The second In this series of posts I want to talk about is the people that have supported and inspired me and how speaking out has helped me even more.
At first I struggled to speak about my abuse because I was ashamed of what had happened to me in some way I often blamed my self I was like it must have been something I’d done wrong to upset my abuser, I just couldn’t understand it. But I came to understand that it wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t feel this shame, I often felt dirty and would have to run to the shower after everytime I was abused and scrub my self clean like I was trying to scrub away the dirt that I felt.
I also often believed no one would ever believe me and that I was alone and had to deal with all this my self. This often left me depressed and alone wondering what I could do to escape so alone even considering that not being here anymore could be a better option but I dug deep with all my strength and got through it but I couldn’t have done this alone.
This wasn’t easy by any means but talking about my abuse allowed me to start to begin my journey to getting my life back. I’ve talked about my abuse quite a lot but I want to come away from that slightly for the moment to talk more about how I felt, how I got through it and the people that supported me.
In the first few months and even years after my abuse I struggled to talk about it to any one close to me. It took me many months to open up to my counsellor. Here I came to understand my feelings more and deal better with them. I had so much anger and my cousellor could see this in me but under that anger was fear and anxiety.
I was lashing out at people and losing my temper often cause I was angry at my abuser but at the same time I was still often scared to leave the house, scared walking down the street, walking past groups of people. I was scared to trust anyone, I felt that there wasn’t one Person in the world I could trust but my self so I was trying to keep my feelings bottled up. I didn’t want anyone to know I was struggling, I was trying to put on a brave face and pretend like I was fine. This wasn’t the case, I started to suffer from serve migraines like someone was hitting me repeatedly on the head with a hammer. This because I was trying to deal with too much my self, too much anxiety, I needed to let other people in to help and I knew without this I would not be able to move on.
I was struggling to make friends because I couldn’t trust anyone and didn’t want them to know what had happened to me cause deep down I was still ashamed.
It wasn’t until I came to university that I really began to get my self back together.
For the first time ever I opened up to people I told my flatmates that I was living with in first year what had happened to me this was mainly because I was struggling as my abuser was just about to be released from prison and I needed to tell them so they could be aware why I was anxious. They were so understanding and reassuring and for the first time I started to feel a little better, telling my friends who had only known me a couple of months this big part of my life was a big deal but their reaction and support reassured me knowing I shouldn’t feel ashamed.
After this I never really spoke to anyone else about my abuse barring my flatmates and one or two other friends who I had started to trust because I never felt the need. I was finally starting to make close friends and beginning to place some trust in them.
Over my first 3 years at university I opened up to maybe 10 of my closest friends. They were all so supportive of me and were there whenever I needed anything and I couldn’t have got through my time without them, I would have felt so alone, they gave me confidence, they helped give me a new life, I was enjoying my time and felt happier than I ever felt.
This then leads me on to when I really opened up to everyone, telling the Athletics team what had happened to me was hard, many of them had known me for years and not known anything about this. But I had built up more and more confidence over my time at University and the support my friends had given me so far made it easier and I knew it was the right thing to do.
They were so supportive and fully behind what I wanted to do in fundraising for Embrace CVOC and raising awareness. I couldn’t have got through this last year without them. They have been there thought and often helping me even when they haven’t realised it. I have to give a special mention to one of my closest friends and member of the team who has supported me so much over the last two years when At times I’ve been struggling and felt like I couldn’t speak to anyone he was there to Listen and get me through it and without friends like him continuing to support me I would have struggled so much more.
It’s people like him and others who I’ve met throughout my time at university and working at camp in America that have given me the strength and confidence to be able to speak out so openly today. They gave me the strength to use my voice to help others who have suffered like I have. They made me realise I have nothing to be ashamed of, I should be proud of who I am and how far I’ve come. They inspire me everyday to do better So I want to thank them.
Knowing you’ve got friends there to support you is what gets you through in life and everyone needs support and friendship.
I want everyone out there to know that no matter what there will always be people who will listen, who can try to understand and help you.
If your struggling in life use your friends and build a support network around you and seek help. You feel so much better when you speak up and speak out.
No one should ever have to suffer alone and I will continue to do all I can to ensure people’s voices are heard. We are able to support each other, create hope and friendship.