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  • Downing Street anti-suicide petition

    It's been a very busy few days and I am continuing to network with both individuals who have come forward to lend their support and agencies to drive the campaign forwards.

    I have also been speaking to various groups about the impact of my own trauma after having lived the hellish journey of parts of my brain ceasing to function after my abuse. Lots of people came forward after my last talk to commend me on what I am doing which was lovely. One man said, 'what an amazing story'. I understood and appreciated his support but also told him, 'It's not a story. It's my life.'
    I am also encouraging people to speak out about their own abuse. After all, there is that truth about, 'secrets keep you sick'. I know how very true that is.

    Today I talk openly with people about my past. I do not have pride but I am not ashamed, either. But I am finally a woman who can respect herself and love herself as I never could during my abuse. I have come to really comprehend what is and what isn't right. But after everything, I have been left with a gift; that of really understanding how precious human life is. And how delicate the thread stands between life and death.

    People have asked me, why, after everything my mother did, do I still love her? My answer is simple; because she was my mother. No more, no less. And if it was not for her own life I would not be here today, being the person I am, healing and going,'out there' to do what I can for others; for any man, woman or child who is or has been abused. I am thankful for my life. I am thankful that I am here today. And I am thankful for being given this chance.

    When I was suicidal, I could think of no reason to live. Today, I can think of no reason to die.

    10 Downing Street have asked me to revise my petition with them which I am working on as well as going to dozens of meetings right now. Bit by bit changes are being made. And I now have a voice with which to speak. A miracle after everything that has happened.

    I am also continuing my research on the effects of major trauma upon the brain for talking at mental health conventions later this year. As a survivor it is vitally important that I can explain how my own brain closed down, the lack of understanding of these things within the system and also how I forced my mind to re-route itself. A bit like physiotherapy for the brain. I still struggle with day-to-day tasks sometimes and can tire very easily. But I will not stop. I was so affected that my speech became slow and slurred as parts of my brain had shut down.
    My work a major university as regards the impact of trauma on the brain I hope, will help make changes for others, in time. So today, I do have many reasons to live. Another miracle perhaps?

    Wishing you all happiness within your own lives, whoever you are, wherever you are.
    And thank you for your ongoing support. Always.

  • Life after Prostitution

    The Lola Greene Baldwin Foundation is a place in which I have been provided with the most beautiful lifeline, after realising that I was consenting to be raped by men who paid me.
    It is only at that point, can a person really begin his or her own recovery.
    Joseph Parker is an outstanding, strong man and I want you to hear his message to survivors of prostitution. They reached into my soul as I am sure they will, yours. I will be using lots of his material and my own experiences to reach into the souls of teenagers at risk of prostitution and exploitation (in a 'safe' way that they can understand).

    I have included a link to their website for those of you who need support at this time. Do know that recovery really is possible. I know. I have not only survived many years of horrendous abuse but am finally starting to live. You can too.

    www.prostitutionrecovery.org

  • Closer to the Dream

    It has been the most amazing week!!! Despite my struggle to come to terms with my abuse and the death of my mother, lots of progress is being made with preliminary
    plans for the charity, centre and group. We are set to head the first ever direct anti-prostitution drive, delivered straight into U.K secondary schools. And coming from two former, 'working girls', who would have better grounding than that?

    My project partner, who is using the name, 'Shelly' until she too goes public with her identity, is making connections with people at her end as am I, here. She has not been a 'working girl' for some eight years now and has also won an award for her acheivments as an 'outstanding woman'. It is Shelly who contacted me after reading my blog, telling me how passionate about the project she was. She really is the most wonderful woman! You too, will get to meet her soon.

    I am writing to Gordon Brown this week to inform him of our intentions to campaign for complete Crisis Management of those who are suicidal. Any public support would be gratefully accepted! Thank you. In the next couple of weeks I will be posting the petition on line for people to sign.

    We are also soon to go out to street girls with a voluntary group at night times for a while to gain their support for the new trauma centre. Funders listen to the voices of the people, without doubt.

