JB, 33, London, UK

IMG_3464 (1)“I’m not sure where, to begin with, this because on the inside, I have a feeling that I’ve been suffering from PTSD, dissociation, anxiety and depression since 1994. Officially, however since 2015. And I say ‘suffering’ and imagine I will be scolded by a few who will say that we are not sufferers but survivors. But, I have to face reality. Yes, I have suffered with it. And have survived too.

You see in 1994 my mother (who was an alcoholic prostitute) was arrested and taken to prison. I was subsequently fostered to someone who decided that I was the perfect age to be a sex slave. I was made to do unimaginable things. I also experienced domestic violence and brain washing. This person, told me that if I ever tried to leave, he would find me, ‘there is no where in the world you can go where I won’t find you’ he would say.

From the age of 12, I was paralysed by fear. Physically. I couldn’t even go to the corner shop without him going with me. I was in a prison without walls. But I knew that if I didn’t eventually escape, I would die there. Mentally, I learned how to live in my head. In my head I was a normal free teenager living life, going out, longing for love. In my head, I plotted my escape. I lived in my head.

Eventually, with the pretense of going to university I managed to leave and found a place at a women’s refuge and started to rebuild my life. A few months later my abuser found me, and true to his word, he attempted to kill me. His attempt was by no means a piece of cake. He shot me 5 times with a 9mm semi auto. One bullet was an inch from my heart. My last thought was realising I was about to die.

But, I didn’t. After the ensuing court case, I managed to very successfully bury everything somewhere in my head. I never thought about the abuse-just on rare occasions.

Then in August of 2015, my then employer during a routine HR inspection queried why I had changed my name (I have a change of name deed). Boom!

Suddenly, I couldn’t get out of bed. I had panic attacks and hell the flash backs were so vivid. I could literally smell his smell on me. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see the woman I am, I saw the kid that I was. Self harm brought me some comfort. I know, I know, self harm isn’t and never will be the answer but for those fleeting few minutes it stopped the flash backs. My GP took one look at me and that was that. The medication flowed and the counselling came hard and fast.

I was never an advocate of counselling; I always used to say that I am my best counsellor. But, what was that?!? I think deep down I knew, I just avoided the truth. I had spent the last 15 years in 5-minute relationships, never setting routes anywhere, mood swings with absolutely no feelings whatsoever. And counselling helped me get all those feelings out.

I can now quite comfortably say that I am angry at all the adults in my life that didn’t protect me. I can say that I have the right to feel the way I do. I can say that I am no longer ashamed of what happened to me because even though my abuser saw me as a woman and has never recognised what he has done, I was a child, an innocent child, and it was not my fault. It will never be my fault. No matter what those adults say to make themselves less culpable I will always be the child in that scenario and they will always be at fault.

10 months after my diagnosis I have managed to write about my experiences in a blog and have now started my own support site for survivors of domestic violence, child abuse and mental health. We offer practical advise and support to women and children and hope we will be gaining our charity status soon (www.therealjmbb.co.uk). I am very proud of me. Not every day is a good day but I’m still breathing.

If you are where I’ve been, remember time is your friend. Don’t rush, even in those terrible moments remember fighting your own head and your memories makes you a
bad-ass not weak!”

 

 

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PATREONs THIS MONTH- Stuart, https://www.flickr.com/photos/74009/

Harry, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRzs8M26VhrMJlKC5qEI2og

How can you become a patreon? https://www.patreon.com/ThisIsWhatAPersonWithMentalIllnessLooksLike?ty=h

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