.” So I did. I sat there and listened and I waited for the judge to sentence him, but the judge asked John if he had anything to say before he handed him his sentence. John said yes and looked directly at me “I’m sorry for what I have put you and your family through, those weren’t my intentions and I hope you can forgive me.” That motherfucker just couldn’t stop, he had to speak to me one last time, he just had to have “his moment”. Psychopathic piece of shit. My blood boiled. I raised one eyebrow and gave him the death look and responded with “Fuck you”.

The judge handed him his sentence, and this part really just kills me. Because John had no prior history of domestic violence or stalking, a completely clean record; he served no jail time.  He was guilty of a class 5 felony and now a felon, but no jail time. He was entered into a diversion program, something the county had started new, where John would go see a counselor through the court once per week at his cost for the next 3 years. There was a permanent restraining order against him for me, my son, family, work, and home. No restitution paid to me.

In that moment I thought “IT’S OVER!” It is finally over, I can now live freely and not be afraid, I can heal from this and the death of mom and get a new job.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. “It” wasn’t over, I wasn’t free, healing didn’t begin and life just got worse.

No, John didn’t go away, but I have to stop for now.

To be continued….

The Final Straw – The Stalkers Arrest

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It is hard to finally write about this series of events; just know my hands are shaking as I type and I had to meditate into a pretty deep calm before writing.  The above photo is the actual mug shot of John.  I’m trying to plow through this event no matter what; I’m determined to get this written out.

After the event at my sister’s house, about a week later, I was able to finally speak with my dad Clint.  Clint owned a motel at this time about 350 miles from me up in the mountains.  Clint was a busy man, so we could go for weeks without speaking.  I called dad to tell him about what had happened at Sis’s house with John.  He listened carefully and asked what he looked like.  After describing John, dad said “Honey I’ve met John”.  At that moment I still remember the feeling of my heart drop into my gut, it was the sickest feeling to date.  I asked him to explain further.  Apparently this fuck-stick drove 350 miles to meet my dad, went to dad’s motel and introduced himself as one of my friends from high school.  He showed up with a snowmobile on the back of his truck, said he was “passing” through and remembered my dad lived there and thought he would stop to say hello and meet my dad.

My dad, being one of the most friendly men I know, invited him in.  Showed him the house, pictures of me and my lifetime on his walls, toured the motel and then invited him to the bar for a drink.  Dad said that John asked questions about me, such as “What was she like as a little girl”, “What were her hobbies”, “How often does she come to visit”, “Is she coming to visit soon”.  Then proceeded to tell my dad what a nice girl I am, what fun I was in high school and how kind I was.  John received more information about me in that short 2 hour period then he had for the past year and a half.  As dad told me all of this, I cried and shook uncontrollably, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  A level of panic struck me that I can’t explain.

This was on a Sunday that I spoke with my dad, so the next morning after a night of restless sleep, I got up and went straight to the county court-house where I obtained the temporary restraining order.  I knew John worked in the basement of the court-house, but I was so scared and so pissed off, I didn’t care.  I went straight to the courtroom where I got the TRO to see the same judge.  I barreled into the court room and stood at the front seating area and stared at the judge with tears in my eyes just shaking.  The judge looked at me, cocked his head sideways and put his hand up to the attorney who was presenting and asked him to stop speaking.  The judge said “I remember you, you have a TRO on a man who works in our building correct?”  I replied “Yes sir, and I need help now!”  The judge ordered a temporary recess and asked the bailiff to escort me to the judges chambers, I sat down and he asked what was happening.  I told him everything that had transpired from the moment the TRO took place and how scared I was and how the local city police were just blowing me off.  He got on his phone and asked for a sheriff to come to his chambers.  Then called the local city police Chief and told him what had been happening.  After the sheriff arrived, the judge explained that the sheriff would be driving me to the police department and that I would be meeting with the chief of police and their lead detective.  That I needed to stop at my house on the way there and pick up any evidence, basically all of the letters, video’s and gifts.

