Sunday, 29 September 2013

The End and The Beginning - Therapy

In October 2012 I told the world that I had been sexually abused as a child. It was a huge decision to make, and I chose to blog about it in the post Jimmy Savile is Dead. 

Several people helped me in writing and forming the post, most notably Daniel, at the time a close friend, now my best friend. 

I made mistakes. The abuser told me my parents knew but didn't care. They didn't. Know, that is. At all. I blogged about it before discussing it with them. This was clearly a huge error on my part, I should have talked to them first.

After the publication of the post it was clear I needed help and found Jo a person centred counsellor. The sessions were great and really helped me, they ended when I left my job, just after Christmas. I thought I was better but then Easter came and my world fell apart.

I started having intrusive thoughts, thoughts of suicide, I started thinking about how I would do it, wondering who would take care of Joseph and my husband but convinced that it all had become too much and I would never get better. I was bereft.

I went to my GP who missed how poorly I was and told me to arrange something privately. I wasn't thinking straight and it was very hard to do. After a false start I found my psychologist.

At first the sessions were just "getting to know you" and unpicking what had happened. And then we started getting deeper into my past. I started to feel like crap. Then Britmums came and I read Jimmy Savile is Dead to a full room of hundreds of people. I had my photo shoot with Yuri at Urbanvox which was amazing, but the crash came. I couldn't stop crying it had all been too much. I felt exposed, frightened and overwhelmed.

Therapy commenced again and I worked hard. My therapist had recommended a book called Breaking Free  which I started working through bit by bit. It was hard, but it really helped me realise a few key points.

* My abuser sought me out to abuse. I didn't make him do it. He had the desire to abuse before he met me. There was nothing wrong with me, it was not my fault.

* I was vulnerable, I was a child, I had no friends when I was 3 because I hadn't formed friendships yet. My mum and dad worked hard, he had opportunity to seek me out.

* At school I had learned to cover up the signs to some extent, but that there were some that should have been picked up, the fact that they weren't wasn't my fault.

* The abuse made me perceive some things that happened at high school in particular incorrectly. Whilst I was bullied to an extent, I over reacted and some of it was just normal boyish behaviour that I perceived as threatening. This wasn't my fault either.

* That sex is something I became proficient at because it was protection, and that love and friendship scare me, as I dont really understand them correctly, and this will take time to fix.

* That pleasure of all kinds is frightening, and feels risky and scary, and this will also take time to fix. I am starting by doing small things like baking, or walking with Joseph in the autumn leaves.

My therapist felt that I was ready to leave after 13 sessions. I can go back if I need to, but I am hoping it won't be necessary.

It feels strange, it being over. I am missing my sessions, talking to someone completely outside my life who can be objective. I found the sessions enjoyable towards the end.

It will never be over for me. I will always feel sad, scared and regretful. But I am stronger now, I realise a lot of the patterns, thoughts and feelings I have had were wrong or unhelpful. I can put these right slowly but surely.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

You Are Worthless

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I have blogged on my other space Not Even A Bag of Sugar .

This post is deeply personal and a hard one to write. Please approach with caution as it may trigger thoughts of your own. There are lots of sources of support, your GP, health professionals, Mind Charity, The Samaritans. If you feel low, get help. Don't suffer in silence.

There is a voice in my head. Sometimes it sounds like my mother, sometimes like him, sometimes its my own voice, or a teacher. Sometimes I can't even tell who it is. At times its a chorus.

Sometimes it whispers, I have to listen very carefully. Sometimes it shouts. At times its not even words, its a just a noise in my head like a boiler on the blink or a fridge that is a bit too old.

I've lived with this relentless voice since I was 3. It told me always to sleep with my face covered. It told me I had to sleep with a teddy bear. It told me never ever to sleep with my bottom uncovered. I always wore pants to bed. I still do. I still sleep with a bear. If I don't bad things will happen.

The voice is accusatory. "You think you can get through this do you? You think you are better than M or C or F? They are not here anymore I beat them. I will beat you too, just you see."

I hear of a mother committing suicide, severe PND and the voice comes in, "she couldn't get through it, your past is much more tortured than hers you can't get through it either, just do everyone a favour, do the decent thing".

I live with this voice. Not every day, it peaks and troughs.

It reached a crescendo at Easter. It yelled at me every day. I got to the end. It told me I was a rubbish wife, a crap mother, that I was dragging everyone down with me, including my best friend. It told me enough was enough. I had reached the end.

I finally confided in my husband, my friend and my friend's mother. I finally broke down to my GP and begged for help. It was bloody hard. NHS wouldn't fund, and I had to find sources of funding myself. The voice loved that "No one wants to help you, you can't do this"

I found a therapist.

It took me 7 weeks but I finally told my therapist. "I hear voices".

He said "yes, as a survivor of abuse that's normal".


He then said "you choose, you can either engage with them, or you can dismiss them. They have nothing of value to say."


They have nothing of value to say.


"Voice, shut up, you have nothing of value to say and I don't need to listen to this. Go away".

It sounds simple.

It isn't. It's like standing up to a bully, an abuser. It takes strength and courage.

But that doesn't need to come from me. It comes from my husband, my son, my best friend, my other friends, my beautiful blogging community.

I don't have to do this alone.

And neither do you.

You are not alone.