    Tomorrow I am due to start major trauma therapy but have already come a long way in the five weeks or so since I have a massive breakdown. My hands still shake dreadfully with anxiety though but I have started to tell people that I am okay but had a breakdown after the death of my mother. At first, I got a few, strange looks but after a while, they seemed to accept it. I need to be brave to see this thing through and this is the person I am, today. A person who is finally healing.

    Shelly and I sat in Mcdonalds the other day, chatting and making more solid plans about the group. She has her own story which I am sure she will share with you one day. Despite it all, we actually found ourselves able to laugh at some of the funny things in life. We have such a wonderful connection. I did not stop smiling all day!
    That said, some days I still struggle a lot with being able to function properly. I am in the early stages of recovery so I guess, that, that is only to be expected. The one thing I can say though is that one day, I hope others will look and not see me as a prostitute, nor working girl, nor former escort girl. But as a woman who did all that she could to protect both vulnerable adults and children. This is my dream. Even when I was little and being abused myself, I never wanted another child to live what I had. I promised myself I would one day be a woman who was strong enough to do something about it. Perhaps my dream is finally coming true.

  • Getting my life back after childhood abuse.

    Yesterday I contacted my M.P.with some initial questions about Crisis Management of those who are suicidal. This is the start of our political campaign for changes within the system. I am at present awaiting a reply but will keep you posted as to her response.

    I also spent some time reading some presentations held at Mental Health conventions throughout the U.K in the last couple of years. Some psychiatrists seemed to really respect the need for change whereas others (in my opinion) may as well have been a million miles away from the reality of being within that very black place, when one is suicidal. Those wishing to end their own lives, many times cannot get themselves to the doctors surgery and certainly not to their local Accident and Emergency department (where they are often left to sit for long periods as others with physical illnesses are tended to first). I absolutely appreciate that there are those requiring immediate, physical medical attention however, don't those people who are suicidal also need immediate care?
    I am planning to attend several conferences in forthcoming months and eventually speak at some of these about, not only my own experiences but the absolute need for funding a robust system that will ensure not only the safety of these people but also allow appropriate provision for their after care. It is only once people see how much we need change that we look to provide answers. We are not living in the dark ages but the current system suggests that we are.

    I began doing some more networking with various agencies and went for a meeting with one. It was very difficult as there are still times when my brain stops working mid-sentence, owing to the trauma. I knew it was quite apparent as I was speaking but this is me today. I know I will recover and am getting better each day but only by going out and facing the world once more, can I allow myself to really get over all that has happened to me. Of course, I am still about to begin major trauma therapy which will be this Monday. I am also still taking Valerian extract to deal with my anxiety. I guess Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not something a person ever, 'gets over' but learns to live and cope with. I am just glad that today, I have managed to find my own ways of dealing with it so that I can stay safe.

    I am setting up a donation website which will be linked to our main website. Monies from this will of course be used essentially for the trauma centre but also campaigning for change within government practice.
    In addition to the above, I am also still working on finishing my book, 'Angry Angel', so a million things to do. Please don't forget that my book will be free to download, once it is ready.

    Thanking you for your continued and ongoing support. We are really starting to make progress! And that makes me smile. x

  • Naming of the trauma centre.

    Yesterday was the first day in the last five weeks or so, I have been able to drive. I guess I am forcing my mind to re-align itself. If I don't I will hide away in the house forever. I am forcing my integration back into society
    except this time for me it's very different. Because this time, I have no pressures of trying to love my mother 'better'. Still, it is terrifying to even begin to force my 'logical' mind to work once more. But taking deep breaths, I insisted Mark go to work and leave me to do what I needed to do. Just simple tasks like food shopping and driving over to see a friend of mine.
    At the supermarket, a stranger, randomly met my eyes for the briefest moment as I quickly turned from his gaze. Did he know that I was an abused child? Did anyone else know that I was an abused child? Did anyone know, that I was the woman who could no longer recall how to make a cup of tea just four weeks ago? Did anyone know the mental battle I was suffering of simply trying to fit in with society, after all that had happened?
    I told myself, over and over that they did not. They had no way of knowing.....unless I told them. Breathing deeply, I continued placing items in the shopping basket, counting to ten, again and again as I did so.
    Half an hour later and I was returning to the car, forcing my mind to block graphic images and thoughts of all I have lived, forcing my mind to recall where in fact I had parked. But I did it! For the first time in my life, I had driven the car to the supermarket and bought some simple items, no longer an abused child or adult but as a woman who is free, except for her past. I drove away and turned up the music on the stereo, opening the window to inhale the fresh air of an early, spring day, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. I wanted to cry. Not because of my mother's death but because of her life. Because of my life.

