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Here at My Soul Balm, we believe that stories have power. The power to heal, inspire, and make change. But we can only do that if we let them out into the world.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell your story. Sometimes, things block us.
When I first got in contact with Estella, she wasn’t sure her story would be appropriate for a mental health blog since she hasn’t been diagnosed with anything. But as we began to chat, it was apparent that her harrowing story was one that needed to be told.
It’s a story of love, obsession, and ultimately, survival and growth for Estella. She hopes it will inspire other girls in the same situation.
Estella, a bright soul and avid adventurer, first met the man who would become her stalker while travelling overseas. At first their relationship was great, however Estella started to noticing something off about her new boyfriend’s behavior…
“Two years ago, I met someone great while traveling overseas. We stayed friends for 1.5 years until I paid a visit to his home country. One thing led to another, we began dating.
Having depression and borderline personality disorder with a not so supportive family, he had a hard time dealing with it all. Screaming for help, he was not given the care he needed.
Feeling the frustration and the love I had for him, I wanted to be the one to get him out of this rabbit hole. I might have mixed up sympathy and love together, but I did love him with all my heart and wanted to make his life better because we all deserve to be happy.
Things were great for a few months until I noticed something was awry. He began to lie about absolutely everything, from witnessing a car crash to being in a gunfight. He had his own reality going on and his friends would tell me the truth about most of his lies.”
If lying wasn’t bad enough, he became extremely controlling and showed erratic behaviour if I didn’t listen to him. He warned me that if I left him he would kill himself or die with me.
Several times he would message my guy friends, telling them to f**k off. If I told him no, he would call me a “wh*re” and started throwing and breaking things.
Always jealous and insecure, his behaviour only became stranger. He would tell me even his therapist told him to die when others told me he never even went to his sessions. I couldn’t figure out where all the lies were coming from.
He would keep saying he was very sick, yet refused all help and treatment.
A deeper problem might have been at play. Google gave me a few ideas but I’m no professional to make an educated guess so I’m not going to. The situation only got worse.
The Nightmare had Just Begun
Scared for my life, I ended it, thinking the nightmare would end there. It was only the beginning. He got new numbers everyday to call me 30 times a day, messaged and called my mum and friends to get them to talk to me.
Panic-stricken, there was nothing I could do as anything could trigger him further, so I stayed silent. It took two months for this harassment to dial down. Never been more grateful for a long-distance relationship as he couldn’t have come here, I felt exhausted.
Till this day, I’m still getting random emails and accounts to message me on Instagram from him, at least the calling stopped, after I got a new number…
Living in Fear of a Stalker
For what felt like 5 years, I struggled to fall asleep until 6am then struggled to wake up until late in the afternoon. I lost all my appetite and now weigh only 102 pounds (I’m 172cm tall).
Every time I ate, I would keep my phone right next to me and keep tapping on it to see if he messaged me or not. If he did, I would feel like puking and my whole body would start trembling.
I would sit in bed staring into space for the next few hours thinking of all the scenarios. I could’ve switched off my phone, but I needed to know if he was hunting me down, because if he was not, he might well be hunting my friends down…
Finding the Right Way Forward
During this time, what was worse than him harassing me was people telling me “just talk to him, he is mentally sick. You would regret it if he does something to himself.”
For a long time, I was baffled to find the right decision to make and kept asking myself if it would really be my fault if he had hurt himself. Seemed like he got all the sympathy. We were talking about someone that threatened to kill me if I left him, threw a lamp at his mum, burnt down a couch because unwanted relatives came over…The frustration was real.
Eventually the stress consumed me and I had been having nightmares for days that I knew I had to talk about it. Several other friends lifted me up and talked some sense into me. Those friends helped a lot.
No human being should ever emotionally blackmail another human with their life to get what they want. If he used his life to get me to talk to him today, what if he uses it to get me to marry him tomorrow? What about my happiness and my safety?
Seeing there’s no end to this if I had replied, I chose the tough love lane and shut out all the calls and emails. He didn’t need me, he needed a therapist.
Protecting our Own Emotional Well Being
As much as we all hope to be the ones to make changes and offer help, we also need to protect ourselves and our mental well-being. I know I’m not alone. Thousands of people are probably going through the same thing as me, struggling to confide in friends, afraid to be judged as a cold-hearted girl to leave a patient behind.
Truth is, his triggers were not my responsibilities. Threatening me and harassing my family and friends are no way to get anyone their desires. We should all offer help within our ability, not when we are in fear of our lives.
Till this day, I still tremble every time my phone rings or if I receive a new request from a stranger. My mental health deteriorated tremendously since the incident and I’m still recovering from it. It’s going to be a long journey.
Life is a Never-ending Lesson: Final Thoughts from Estella
Being a partner, the best we can is to assist our loved one in their journey towards recovery. We are not magic pills for them and they should never ask us to be. The best you could do under a situation like that is to get his friends and family to find professional help for him. Neither you nor his friends should attempt to heal him without professional guidance.
Remember, you are a person with a soul and your happiness and safety to protect, you are not someone’s healing tool.
Final Thoughts from MSB on Stalkers and Mental Illness
Stalking is a maladaptive behavior (not a personality trait) often developed by those who lack social skills and concurrently have a personality disorder.
Most people who participate in stalking are rarely delusional as popular media might suggest. Rather they tend to be neurotic personalities with very poor emotional regulation. They can be treated with the help of Dialectic Behavior Therapy.
So, as Estella said, her ex wasn’t a bad person, but someone who needed professional help.
But, even though he was ill, it doesn’t mean she was responsible for him
It’s okay (and often very helpful) to love someone who is struggling with their mental health. It’s okay to be an informed and compassionate partner, however not at the expense of your own mental health or safety. That’s what’s known as co-dependence and is never healthy in a relationship.
Sadly, Estella’s story is all too relatable for a lot of people, especially women. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs (Signs of Stalking) and get help as soon as possible. You don’t have to do it alone. Below are links to some services and resources both in the United States and the UK.
Anti-Stalking Networks (Non-profits dedicated to helping stalking victims when authorities can’t or won’t)
In the end, Estella made the right decision. She followed what was best for her mental health and can now focus on her own recovery from the experience. This forward movement is how she hopes to inspire others with her story.
Today she heals herself by traveling and writing in her blog StoryTale – An Adventurette Journal from Around the World which she built to inspire other girls to travel. I highly recommend checking it out!! You can also catch up with Estella’s Blog on Facebook and Instagram.
P.S. If you happen to love our content and fantasy RPGs, please consider pledging a monthly amount to our Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Mysoulbalm For just $1/month you can join the quest to defeat the Curse of Stig-mah and help us spread mental health awareness throughout the land!
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