I had no problem with that, I couldn’t believe it!  For the next 5 hours I spent telling the story in detail and provided the evidence.  The detective and Chief told me that I was dealing with the “Poster child” of stalkers.  That they would be charging him with a Class 5 felony of stalking and harassment.  That it typically was a Class 6, but because he used the Government Postal Service to harass me, it was considered a stronger felony.  They were going to head out to the court-house and have him arrested immediately.  Yet to understand that he’d most likely make bail and only stay one night in jail.  Then the detective advised me to buy a gun, that once again I was only protected by a piece of paper.  They advised me to have a safe person I could call every morning on my way to work of when I was leaving and then when I arrived.  To do the same when returning home.  That my safe person needed to know my whereabouts at all times and if I didn’t check in on the set schedule we agreed to, my safe person was to call the detective immediately.  They increased the police presence on my street in addition.  After receiving a great deal of apologies from the detective and the Chief for their officers failure to comprehend what was actually happening, I had a sense of relief, yet more fear.  Retaliation was eminent, and I had to be prepared.

Upon leaving the police department I went straight to a local gun shop and started my purchase of a hand gun that would be easy for me to use and carry.  Nickle plated snub nose .38 special to be exact.  I’m no stranger to guns, I was shooting them by the time I was six years old with my dad on the ranch.  His name in this story is Clint for a reason, and where I live we have the “Make my day” law.  I signed up for classes to get comfortable with my new shooter.

This was the starting point of a whole new level of fear, I chose Kojak to be my safe person and I now had to wait for the next steps.  That evening the detective called me at home and let me know they had John in custody and that he would be spending the night in jail until his arraignment the next morning.  That John was an arrogant ass during his interview process, John labeled the judge and said the judge was a complete asshole and emphatic that he had done nothing wrong to me. Then the JUDGE called me that night and was extremely kind and reassured me, he also told me to know that he did not believe in any coincidences, that if I happen to “run into” John at the store or gas station, that I needed to call the police immediately.  He said “This guy is on my radar, and I will make his life a living hell here at the court-house if I hear he violates the permanent restraining order that will be placed on him tomorrow at his arraignment”.  DAMN! Vindication!

I had a new level of fear AND I was pissed off even more.  Not at the police, but at John.  My old fear turned into anger and I actually prayed I would run into him “coincidentally” so I could shoot him in the face.  Fear and anger combined equals SURVIVAL!  As I write this 16 years later, I still have that same feeling.  I have a conceal carry permit and I swear IF I ran into John again, I will blow his face off.

That night knowing he was behind bars, I slept soundly and deeply.  But that was only for one night.

To be continued…..

The Stalker Part 3

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By this time in the story John was served his Temporary Restraining Order by the Sheriff’s office.  During a gullible state I hoped he would see the fear he had caused and choose to walk away from me and never contact me again.  However, the TRO fueled the psycho’s fire within and he became worse.

I lived across the street from my sister, and she had her own business which she ran out of her home.  I had spoken to many people at my work in the past about her and her business, helping her drum up business.  Little did I know John had also inquired about her by speaking with others we worked with before he left the hospital.  In psycho stalker fashion he called her under an assumed name and set up an appointment with her.  She had never seen a picture of him, this was way before social media, all she knew was he was a psycho stalker and he had worked with me.

He came to her house with an assumed name and spent about 20 minutes speaking with her about “business” stuff and then started asking all sorts of questions about me.  She felt it odd and strange that he kept circling back around to me and then her gut hit her hard about the unsettled feeling she realized she had with him; she asked him point-blank “You’re not Stan, you’re John aren’t you?”  He stumbled in his response for words and she immediately got up and yelled for her husband in a panic while leaving the room.  Within moments of her husband and her walking back into the room together, John was gone out of the house and walking through of the gate of their yard.  Her husband ran out there and yelled at him to never return as he was driving away.

My sister called me in a panic and told me everything, I couldn’t even speak nor respond to her.  I jumped in my car and went home and called the police.  They came over, took the report and said “Since you weren’t home at the time and the restraining order doesn’t include her, there’s nothing we can do.”

The mantra I kept hearing from them was “there’s nothing we can do”…

 

Desperation, Frustration….a little rant

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written.  Life can really get in the way of being able to see ANYTHING!  What does life look like for Katy right now?