    It was a major breakthrough for me. It was a major part of my statement to anyone listening that there is life after child abuse. There is a way of carrying on, even when your whole world feels as though it has collapsed.
    'Lead by example' as they say. It is not about brushing what happened to one side. It never has been. Simply about finding a 'safe' place in which to process all of my thoughts, as I know, one day others will be given that same chance. And I know that many, many people worldwide, have already done.
    And I knew that after yesterday, I would never allow myself to be too scared to leave the house any more. I was never born as that person. I will not die as that person.

    Yesterday afternoon, I ordered the first, few collection boxes to be despatched to local shops for public support. I had been trying over and over to think of the right name for the centre and for the project in general but nothing came to mind. Until, late yesterday. 'Amy Walker' is the fictional person I have taken refuge in, as I become strong enough to face the world outside. We all need a place to hide and a base from which we can heal sometimes. And because, in years to come, the charity will be multi-faceted, although primarily funding the centre, I knew we needed an all-encompassing name. 'The Amy Walker Foundation' seemed perfect!
    And so yesterday, the name, 'The Amy Walker Foundation' was born.
    Of course, there are officials I am linking with who know my true identity. It is just for the purposes of my story that I have not yet revealed who I am. I am also at this moment in time, telling close friends, more of what happened to me. There are several who knew me for years and had no idea about my abuse! It was a well-hidden and vile, secret! I am so very touched by the reactions of those in whom I have confided over the last, few days. They tell me they love me regardless.
    When you live this kind of ordeal, your self-esteem is at an all-time critical low. It is the support of those around me and the care and understanding of those, following my journey who give me strength, every moment of every day.

    Regardless of having been discharged from Mental Health Services, some three weeks ago, (I will still suicidal at that time and they were aware of this), I needed to call the psychiatrist yesterday, regarding a letter I needed him to draft for me. We spoke for a few minutes and I went on to tell him,

    "By the way doctor, I never did take those anti-depressants you prescribed. I always thought they would be bad for me." He laughed for a moment.
    "I knew you wouldn't!" He stated.
    "You did? How?" I replied.
    "I just knew, Amy. I just knew!"
    "Good doctor! Then you were right! They are banned in the USA for a very good reason you know!" He chuckled once more.
    "And further more doctor, I have spotted just how many weaknesses there are within this system, for people like me. For others."
    "I know." He continued.
    "Well, I am going to do something about it! I am going to open the first, residential trauma centre in the U.K for women like me."
    "You are?" He sounded slightly unsure at this stage.
    "Absolutely doctor! The system failed me. I cannot and will not let it fail others!" There was a pause for a few seconds, before he replied.
    "Well, when you do, please will you let us know? I need somewhere to refer other patients!" His intonation now somewhat more serious.
    And the funny thing is, I realised that the doctor was actually being serious. Another, small victory. And I smiled at the end of our call. Possibly the beginning of the 'system' finally listening.

    I am in no way advising people not to take their medication. Simply stating that I knew, from previous experience that anti-depressants would not work for me and (certain types), can enhance suicidal thoughts and anxiety. I could not afford to take that risk.

    Over the next week or so, I will the setting up the website for the foundation as well as working on the other elements of the body. We are in need of people who may please be kind enough to have one of our collection boxes within their workplace. If you may be able to accommodate us with this, we would be more than grateful. To run an operation of this scale, we will need many, many thousands of pounds to provide accommodation, furnishings, on-call psychiatrists, trauma specialists and many other resources on an on-going basis. Nothing in life is impossible when a person believes enough. But sometimes, we need others to help us reach those goals which is why we are calling upon the general public to please do what they can. If you would like a collection box for your workplace or centre, I will ensure that one is despatched to you within the next couple of weeks. Further to this, the groups constitution will be available on the website very shortly, along with other news and progress reports. The charity commissioners will be made aware of the foundation within the next few days, for those who need any further assurance, either now or at a later date.
    I also welcome and invite mails from anyone reading, concerning any element of my blog or the foundation. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    In the last week or so, since I began writing my blog, I have had more than 1100 hits on my site. I have had messages of support from many, different people, yet each with their own unique thoughts and feelings about all of this. Tonight, as I write, I feel glad to be alive. I am delighted to see progress. And I know that my dreams of creating a better world, will one day come true.

