Sunday 16 February 2020

The Justice system, suicide (RIP Caroline Flack)

Hearing the news of a British TV presenter Caroline Flack who took her own life yesterday has stirred a lot of painful emotion for me today.

I don't know Caroline and can only base any form of opinion I might have upon her of what I've seen of her in the media and attempting to read between the lines.

What I do know is that a young beautiful, talented, woman has taken her life. 

I am assuming it felt like the only way out for Caroline. Something I have in the past can relate to. 

She has recently been in the public eye for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, who has since wanted to drop all charges upon the "attack". 

No one knows, what went on between the couple. Caroline is likely to have lashed out at partner but we do not know or understand the circumstances for this reaction. What I can see is that she must have had a reason. Caroline did not appear to be someone who went around bludgening people. 

I am not condoning any form of physical abuse but I can also see that these events can so easily occadionally occur. She must have a had a reason for lashing out in the moment. She must have had some rage deep inside her at that very moment that she just lost control with. No, im not saying that it's right, but people were quick to judge and base opinions on her without knowing the entire story.

Despite the boyfriend wishing to drop charges. The Crime Prosecution Service (CPS) continued to go ahead with a trial. Now I'm not saying that she shouldn't have been arrested, cautioned or even charged on assault , because yes that is the law but I don't think that a "trial" was necessary. 

Usually a trial goes ahead when you plea not guilty to the charges made against you. 

Having been through dealings first hands with the CPS twice. I feel these are your choices...

Plea guilty to a crime that you don't feel that you are necessarily guilty of. Mitigating circumstances are dismissed and you are forced to say guilty to avoid trial. 


Plea not guilty and face a trial.

Caroline chose to plead not guilty and face trial. 

Having been through the the system twice, on both sides of the law. ( victim and offender) I found the CPS to be completely incompetent and had zero compassion. It felt like they didn't look at mitigating circumstances they just dismissed any grey area and "made an example of me". 

When I was sent to prison the judge used the words "make an example of". I feel that they were doing exactly the same in Caroline Flacks case, albeit for a very different crime. She was famous, she made a mistake it felt like they were saying" let's show the world that even if you're famous you don't get let off". Famous or not, no case should ever be made an example of. I mean make an example to who exactly? 

I was charged with "conspiracy to supply class A drugs coccaine" yet I am no more a drug dealer than anyone who has ever tried an illicit drug before. 

Ok so I turned a blind eye to my boyfriend at the time. But if your other half was dealing recreational drugs to his mates in the pub would you go running to the police? Doubtful. I know so many people that do recreational drugs and I'm sure that they are as popular as alcohol if you collated statistics upon it. 

Ok, so I knew my boyfriend at the time supplied to most of his mates. I know the town I lived in that many pub/ club goers were doing it. I chose to turn a blind eye, for it seemed the norm. Many people did and still do coccaine. 

My boyfriend was the dealer not me! Yet I was convicted. I'd never been in trouble with police before and not since. Yet I was forced to plead guilty to avoid a trial. I did not want to plead guilty as I wasn't guilty of being a "drug dealer" Yes, I was guilty of having turned a blind eye but who wouldn't?  

The stress of going through that, amongst other things, took me to a really dark place and having already experienced mental health problems can feel so much towards how Caroline Flack might have felt. 

I felt like my career was over, I'd lost friends, who in fact when shit hit the fan found out they weren't real friends at all. I drank more and spiralled, I was loosing myself. I was on bail for 6 months which was torture, I was unsure of what my future might hold. 

Police and barristers telling me that I'd get a suspenpended sentance or community service. Never once actually preparing me for the reality of a custodial sentence. 

People were mean, brutally mean at that. I experienced ridicule on social media, made to change my phone number, slagged off by people. If I went out socially I was the topic of conversation. I am an intelligent girl and it doesnt take a genius to know the whispers as I walked into a bar were aimed at me. I felt victimised by people's judgemental attitudes and behaviour towards me. Some people were dispicable and huge hypocrites. Dont those people think that I or indeed Caroline were suffering and felt bad enough without their actions and words making us feel worse?

It was mentioned in a tabloid that Caroline felt like her life was out of control and there was no way back and that she felt judged. Well that's exactly how I felt. 

We all make mistakes but how some people treat you when you do make one is enough to send any person let a lone a person who is à vulnerable person with mental health problems over the edge. 

I am not famous like Caroline Flack yet my home town, many people in it and the newspaper reports made me feel horrific. 

My heart goes out to Caroline and her family she leaves behind. 

The people who truly cared for her I can only imagine will have a combination of feelings. 

One of my friends took his life a few years ago and working in mental health for many years I know first hand the impact upon the loved ones it leaves behind. 

From my experience the loved ones quite often blame themselves and one of the many emotions can be guilt. These are the people that shouldn't feel guilty. 

The people who should feel guilty are the ones that judged. 

No one will know the reasons for Caroline taking her life and I'm sure there are a lot of contributing factors but what I do know is that those brutally mean people, the tabloids, those that judged her are likely to be one of the many contributing factors and for that they should feel ashamed. 

I've mentioned before that I've attempted to end my life and it's been after things becoming way to much to cope with. Ive been in the dark and could not see a future and felt there was no way out. At those times I couldnt see or think clearly, it seemed like the easiest option for me. In hindsight not for those who loved me. 

Suicide isn't a selfish act. Yes,  it might appear that way to onlookers without any understanding. But at that very moment before trying to end your life, I didnt have and others im sure didnt have the capacity to be selfish. In fact it feels the exact polar opposite because it feels like you no longer want you or your loved ones to suffer for the way you feel or for the things youve done. I for one can say when you are in that dark place you are not thinking clearly and it feels that although you know people love you it would just be easier in the long run if you didnt cause them or yourself any more pain. 

I am a survivor and now know that actually the scars of suicide cause far more pain to loved ones than making constant bad decisions and making mistake after mistake. 

For Caroline, couldn't see this because she was effective in completing taking her life as many others sadly will never realise. 

I do understand now having been there several times. Yes, I still occasionally have thoughts of thinking it would be easier but I've learnt that my true loved ones will still be here for me no matter how shit my life is or what mistakes I make. 

I know my parents would rather see me in prison again, crying, and feeling temporaily depressed than in a coffin. For there is no escape from a coffin there is always escape from tears, pain and depression. 

My heart sincerely goes out to Caroline and Carolines loved ones and to anyone else who has or is going through similar. I genuinely understand. 

I only wish society didn't judge. I will at some point write a post on the effects of social media and reality TV and the impact it has on mental wellbeing. 

But for now sleep well Caroline 

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