I was in my 40s when I reached crisis point and was unable to function. My trauma was so intense and severe that I had blocked it out.

The abuse happened when I was a child and Survive was my last hope having been everywhere else and told that no one could help. I was struggling with extreme flashbacks and trauma symptoms, which made getting out of bed and leaving the house difficult. Fortunately, I had a supportive partner who was also my carer. It was with his help that I was able to attend appointments at Survive.

After a period of stabilisation and the building of a trusting relationship, the counsellor began Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) – something that me and my partner had previously considered but had been unable to afford. I began to make notable improvements and began re-engaging with family events such as Christmas and birthdays. I started leaving the house regularly, became interested in gardening and eventually started to go away on short trips with my partner. Towards the end of the work, there were no more flashbacks or trauma symptoms.

Three months after the Survive counselling had finished, we moved to a new house and joined some social groups in the area. I sent a picture from our latest holiday to Survive of me and my partner in wet suits, body boarding and snorkelling – complete with huge smiles with the simple message “I wouldn’t be here without you”.

THE SURVIVOR - SUSAN

I enjoyed my work with my church. As a lady in my 70s, I also enjoyed the compliments received from one of the priests.

He often came to my home. Following an operation, the priest took care of me.

THE SURVIVOR - PENNY

I was a well-respected and hard-working professional yet I found it difficult to like myself.

When I arrived at Survive, I was reluctant to reflect on my past.

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