    Thank you.

  • An Amazing Journey.

    I have started to feel quite a bit better this weekend. After barely leaving the house over the last month my mind is finally starting to feel rested and a little more relaxed.
    I actually caught myself laughing at something Mark said today which stopped me in my tracks.
    'You will never guess what,' I told him. 'For the last few minutes, I have felt happy. Can you believe it? I actually felt happy!' It caught me by surprise.
    'I just needed to let you know, so that I could share this moment with you.' And for those moments in time, the pain I had endured for all of my life had completely disappeared. The pain of losing my mother, my abuser, had been briefly left behind some place, albeit for just a few minutes. After her death, I had not wanted nor felt able to live a second more. To be someone who was suicidal just four weeks ago who today, felt fleeting happiness is way, beyond amazing. It showed me that there really is and can be not only a 'safe' place in but the most wonderful life to live yet. To be able to smile and really feel happy, is something I had never known when my mother was alive. Happiness is the most precious gift in the world. It is priceless and can only come from the soul.

    I have also been thinking lots about my book, 'Angry Angel' which will be released in the next couple of months. I have decided to place my book online, free for readers to download. Essentially, the reason I am doing this is, it will help my cause which is the new trauma centre which will require lots of funding and support. I will be sending mails to subscribers to let them know when my book is ready but I have much of it already written as I had started writing before my mother's death. Please feel free to let me know if you would like me to mail you when the book is ready.

    I am also interested in hearing from anyone who has thoughts or comments about the lack of resources within the NHS for those with mental health problems. Again, there is 'sectioning' or simply the 'crisis team' who call out to or ring those who are suicidal or depressed. I had to wait about eight hours in Accident and Emergency to see a psychiatrist when suicidal. No one offered me even a drink of water. No one checked to see if I was okay. How can they do that when someone is suicidal? I am intending to lobby the government about the lack of resources for people with mental health problems in general. To make real changes, people need to make a noise about such issues. I would be keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in signing a petition I am preparing in the not too distant future protesting against current levels of care within the system.
    I know, we need to stand up as a nation to really be heard.

    I am now liasing with the Americans who are supporting me in opening the U.K's first, residential trauma centre, fully funded for working girls. They are wonderful and are advising me on managing such a big project.
    I am also seeking volunteers who may be able to do something, no matter how small it may seem, to assist. Possibly you could help in forthcoming weeks with holding a fund raising day at your centre or workplace or help out in some other way.

    The other good news is that I now have another ex-working girl who is helping me manage the project. She contacted me after reading my story. I am so delighted! Of course, in the coming weeks and months, we will be alerting the press to the project. That will be my 'coming out' time...no more being anonymous. Am I scared? Yes, a little but this is about saving human lives. This is literally a matter of life and death. And when you come so close and stare death is the face, everything else seems less terrifying. I feel passionately about people. I feel passionately about those who have suffered abuse themselves, be it during childhood or adulthood. How can I 'live for my cause' when I am more concerned about people knowing who I am? I am not brave, not in my own opinion. I am simply a woman who wants to see changes made. No more, no less.

    Thank you, whoever you are for your ongoing support. I feel it every step of my journey. x

  • Trauma centre progress

    I have had quite a, 'down' day today which caught me off guard as I have been so stable for the last few days. I cried for a while and then picked myself back up again, feeling a little better for having done so. I refuse to sit and feel sorry for myself though. The only way I can work through this is by allowing myself to feel a range of emotions but without sitting down to die. I would never get back up again.

    Despite working on the project for the new trauma centre, I am also, in a few days time due to start major trauma therapy myself. I have had to go private after the 'system' had no place for my level of
    trauma. It is very expensive and will be a struggle to afford which is one of the reasons I am so glad that the centre I am working on will be entirely funded and free for the women and girls who come to stay there.
    When someone is at the end of themselves, how can they be expected to go to work? A suicidal person has little, if any chance of being able to even really think about their finances, let alone manage a job.

