The days following the attack were some of the worst of my life; I became more and more paranoid. I wasn’t able to walk down the street without jumping every time someone walked past me, even worse if someone was running or accidently brushed past me I would scream out loud in panic.
I had dreams of that day outside my office, but in my dreams each time he caught up with me again and followed me home. I had to get up 3-4 times a night to check that the front door and the back door was safety locked and then I would lock myself back into my room. I wasn’t able to sleep for more than 40 minutes at a time and it often took an hour to get back to sleep after I had checked the locks.
Work was getting harder and harder, just being near the building made my chest tight and I would turn in circles looking over my shoulder and around me all the way to the door clutching my phone with 999 already dialled. The security guards were again walking me to the station after work.
At work itself the emails continued and there wasn’t a day that passed that I didn’t break down and run to the loos to try and find sanctuary and to hide my tears. I was worried for my job and by extension how I would cope if I was fired. It was surely only a matter of time, my sales performance was appalling and I hid away in a corner of the building café every lunch, afraid to go outside.
I still didn’t want to explain what was going on it seemed stupid saying it out loud, I mean the police had arrested M so many times now and the court date was set for December at a magistrates court but if he had really done something wrong surely they could hold him, was I over reacting?
I didn’t know, my case officer asked me to come in and go through all the details I could remember of my time with M, it took hours and was so stressful. I had worked hard to put that time out of my head and to try to move on. But she wanted to know everything, to present the background of my case to the court.
My current life however seemed so much worse in comparison to when I was with M. I was hiding away at weekends and evenings, afraid to leave my house convinced that M knew where I was and that it was only a matter of time until he turned up.
I told my housemates a bit about M and what was happening and put up a photo of him by the front door saying to not let him in or speak to him but to tell me asap if they saw him anywhere near the house.
I hated walking past that photo every day, but at the same time it grimly reassured me that there would be 10 extra pairs of eyes looking out for M.
I was so worried about my job by the end of August that I started looking elsewhere; I thought about it long and hard and decided that I would be better off leaving sales. Exhibition sales roles are limited in London to a handful of companies and M would be bound to check them if I was no longer at my current company.
So I re wrote my CV, and politely turned down all the offers of sales roles that predictably came in. It seemed that there was no way of avoiding them, but then a recruiter contacted me with a seemingly perfect role, I was put forward and got an interview. The best thing was that the job was out West. Not in town, nowhere near my current office and a new industry for me, I went to the interview feeling like the weight of my whole future was balanced on my shoulders.
I got a second interview but it would be 2 weeks until I was due to go in and present to the company. Work went steadily downhill, I was taken to one side and told that although they understood my personal circumstances were difficult I was on a warning about my performance.
My confidence deserted me at the office and I failed to improve, I went to the office each day panicked about being followed, panicked about looing my job and panicked about losing my car and my home. M was taking my life away piece by piece and I couldn’t stop him.
The day before my second interview, I was spoken to again. My manger looked so uncomfortable when he sat me down and I was sure I was done for. I quickly decided it would be far better to hand my notice in than to be fired for poor performance. So before he could fire me I quit.
I went to my interview early the next morning before what was to be my last day at my current job; they didn’t want me to work my notice. They were happy to let me go. I was so nervous when I arrived, I had worked on my presentation obsessively for the past two weeks and knew it by heart and felt it was good.
I walked in with my head held high knowing that they would not be able to judge me on what was happening to me, it was a clean slate here and I did my best.
Leaving I thought it had gone well, I got onto the train and 3 minutes later my phone rang, it was my recruiter and he was ringing with an offer! I was thrilled and all my worries fell away for a moment I had a job, I no longer had to go back to that building every day. M wouldn’t know where I was!
I had been right to quit.
I tided my desk and left with hope in my heart that day. I thanked the security guard who walked me to the station that afternoon and went home hoping this would mean a change. M wouldn’t know my place of work, my mobile number or my email. What could he do?
©2015 C xo