IT has been a wonderful ride – and I am happy to have shared it with so many of you – but this week’s is the last Ms Elliot.
I’m so happy to have received so many of your letters of support, suggestions of places to go in Sussex, and invitations to the groups that you make you happy.
Moving to a new town is always a big adventure and moving to a new town where you know nobody is a big challenge!
And why did I come here – using a pseudonym – to talk about my adventures?
Is Ms Elliot a spy? Is she a prisoner on the run?
Does she have a cover identity as she witnessed a criminal incident?
Is Ms Elliot a celebrity hiding her true identity?
Well – and I only share the truth in the hope that others in the same position will find some comfort – she has been hounded and stalked and is trying to get to a place where she can feel safe at last.
As someone who routinely gets dirty looks when I say I’m a single mum, I’d like to be able to say – but I never do – that it is not without extreme provocation that a mum would leave.
It would only be because the life of me or my child had been threatened that I would decide to leave our home and set up in a new town where I know no-one.
It is estimated that one in four women in the UK experience domestic violence.
“Domestic violence” sounds like a very dramatic term for something that can, at times, be very subtle and is a pain that is secretly and deeply felt.
Just like the discussions that are currently raging about cyber-bullying, the attacks on self-esteem can at first be subtle – a put-down here, a name call here.
And some of the worst bruises can be from what is said rather than what is physically done.
Bruises on the outside can be seen by the whole world but the ones on the inside can be just as hurtful and may never heal.
Women feel shame – the sense of loss and independence from the proud, single woman they once were can be profound.
No wonder so many women who have suffered at the hands of a cruel partner end up homeless or taking too many drugs or drink.
It is tempting to numb out the pain forever.
But when you have a child to think of you must go on, get dressed, get on with life and try to look forward.
Forward to happier times and create a new family – just mum and children.
Well, now you know the truth.
And if you or anyone you know is going through a similarly difficult time, I urge you to seek help.
Nobody should put you down, make you feel bad about yourself, beat you up and treat you like you are worthless.
You are worth something. You are worth respecting.
The Ms Elliot column was a great chance to make new friends – to hear about local community activities and, I must admit, it was extremely flattering to receive some male attention.
It was very kind of the Sussex correspondents to extend the paw of friendship, and to receive email hugs.
Thank you to the lovely readers of the Herald and Gazette.
What has been a pretty challenging time has been a little easier because of your kind support. I wish you all well. I can’t continue the column because of work commitments. But I am pleased to have been part of something that was such a positive experience and I hope that you have enjoyed the column, too.
If you wish to say goodbye – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find me on Twitter @MsElliot1
Ms Elliot is a writer, traveller and creative type. Mother of one and a disastrous cook, she is a native Londoner but has lived in the South Pacific, South America, North America... and now Worthing. She has been sharing her experiences as she finds her feet in her new home in a new town. You can follow her on Twitter:@MsElliot1