    I was very lucky today that Mark was there when I cried. He tells me every day that I am getting better, even when I have failed to see my own recovery sometimes. The one, good thing about being able to express my emotions is that I am not 'locked in' some place, as I was for so many years when I was being abused. I was not allowed to cry as a child. There was never, ever anyone to tell about my abuse. And then, there was that old, cliche about thinking I would never be believed which stayed with me, even in my adulthood, every moment of every day.

    As a child I had developed a tremor in my hands by the time I was about seven. Nobody seemed to notice it. Or if they did, they never mentioned it. I was always very embarrassed about it and it remained, although less apparent, right into my adulthood.
    I went on to become a 300 an hour call girl in the West End of London, wearing designer clothes, eating at all of the 'best' places. Yet, the one thing that always betrayed me, was the slight tremor in my hands. I was okay when pretending to be confident with my clients, but alone, shopping, or even trying to drink coffee in a bistro, the tremor, my shallow breathing and profuse sweating, never failed to let me down. I could still, never stop my abuse. That is one thing I had always hated about myself. The tremor.

    Since my mother's death last month and I had a breakdown, the tremor in my hands is very pronounced. Today I was struggling to put sugar in the coffee without spilling it. And today, despite the times I do my make up, the world can still see that something is very wrong inside me. I know in time this will subside. And I know that I finally have time to heal. One day, I hope my hands will finally shake no more.

    Regardless, I know I have lots to do, so I contacted the trauma centre in the USA which will be the business model for the centre I will establish here. The things they are doing for the women are amazing!!
    I find it quite sad that the U.K has nothing like this. After all, each of those women and children are and always will be, 'somebody's daughter'.

    But Mark is right. I am getting better with every day that passes. And for once in my life, I am not scared of the future. Only of the past. For me, it is remarkable.

    Thank you once more for all of your messages of support. No matter what, the world can be and is still filled with amazing people! Sending you all a big smile and much happiness as I write. x

  • Coming together.

    Today has been such a productive day as regards research and preliminary contacts for the new trauma centre.
    I feel as though I have made lots of progress and wanted to share with you some more details of my life as present.

    All the time I was a working girl and my mother was alive, I had never felt able to truly love anyone nor felt that any man or anyone, other than my children, had truly loved me.
    There had been a few times over the years when I quit the industry and tried to do a 'normal' job but I always went back, unable to cope with a life of anything other than chaos.
    Anyway, last year, I met a guy, whilst I was still working and although I knew I should never have done, met him a couple of times before finally telling him why I could not see him again. Because of my work.
    We had a connection whereby I knew I wanted to be honest with him and so I told him the truth, before breaking away. At that time though, I also told him a little about my upbringing. He needed, I guess to know, 'why', I did what I did. Anyway, time passed and we had no contact but I never forgot him. For the purposes of my blog, I will call him, 'Mark'.
    An irony is, that I heard nothing from him until the day of my mother's funeral when he mailed me, out of the blue. There was absolutely no chance he knew of my mother's death as we know no one in the same, social circles and so on. The upshot is, a day or two after my mother's funeral, I had been drinking heavily (I don't usually drink) and called him at home, late one night.

    ''I need you to listen to all of the reasons I am going to take my own life. Yes, I have friends, but they cannot bear to see the person I have become, so I need you to come and sit and listen to me. Don't try and stop me. I have a right to do it! Just listen and then tell them, tell them all, all of the reasons I ended my own life.'' I was going out of my mind with grief. But Mark came over to my house and sat with me as I ranted and screamed and cried on and on. I sobbed mercilessly about some of the things that had happened to me over the years. About how selling my body has been 'easy' in compared to the rest of it. And about how I did not want to live, not for another second. I just needed for someone, someone to know the whole truth. The whole story that had brought me to that very, dark place in my life.
    I did not wash myself for four days. I did not eat at all. In fact, all I did was cry, go crazy and talk about all of the abuse. The curtains remained closed, lights switched off and candles burned both day and night. My beloved mother, yet abuser was dead. Mark sat and listened and gave me his opinion, only when I asked him to do so. Much of the time I was not sober, drinking vodka both day and night, yet falling into short, alcohol-induced sleep at short bursts, only to wake and start drinking again. I cradled my body, hugging my own self in embryonic-like state.
    ''Don't ever call the doctor. Don't ever try to get me locked up, someplace.'' I said, again and again. But Mark never did. He did nothing but listen and drive to the shop to get me more alcohol when I demanded it.
    He knew that I needed to feel I had some control over my own life. And over my own death, too. And for as long as he sat and listened, the lines of communication were still open. I was still able to vent some of my anger, grief and pain. I had arrived at that place in my life as I had never been able to control anything, least of all, my mother's death. The final, assault.

