*A featured personal story for this MENTAL HEALTH MONTH series*
I’d been in counselling following the breakdown of my relationship with my sons’ dad. It had become excruciatingly painful, revisiting places and feelings I’d long-forgotten so, about eighteen months in, I leftwithout telling my counsellor. I stayed away, despite her letters asking me to return.
However, things were coming back to haunt me. It was like I had this video in my head, fast-forwarding, re-winding over and over, sometimes so fast, it made me feel physically sick. The accompanying thoughts were disturbing and taunting me but, as I had nowhere to turn, these thoughts just amassed and I felt like a volcano, ready to erupt at any moment.
In desperation, I wrote to Linda (my Counsellor) to ask if I could go back to counselling and thankfully, she agreed. At my first appointment back, she said she hoped and thought I would return. I got the feeling she knew there was more than the breakdown of my relationship going on.
However, because I’d kept my dirty secret, together with these revolting thoughts and stomach-turning feelings, inside for so long — It took many months before it all came tumbling out — but I just couldn’t say the words.
I tip-toed around the topic but Linda was good at making me stay on track, patiently asking endless open-ended questions like “and then what happened?” or “and how did that make you feel?” How f*cking stupid was she? I felt angry, so f*cking angry. Right at that moment, I hated the world and everyone in It! And I felt full of rage towards Linda – for making me do this! I hated how she was digging into the filthy pit of my stomach, scraping out the misery, disgust, hatred and fear, one dirty lump after another. Then she turns. She asks, almost sweetly, “Hannah, can you tell me what is making you so angry?”
“Okay, Okay! I was f*cking abused. Is that it? Is that what you want to hear?” I screamed, and “I. was. sexually. Abused! You happy now? Or do you want to hear how he told me touch him, and I did. Okay. I did! And I don’t know why……,”
Zapped of all energy, my screeching gave way to sobbing and whispered apologies to Linda.
Months in and towards the end of one of our sessions, Linda held up a book and I burst into tears. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything in print about what had happened to me. I felt sick, I couldn’t breathe, and I was sobbing uncontrollably. I think I was in shock, I felt shaken and I had a panic attack.
However, once I’d recovered from the panic, I think I felt slightly relieved. It hadn’t happened to just me. Not that I wanted it to happen to anyone else, but others had been through it, come out the other side, and had written a book to help people like me.
That afternoon, I took the book home and was sitting on my bed, feeling slightly dazed and afraid to open it, when my brother walked in. Puzzled at my silence, he sat with me and saw the title of the book. He put his arm around my shoulders, opened the book, and as we read the Preface, we shed silent tears together. I will always remember this moment and I’ll be eternally grateful to my brother.
I continued with the counselling, trying to unravel this mess – this living nightmare of childhood sexual abuse. processing my thoughts and emotions, slowly. For a long time, I hated myself. I hated that it had happened, that I let it happen, that it went on for so long.
I’d known all this stuff for years but refused to confront it. I wasn’t able to push all that stuff to the back of my mind anymore. I’d always hoped that was it; in the past — gone. But it never goes. It does get easier in time.
Catch Caz at: https://mentalhealthfromtheotherside.com
Her twitter: @hannahsmiley
Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/800444533760600123/
If you would like to submit your personal story to be featured this mental health month, contact me here or on Instagram @written_in_the_photo or on Twitter @philopsychotic. We will be covering Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and Dissociation next. If you have anxiety or trauma related stories you’d like to share, message me anyway. We’ll get you featured.