Hello and welcome back to Season 2 of our #SeeMeHearMe blog. Today, our anonymous blogger tells us her remarkable story of experiencing and overcoming tremendous adversity and trauma to eventually achieve those most priceless states of being: true hope and happiness! We are especially grateful to our blogger for sharing her story with us – especially as she includes an audio version – and we simply encourage you to take a few minutes to immerse yourself in her story… to empathise with her pain and to celebrate her recovery!
If you would like to share your story with our community, then please contact Derek at firstname.lastname@example.org or Felicity Douglas on Twitter @FelicityDougie.
In the meantime, over to you, Anon, and thank you, thank you, thank you!
I was born into trauma, toxic stress, addiction and abuse. My parents chaotic on/off relationship ended when I was 18 months old. My dad went into rehab for his alcoholism when I was 3.
I always felt unwanted, always scared and punished for being scared. Why am I alive, why have I been born to be so sad all the time? Fear quickly turned to anger.
Mum wasn’t loving, she was angry, she didn’t like us kids, we got in the way. My brother was beaten with the belt, the wooden spoon was used on me. Pants pulled down in front of people, still as old as 10, being smacked and humiliated.
Mum had many men, we spent a lot of time in the pub.
When I was around 5, I was told to do sexual things with another child, I repeated that behaviour with other boys. I thought that’s how you get love.
We didn’t have much money, so we lived off hand me downs, our flat was always freezing.
I was a tom boy and I played football and sports to escape, but school always took this away because I didn’t behave. If teachers tried to touch me, I’d explode.
My brother first went to care when I was 8. I was told he was taken away because of the way he treated me. I thought it was all my fault.
I was staying with my dad at weekends, dinner in the week. I lived with him for a year when I was 11. Mum had threatened many times to pack my bags and dump me at his – that’s what she did.
I was excluded from my first primary school in just year 3, I went to another 3 primary schools and 5 secondary schools. I couldn’t concentrate and my outbursts ended in regular suspension.
I was 10 and already involved in anti-social behaviour, police turning up. Around that time, I tried my first puff on a spliff. I was 12 before I started getting smashed more regularly.
I was in my first year in secondary school, suspended again. Dad was struggling to attend all the school meetings. He had given me his bedroom; he was sleeping on a mattress in the lounge. My older sister hated having me there.
When I was 11, I got arrested for shoplifting, the older boys taught me how to steal CD’s, and after a few weeks I got caught.
When I was 12 I was arrested for a serious assault. I had thrown someone on the floor and kicked them in the head. I was angry, I didn’t know how else to express my emotions. I had a gaping big wound, and I didn’t know how else to share my pain. This lasted for many more years.
Dad had enough of me too, so I went into care.
My dad stayed consistent. Our relationship wasn’t always great, but he was always there.
That dark cloud of not being wanted, accepted or loved followed me. I hated myself and wanted to escape how I felt. I smoked weed, sniffed solvents, drank to oblivion and raided medicine cabinets.
I’d run away, stay at friends, and hang out all night on the street, robbing and breaking-in.
I just didn’t want to go back to that care home.
I was remanded to a secure unit for 1 month when I was 13, straight to solitary confinement. A bare cell with just crash mat on the floor. You had to earn points to sleep in a bedroom. I was in and out all the time, a couple of nights, full weekends, weeks, or a month or two.
I kept people away, I had a sense for weird adults and kept my distance. Then I was sexually assaulted by someone a few years older; but someone was coming, and he burnt the tie off my wrists. I had a lucky escape; I did my trousers and shirt up and ran.
Moved around between care, secure units, dads and occasional bail at mums. I was a burden being passed around, unwanted.
When I was 15 I was sentenced to HMP. I met an older prisoner, she got me. I’d never felt that powerful connection before. When she spoke to me, I took it in, she gave me her time. I looked up to her.
I also tried heroin for the first time and met a whole new network of adults.
When I was 16, dad got a three bedroom house and I moved in. Despite drug raids, constant arrests and pushing boundaries he never kicked me out again.
I served another 2 HMP sentences before I was 18. My addiction continued to worsen, sexual exploitation and deeper into criminality.
When I was 18 I was in a coma for 5 days after overdosing. I’d been dragged out into the stairwell of a flat. Luckily someone rang the ambulance, I just made it. A few weeks later dad found me foaming from the mouth on the couch.
When I was 20, I went into rehab, I found recovery. I was a shell of a person with nothing to numb my pain. I started my journey.
I got with my first boyfriend, a toxic, abusive relationship. I hated myself, no self-worth.
I had only touched on that wound; I still didn’t have the words. I headbutted walls to numb the pain.
I needed nurture. In time I built many relationships and learnt what my emotions were and how to understand them. I learnt with patience and love. I set boundaries and ended relationships. I smiled more and belly laughed.
I went to college and got 2 GCSE’s, I started an office job and worked really hard, I went on a safari – my dream trip.
When I was in prison, I wanted to work with kids like me, but I was told I couldn’t because of my criminal record. I had breaks from trying, but I never gave up and years later I started to work with young people.
I didn’t return to football, it had too much trauma attached to it. I found a different competitive sport. I started to win and achieve things I never thought I could. I started to believe in myself.
I was always kind and compassionate, my childhood just got lost in trauma. I truly believe I suffered and overcame it to help others, it’s what kept me going.
I used to think if you walk in my shoes, you’ll know why my feet bleed, now I know if you walk in my shoes you’ll know why heart gleams.