No two human souls are the same, we suffer in different ways, and symptoms of abuse vary from person to person. There is well-researched evidence regarding Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) and the impact of sexual violence. Symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, dissociation, suicidal ideation, lack of sleep, hyperarousal and hypo arousal can lead to a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thankfully counselling therapies exist that can dramatically transform your life.
My past does not define me, and I believe we all have the potential inside of us to move past trauma.
I was fortunate myself as a young woman in my twenties to get the help and support I needed from a Counsellor/Psychotherapist. This therapist helped me when I was depressed, low-in mood with low self-esteem and no confidence in my ability. At that time, I felt useless.
I was suicidal and felt as though I wanted to die. I felt like I didn’t fit in with friends, family or my support network. I felt a burden. I’d never told anyone of the childhood abuse I’d suffered from the age of four to seven years old. I never told anyone about a sexual assault I experienced at thirteen years old or the rape I experienced at fifteen years old.
Talking to my counsellor helped, she was someone who listened, and more importantly, she believed me. My secrets were out of ‘pandora’s box’, and I had to face the emotions of anger, shame, guilt, and suffering from the loss of part of my childhood.
It was hard work and painful at times, but this work transformed me. My therapist helped me to understand my child self, my sense of safety, and the importance of emotional regulation. I managed to return to work, and I could finally be the adult woman I wanted to be. I had no more flashbacks or nightmares, and the world felt a safer, better place. I could put the past behind me. Because I was able to trust myself, my confidence grew, and my relationships with my family and friends improved.
I’m sharing this story with you today in the hope you will see that life can be different. Yes, I’m a survivor of rape, childhood sexual abuse and sexual violence myself, but that no longer defines me. I’m a mother, I’m a wife, and I’m a therapist. I have a big heart, and I’m committed to helping people reach their true potential.
After my therapy, I joined the police force as a civilian and worked alongside police officers supporting victims of abuse. It was during this time that I came to learn of the widespread atrocities that both males, females, transgender and LGBT face daily in the UK.
After leaving the police force, I worked in the NHS and private healthcare for twenty years. This gave me the key listening skills that are needed to care for patients from a non-judgemental perspective. Over the last five years, I’ve been working alongside RASA (Rape and Sexual Abuse) Merseyside as a consultant and volunteer. I’ve worked with hundreds of survivors of abuse, and I’ve listened to each and everyone without judgement.