“Life is a journey. The work done with Survive significantly eased the burden I felt and helped me move on in my journey forward”.
Jamie reached out to Survive after a referral from his doctor for talking therapies due to symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other help was available, but there were waiting-list times and the specialist help offered by Survive seemed to be the best possible assistance. He knew it would be difficult to unlock the trauma that he experienced in his thirties. Previous counselling sessions had helped with other events in his life and he was keen to try address this newly discovered trauma.
His journey started as a newly married man on a business trip to the company headquarters in London. Staying overnight in a hotel was not an unusual event while undertaking his job. After a trip to the nearby pub for two beers and a bite to eat while prepping for the next day’s events, he was feeling way more unsteady and woozier than expected. What he did not know was that his drink had been spiked. Returning to his hotel room, he recalled being approached by strangers to help him but was relieved to have got back to the room on his own to have a lie down. This was when he was raped. It is now believed to have happened as a result of a date rape drug. He was left with flash-backs and memory gaps of an event but wasn’t entirely convinced about what had happened at that time. It was only after reading an article about date rape that the ongoing flashbacks joined the dots about what had happened. He certainly now knew that he had been defiled on that night.
For more than ten years, he tried to manage the trauma of what happened. What had previously been normal travelling around the country became increasingly stressful. Strangers and business acquaintances seemed threatening and increasingly family and friends were pushed away. Carrying this burden led him to some really dark places and he frequently considered taking his own life. He sought counselling help with the work stresses and tried to move forward. He made life changes moving away from business to develop his creative skills as an artist. Even with these changes he was left with the dark feelings. He knew he certainly never wanted to go to London or stay in a hotel room ever again.
After a decade where there was little to no light, where life just involved functioning and where his automatic reaction was to fight or take flight. With a new understanding of the true cause and effect of his mental health issues, he wanted to be released. He needed to do it for himself and for those closest to him, including a 7-year-old daughter.
Walking to the Survive offices in York challenged every fibre in his body to want to flee. Having rung the bell and as he walked through the doors, he felt safe. The professional, welcoming and pragmatic approach adopted by the therapist together with knowing that this counselling was different made him continue. He knew he was in the right place. Session after session, he was able to come to terms with the burden he had felt for so long and reach a deep realisation that what had happened to him, did not need to define him.
He kept his journey mainly to himself but he was eventually able to share the traumatic incident with his wife.
The counselling has helped him understand and accept his thinking as well as developing and implementing coping techniques. Jamie has taken a significant trip to London, (with his family), and while stays in hotel rooms can still be a challenge, they can be conquered. He is alright.
Survive, at his request, and their suggestion facilitated talking to a crime officer in a safe and non-committal way. This meant Jamie could discuss in confidence options in regard to the law, and should he choose, if and how he could take any matter further.
Jamie is stretching out to socialise and has been involved with a club which allows men to meet up and talk openly about their lives. His motivation for sharing his story is to let all survivors of sexual violence know that Survive can help them too. There is no need to journey alone.