My abuser wrote to me

When I disowned my brother on account of the fact he traumatised me with sexual abuse at the age of ten, I wrote to him. I explained across pages and pages how I felt and the damage he has done. I took weeks to carefully craft something that really explained what I felt. I poured…

Inventory (part 1): What did you lose in 2015?

Ever taken an inventory? It’s something they always pushed in AA, but I hated their moralistic standpoint on it. The exercise was basically about identifying everything you’ve ever done wrong and atoning for it. A friend recently posted an inventory of her losses (a suggestion from the ‘Courage to heal’ book) which I found thought-provoking. I…

A happy trip to town

I felt intrepid on Friday, embarking on the journey to London with my train-phobic dog. As I expected, she was completely terrified of the trains and then the traffic and buses in town. Ironically, we saw a little brave mouse at the bus stop outside Waterloo, scuttling around our feet as bold as brass. It…

Therapy today: Perfection vs oblivion

My therapist called me a hermit crab today. She’s also called me a clam in the past. [Insert joke about being shellfish here]. I deflected by talking about when I accidentally brought a hermit crab back from the Caribbean. Plucky little thing survived the flight home, but probably not the English winter when I set…

Waking the tiger (who came to tea)

I’ve been reading ‘Waking the Tiger’ by Peter Levine. It’s a fascinating book about trauma and healing, there’s so much wisdom in there. Also, I think I have a strong affinity with literary tigers, since being obsessed with ‘The tiger who came to tea’ when I was tiny.

What is dissociation?

A lot of trauma survivors suffer from dissociation, but you don’t hear people talking about it much. There even seems to be an absence of understanding among therapists, which I have seen first-hand on more than one occasion. I remember one specific group session in hospital, in which a woman completely dissociated. The experienced and…

Letter: To the man who abused me

I’ve been meaning to publish this for a while. It always felt too difficult to share. But I’ve recently resolved to do more difficult things to try and drive some progress with my therapy. So here goes. Dear [my brother], I am writing to you about why I have been ill and the steps I need…

Therapy today: Stuck and sad

Today’s session wasn’t going to be an easy one. I had to start by confessing to my suicide attempt on Friday. I knew J would be disappointed that I didn’t reach out and ask her for help before I was in crisis. And I knew I wouldn’t be able to explain why. I’ve been feeling…

I forgot to breathe

Tonight I’m empty a brittle void Imploding with the strain of saying or not saying I’ve nothing but minute words It could have all been over in a brief, inglorious moment I think I forgot to breathe I lost myself in rage, in sadness grief overpowered me Amassing every grain of my truth I think…

Shame gets in the way

I wrote something earlier this week about how hard it is to be honest about having been sexually abused. On reflection, I think the answer is shame. I am ashamed of what happened to me. Being ashamed is different from thinking it is your fault. Every therapist I’ve spoken to has rushed to tell me…

You matter in ways you cannot imagine

I got a lovely email a few days ago from someone who read my blog. He thanked me for being so open about my issues. But what really touched me was that he signed off by saying, ‘you matter in ways you cannot imagine’. Wow. What a powerful thing to say. I spend so much…

It’s so hard to be honest

I read this great post from my friend Samantha Jane at both sides of the wall this morning. She highlighted something I hadn’t thought a lot about but totally agree with. She was asking why it is so hard for us to admit that we were victims of sexual abuse. It struck a chord with…