    I felt no connection with Mark at that time, other than the fact he was someone who could deal with all of this stuff, remaining composed each and every second as I relayed vile stories of abuse, depicting graphically what had happened over the years. I did not care any more. I was now a woman who was about to end her own life anyway. It mattered not one iota. I had no self-dignity. No self-worth. My hair matted, my face swollen from crying. Just the two of us remained within the blackness of mourning, the pictures of my mother and me as a baby, surrounding me, as the candles flickered and danced beside our faces.
    Every time he left me to go out over that few days, he would never know if I would be alive upon his return. Neither did I as I counted to ten, over and over.
    ''Don't do it, don't do it'' My mind with thoughts racing, still meeting with nothing but it's own, living hell. But each time he returned, I would still be breathing, ready to tell him the next part of the story. Mark did not leave my side for four days and nights. He never slept whilst I was awake. He never told me he was tired. He just stayed, regardless of his own needs.

    Four days later, he took me to his house, away from the memories of my mother and her death. There was still no relationship between us. I was simply a woman who was broken, struggling each moment to stay alive. I still could not and did not want to eat or sleep. I still could not escape from my own mind. I carried on drinking each day and night. After all, I deserved to drink, right? Despite my having vowed I would never become an alcoholic like my mother. I was soon drinking a litre of vodka per day. It took a further ten days for me to finally reach the decision that I could either carry on drinking or stop before it only added to all of my other problems. In a moment of clarity, as the rain fell outside and I felt it on my face for the first time since my mother's death, I realised that I did not want to slide down that slippery slope. I had promised myself since childhood I would never end up an alcoholic. After all that I had lived, was I going to let go for the sake of a bottle of vodka? I was stronger than that, surely. I have been held hostage by men and drugged, sexually assaulted many times, men have threatened to break my back, set me on fire and cut my throat. And I still survived. If I could live through all of that, I still had a spirit, locked in somewhere. And a soul that was capable of loving, at least my children. And when the rain fell upon my face, it felt like for the first time. Because I had never, ever been free to be me, whoever she is. I threw away the vodka. And now, I am alcohol free. No, it was not easy but I know that in order to recover, I need to feel all that I do.

    It was when I got sober that I realised I had fallen in love with Mark. How could I not? He is the man, who unwittingly, saved my life when I was suicidal and even after the 'system' had let me down.
    He is the only man who has ever known the whole story and loves me regardless. He is supporting me in creating a new life and all that I am doing with the new centre.

    Mark told me just yesterday,
    ''You do realise that when you are better, we are going to have such an amazing relationship, more amazing than we have now, don't you?''
    And actually, I am not sure that, that is possible. How many other people could ever say they got together with their partner when they were suicidal? I have no idea but it sounds pretty amazing to me.

    Other than that, I have been doing more research and contacted some major U.K agencies about the work that I intend to do. The United States has programmes similar to the centre that I seek to establish but still, to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing here in the U.K. I have some solid ideas for funding which I am working on too at present.

    The funny thing is, the few people who know what I am doing have said,
    ''Surely you should work on your own recovery before trying to help anyone else.'' But this is my recovery. This is my way of fighting back against all that happened to me. And with each small step, I become that little bit stronger.

    And one day in the future, I will not only exist, I will feel alive too. And being with Mark, helps me do just that.

  • Step by Step.

