Making the most of therapy

You’ve come a long way. Misdiagnoses, mistreatment, maltreatment even—but eventually you’re here. You’ve found a therapist willing to work with you—either privately or on the NHS—and so now you’re expecting it just to happen. Right?

Wrong!

Can we heal?

It was just as we were packing away on a training day. A lady with dark hair walked away, then came back, and now was suspended in mid-motion, as if stuck in approach-avoid. I caught her eye and smiled and, brimming with emotion, she came towards me. ‘Can we heal?’...

My recovery from child sexual abuse

It feels a long time ago now, the time when my abuse sat silent within me. It’s been over ten years. Back then, I didn’t understand any of the dynamics of abuse. The things that had happened, the things that had been done to me, the things I had been made to do—they...

Managing flashbacks

AWFUL AND AWESOME: AN INTRODUCTION Life would be okay, if it were not for the flashbacks… How true. How many times have I heard people say that? And for so many years, my life too would have been bearable, but for the flashbacks. These are not polite house guests who...

Ten roadblocks to recovery

1. Believing that recovery isn’t possible ‘Recovery is impossible. Even the use of the term ‘recovery’ is cruel, taunting people who cannot recover with the false hope that it is, and shaming them in the process.’ So said a fellow delegate at a recent conference,...

My experience of phase three work

I wish I could sit down with a marker pen and draw out a nice, neat sketch of the work I’ve done in therapy, with periods of time, like 2007-2009, 2009-2012, 2012-2015. That would be lovely. Phase I: all that safety stuff, all that trying to calm things down and...

Recovery is my best revenge: overcoming trauma

Is recovery possible? That’s the question that everyone is asking, even when they’re not asking it. After a breakdown, perhaps after years in the mental health system, do we have to simply accept that we’re broken and that we’ll always be broken, or is it possible to...

Suicide – to be or not to be?

I could cope with it no longer. Every part of me—eyelids, throat, bowels—everything was clenched tight in a ball of furious unbearability. This feeling—such a feeling!—loomed up over me like some prehistoric sea-monster, ready to snap me up and devour me, ready to...

Boundaries

It was 2005 and I was about to have a breakdown. First there was the pressure of decades of dissociated trauma, pushing relentlessly at the seams of my mind. And then there was the very real and practical issue of looking after five small children. Rob and I were...

Ten things I have learned about child sexual abuse

My earliest memory is of being sexually abused in a big, old-fashioned cot in a room with ornate, mock-gold picture frames and ornaments of shire horses and Greek gods. I was two years old, maybe three. If that’s when I first remember, what was happening prior to...

Parts are only part of the problem

I have dissociative identity disorder. I have many separate, distinct and unique ‘parts’ of my personality. My ‘parts’ or ‘alters’ collectively add up to the total person that is me. I am the sum of all my parts. They are each a letter, and I am a sentence. At times,...

It’s a pain: the physical impact of trauma

It’s 3.00 am and once again I can’t sleep because of pain. Is this normal? I wonder. Again. Will it ever change? Physical symptoms are a big part of life for me with DID. Yes, I have ‘multiple personalities’, the “two or more distinct identities that recurrently take...

Coping with crisis

So I felt a bit sheepish as I walked through the door, deposited back to my husband by my therapist after having gone missing for several hours and eventually being found in a distressed state at the site of one particular episode from my childhood trauma. I guess...

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