  1. Diagnosed with 3 autoimmune diseases.  Able to manage one with diet.  The other 2 are apparently managed with medications, one is prednisone the other hydroxychloriquine.  Prednisone can’t be long-term, causes crazy bruising and causes other health concerns, finished my second course and now it’s out of my system and all symptoms have come back.  Hydroxychloriquine takes months to work, and that’s if it decides to work.
  2. Daily symptoms: extraordinary pain in my feet, burning pins and needles with swelling, swollen painful hands, headaches, low back pain, body shaking uncontrollably from the inside out, insomnia, mood swings, brain fog and confusion, ringing in my ears, fatigue, low blood pressure, dizziness and abdominal pain.
  3. Recently had to move because our landlord decided to sell our house AFTER we signed another 4 year lease agreement.  Have to love the little clauses in a lease.
  4. Husband’s employer decided to reorganize their departments, which left him out of employment, so we lost our health insurance.  We also lost our church, our second home and a lot of our community.  A churches words on stage only run that deep, integrity doesn’t always run deep behind the closed doors of the church.  I haven’t lost my faith in God, but I have in the people who teach it.  Yes they are also human and sin and make mistakes, but actions speak louder than words.
  5. New health insurance is crap and beyond expensive, so I’ve lost my psychologist and psychiatrist, back to a conglomerate healthcare system that has the WORSE mental health department.
  6. Just had the one year anniversary of my brothers tragic death, which is still so fresh I can’t even touch the surface of speaking about it.

I’m done with seeing and experiencing all of this.  Who gets me through it?  God.  I know He has a plan for us and everything we are going through, I know there is a light and I am seeing glimmers of it in the distance.  But-it feels so far away and hard to catch up to.  I want to feel energy again, unity, pain-free, confident and directed.  Instead I feel slow, alone, pained, uncertain and reeling with desperation.

One step at a time, one day at a time, one prayer at a time…it’ll all come back.  Yet my patience runs thin.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Blogiversary

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I started this blog one year ago in an effort to work through my past and present realities. I’ve grown in knowledge based on putting my feelings and experiences into words. I’ve made some amazing “blogging” friends who have similar experiences in life. I’ve even managed to piss some people off.

My goal was to create a space where I could raise awareness to CPTSD, and it evolved from there. I wish I could be writing more currently, but my health isn’t allowing it. My “brain fog” is a mother fucker at its best. So while I’m not able to put feelings and thoughts into words, I’m still going to do my best to raise awareness.

Thank you to those of you who have been loyal readers, without you…I have no voice.

Letter to 30 year old Katy

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Dear Katy;

It’s me, 46-year-old you, and I want you to know something deep from my heart.

During the time of the stalker, not only were you in trauma from him, but your mother was dying as well. You had double the trauma happening to you with no support or advice on how to handle it. This combination is a rare occurrence and you need to be recognized for that.

Every step you took to protect you and your son was spot on. It’s not your fault the stalker became obsessed with you and terrorized you. You had no coping skills except for what you were taught, which was very little. I recognize your pain and desperation for help, how helpless and scared you felt.

As mom was dying, you had the same feelings about that. You felt helpless and scared, you’d never experienced anything like this. It was your first grieving experience with death.

If you’re feeling shame because maybe you’re choices during that time weren’t the best, IT’S OKAY! You have nothing to be ashamed of. I give you full permission to grieve these traumas. I support you in all you did and why did it.

Katy I love you no matter what, I forgive you, I’m proud of you and I’m sorry you had to experience this. I have to forgive us for any shame or guilt you felt during this time. You were a child of God then, but our eyes have now been opened about His love for us. I’m proud of you for doing what you had to do to survive. But you need to see YOU MADE IT! You’re alive today and your mind and choices are at their healthiest. You’re an example of God’s love and grace. Your heart, soul, mind and strength was God working through you. You are now a queen, lover, magi and warrior because of what you’ve been through and you came out shining! I have so much empathy for you, because you didn’t do anything to make this all happen. You were a victim of circumstance and a scared young woman. Although you didn’t receive empathy from your family and your friends walked away from you, please know THAT was NOT your fault. Not everyone can face that ocean of shit and have the strength to move through it. That ocean has been cleaned up and dried up, it’s now clean, refreshing, relaxing and Gods beautiful creation.

This ocean of life can be unforgiving through the storms, but you now know how to navigate through it better. When the storms pass, you come out a bit scathed, but You’re alive! That’s badass!

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You are loved and supported by me no matter what. Katy I’m proud of you and I love you. 💛  Now move forward and keep fighting because I’ve got your back! You’re safe and I will protect you at all costs!

I love you and God Bless you,

Katy at 46 years old