    For the last couple of weeks, I have needed to stay in the house most of the time. Before my mother's death, regardless of all that had happened, I was independent
    and managed to have a close circle of friends. I was a woman, who, although always insecure, managed to keep her own demons pretty much well-hidden from the outside
    world. I looked after my children, drove my car and I guess you could say, appeared, 'normal', whatever that means.
    But since my breakdown, I have been unable to face the world outside and have managed one trip to the local supermarket but even then, found it very hard to cope.
    Too many people, too much light, too much sensory input. My mind finds it hard to focus on much as the trauma has pretty much consumed it. It is not something I can control but like a very severe form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    I saw the psychiatrist about ten days ago and sat in his office for about one and a half hours. Accompanied by a support worker who could not even look at me as I relayed details of just some of the events that had brought me to where I was that day. Apparently, what my mother did could have caused Schizophrenia but luckily for me, it never did. I am blessed enough to have been given the ability to think somewhat laterally which is in effect, what 'saved' me all of those years. I would hang onto what my eyes perceived within the world outside and always knew, there was another 'reality', other than the one my mother had created for me from being just a three year old.

    I was presecribed anti-depressants which I have decided not to take, simply as they can enhance suicidal thoughts and anxiety. I cannot afford to take that risk. I know my own mind best, regardless of what health professionals may suggest. Instead, I am taking large doses of Valerian which is a plant extract to 'stabilise' myself. And actually, it has helped me massively. There is no risk of more anxiety or any risk of depression with it. There is no chance I will become addicted to it either. Certain anti-depressants are banned in the USA for their adverse side-effects, just like the ones prescribed to me by the doctor. I did not take them, for a very good reason.

    Tomorrow as I cannot leave the house very much at the moment, I am going to start researching more for the new trauma centre as regards funding. I cannot do lots as I get tired very easily but when I have enough energy I like to try and stay focused, for as much as I can.
    Today, I also received some wonderful mails of support from members of the public which made me smile! These are more of the reasons, I am doing what I am doing and help me with my recovery day to day.
    Thank you to all of you who have contacted me. It means a lot!

    I know, regardless of all of this that I am lucky to still be here today. To have been given a second chance. To have been given the chance to re-invent my life. But my level of trauma is so severe that I have had to re-learn how to do simple things in life. Still, I am making good progress but just ten days ago, it took me over half an hour to be able to type four lines on the keyboard as my mind was unable to determine where the keys were. I cried and tried again and again. My mind is apparently re-routing itself and parts of the brain close down to be able to process severe trauma. But I am managing better now after trying over and over until somewhere inside, my brain once more could once more recognise and use the keys. It has been hard work though and I have done little else but try and try. I guess this is also one of the reasons I am sharing my story with you, the reader. So that you can share my journey of not only survival but also recovery. But much of my brain remains closed-down and I forget things easily. Things that have happened since my mother's death. Apparently the brain will still allow me to recall all that happened before her death which is it's way of allowing my mind to deal with the events prior to her death.

    The scary thing is, I have no idea how long it will take or even if I will ever get my old self back. But today, just for today, I can make a cup of tea and wash myself. I can write to you, the reader and share all of this as I feel it. But there have been days when I have looked in the mirror and seen little but a monster staring back. When your mind does not allow you the luxury of knowing how to carry out day-today tasks, it is a terrifying place to be. And when you feel lost, locked somewhere within the horrors of your past....there are no words to describe your fear. But I am determined to get better. I have to get better. And I will get better. For my children, for myself. And for the others who may one day never see beyond the blackness I felt so very recently.

    Today, I am alive. Today, I am getting better. Every single moment. And today, I am no longer an abused child nor adult. Because today, I am free.

  • My progress after childhood abuse.

    It is four weeks and one day since I buried my mother. And it is only three weeks since I had a complete nervous breakdown, no longer able to recall how to make a cup of tea, how to work the front door key or could even perceive the world around me, my senses closed off to everything, except the trauma. And it is only three weeks since I cried relentlessly, unable even to wash my own hair, the pain of everything crashing down around me, at a million miles per hour. My whole body, for the first time in my life, covered in raised welts that merged into a mass of pinkness around my torso, my shock, horror and grief were so profound. My lungs stopped working properly, being crushed by invisible concrete slabs. My physical being now manifesting to the world, the fact that I was a horrendously abused child and adult.

