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Improving Mental Health of Stalking Victims: The Practical Guide I wish I had

Content Warning: This article discusses stalking, which may be distressing to some readers.


This article is for you.

1. Why?

I never thought that this article would be for me. This information is useful for future reference.

2. How should I use this article?

Treat this article as an advisory manual. Minimise any irrelevant information using the tabs on the left of the page.


What is stalking?


How did being stalked affect my mental health?

See more symptoms here.


Mental health: How to help

1. Numbness, denial, embarrassment, feeling on-edge and paranoia:

What can you do?

Have two diaries (digital/physical).


How may you achieve this?

In the first diary, write everything objective. This can include: who was present, what happened, when you think it happened, where you think/know it happened. Regarding what happened, consider the five senses (what you saw, smelt, physically touched, perhaps tasted and heard).


In the second diary, analyse how each event made you feel. Try to find a response to each objective point you described. This may:

  • Help you to understand how the individual is trying to make you feel.

  • Act as an outlet in the times you may feel alone, where talking to a therapist or a friend is not physically or financially available.

How can others help?

Let the victim reach out when/if they are ready.

Try not to dismiss the victim's feelings.

2. Agoraphobia (fear of leaving home):

What can you do?

Redecorate your room.


How?

  • Using your diary, focus on how you want to feel more/less frequently.

  • Analyse what you use most in your bedroom and which of the five senses you want to embrace. This could be a new silk pillow or a shelf for your desk. This may help to create a more enjoyable full-time environment at home.

How can others help?

Organise to create/look for new bedroom items together.

3. The sudden need for independence:

What can you do?

Embrace the good in this and invest in yourself healthily.


How?

  • Take an online course, for example Udemy.

  • Engage in free skills, such as writing poetry.

Try to identify what you can achieve alone, rather than these tasks as a distraction to be away from others.


How can others help?

Please be patient and do not push for more time than the victim is willing to give.


Physical health: How to help

1. Inability to sleep:

What can you do? Make music/engage in a creative skill.


How?

The sharp focus (perhaps due to adrenaline) may trick some into believing that adrenaline will benefit studying ('more alertness= longer attention span'). In my experience, focus can run out more quickly than usual. Creative activity engagement may pace the individual towards a goal (for example 'I want to make a new school bag'). This may more sustainably use the attention/alertness/hyper-focus.


How can others help?

If living in the same home, try not to socialise around sleeping time (unless preferred). This may allow the individual more autonomy prior to sleep.

2. Feeling alert, mental fatigue and illness from stress:

What can you do?

Consult a doctor about infrequent-use beta blockers.


How?

I am not medically-qualified. Please research and follow a doctor's advice on a personal-basis.


How can others help?

Try to listen and not intervene.

3. Avoidance of exercise and self care:

What can you do?

Try to integrate self care/exercise into morning and night routines.


How?

  • A new shower gel.

  • Parking/getting off public transport further away to integrate walking to the destination.

How can others help?

Try not to intervene.


Education/employment: How to help

1. Deteriorating academic/work performance, difficulty focussing and feelings of failure:

What can you do?

Reach out and try not to give up.


How?

  • Doctor's notes.

  • Video diaries (where you can prove that you felt [xyz] at a specific time).

  • Speak to bosses, colleagues, academic tutors, and/or school senior teams on a regular basis to come up with coursework/workflow/exam alternative requirements.

How can others help?

Try to make the process as easy as possible. If stuck, ask questions and find solutions.

2. Anxiety over career/education changes and not looking forward to future prospects:

What can you do?

Limit social media/outside influence and avoid looking beyond each week. Enjoy the process more than the goal.


How?

Try to find a skill which is both useful, as well as personal, and dedicate some time to this each week. If employment/education changes, you have a developing skill to pursue as a job, or until seeking a new job or educational opportunity.


How can others help?

Take an interest, without focussing on the end goal of 'what do you want out of this?'



Social life: How to help

1. Trust in interpersonal relationships and avoidance of social activity:

The right friends, colleagues and family members will listen, not share and try to make you feel comfortable. Please do what feels best for you.


Finances: How to help

1. Stolen and damaged property:

What can you do?

Keep an objective diary of events.


How?

Previously explained in 'mental health' section.


How can others help?

Please do not blame the victim for damages.

2. Access to counselling:

What can you do?

Please reach out and research services.


How?

How can others help?

Give money rather than presents for Christmas. Otherwise, please listen.

3. Expenses of new education, employment and relocation:

What can you do?

This is difficult to answer. Others can help with the relocating process, or by supplying places to stay on a frequent basis.


What next?


The stalker's feelings of fixation and obsession are not your responsibility. The quicker you can accept the situation each day/week/month, the more likely you may maintain/reclaim your own life.

Stay:

  1. Connected to a loving network.

  2. Focussed on yourself.

  3. Consistently aware of how you feel, even years later.

Stalking is not your fault. Good luck. ♡

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