    Maybe you know how if feels to have been abused your whole life and then watch your abuser, the woman you love without question, without end, die. Maybe you know how it feels to watch her slowly lose her mind, stolen away by brain cancer, each moment, more terrifying than the last. And maybe you know how it feels to receive 'that' phonecall, to say she has finally passed away.
    It was on the 12th January, this year, 2010 that I got 'that' phonecall. It wasn't finished. It was never finished!! I had not finished loving my mother, 'better', just as I had been trying to do so, for thirty-seven, long years.

    Days later, after her funeral, my days and nights were spent screaming, sometimes silently, at others, sorrowful wails of a child whose mother had been stolen away from her. But my mother, was also my abuser, in every concievable way, for every day of my life, physically, spiritually, sexually and emotionally. And then were all of the times she had left me to care for my little sister from being aged just seven. And then there were the times when I would put her to bed as she had been drinking too much. Again. There were all of the, 'wardrobe sessions' when she would come into our room as we slept, flick on the light switch and drag us out of bed by the hair, screaming that we should 'hang all of these clothes back up! Straight, this time!' My eyes willing her to see the pain of my little sister and me, aged just three and five years old. Yet her own eyes remained steeled to all of it. There is lots more I could tell you. I will. In time.

    But back to three weeks ago...I could see nothing but my abuse, over and over again. No way out. No answers to be heard. Questions that I could never ask.
    And you see, during the times I had sold my body to men, I had been able to escape, if only a little. And if only, for a few, short hours. Because during that time, I could take on the identity of someone who was never an abused child. The identity of someone important. And the identity of someone who was loved. But after my mother's death, there was no place left to run as my mind tried to process it all. The only way out of it became blackness. Total and utter oblivion. A place in which my mind, body and soul, could finally be at peace. They say that suicide is selfish. I guess it is, for those who have been left behind. But when you can find no safe place, whatsoever, within even the tiniest recess of your mind, to escape to, blackness seems the only answer. I could find no reason to live. Not even my children, whom I love dearly, were enough for me to be want to take the next breath...or the one after that. Amidst the horror which had been my life and the devastation left behind by my mother's abuse, I found myself, instead of taking my own life, at the mercy of mental health professionals. How do you begin to tell the g.p that you feel suicidal because you endured thirty seven years of abuse at the hands of your mother? I don't know...it's all pretty blurry. But I did. Somehow, I did.
    The g.p of course was very professional when I told her I thought I needed to be sectioned. It was the first time in my life I had ever reached that point. That point from which you feel will never ever, come back. My mind felt as though it had finally collapsed, shattering into a million tiny unfixable fragments. Because there was the truth my mother had created, my whole life. That I was, 'mentally ill'. She told me this, ever since I could recall. And ever since I was a tiny child. The horror of all of the rest of it covered even the furthest corners of my mind.
    '' I need to go into hospital doctor. I know, I have finally gone crazy.'' And going through the, 'system' to see a mental health nurse, I was told,
    ''Actually, I don't think a stay in hospital would be good for you. It's very loud in there and may not be good for your mental health.'' But I was at breaking point. I wanted to walk under the nearest bus, even as I was waiting to be seen by the nurse who advised me against being admitted.
    But apparently, I am sane. Apparently, all of this is a culmination of major trauma over many, many years of my life. The biggest, the death of my mother. My abuser.

    And that night, just over three weeks ago, I left the hospital with a heavy and broken mind and soul. If I could not be sectioned, if I could not be 'locked up' and if they were not able to give me Valium as I had asked, what else was there? But the funny thing is, on the journey back home in the taxi, despite how damaged I was, I also felt rage. What did the system do for people like me? What was there to stop me from taking my own life? And what about other people who felt like me? One thing was certain. I was not going to die and leave other people in the same desperate situation I now found myself in. And that is one of the reasons I am here writing today. It is what kept me breathing. It is what gave me the will to carry on. Today and as I write, I choose to live. And as I write, I am a woman who is determined to do something to save the lives of others who have lived major traumas too. It will be hard. But never impossible.

    I will keep writing of my progress over the next few days and weeks. I am writing my life story. And I also have lots to do to set up the trauma centre. Whoever you are, thank you for reading.

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