At first, I didn’t even fully realise the scale of what had happened to me, what I had been through. I wrote it off as a bad break up and I tried not to think about it or him again. My mental state was fragile and it grew worse with every day that passed and I ended up taking an overdose because I couldn’t deal with life anymore. I was unsuccessful and it was at this point I started to receive the medical care that I had desperately needed for most of my life. My abuser got in touch and told me I was fat and I was to go and kill myself. I felt threatened by this after a complete lack of contact since we broke up and so I approached the Police.
I cannot thank the Police enough for their support even though we weren’t able to secure a conviction and my abuser effectively go away with it. At this time, Fife Women’s Aid came into my life and the support that I was given was life-saving. I don’t know where I would be without the support from the service. My memories of the time are a little foggy and fragmented but one of the things that I do remember is the phone calls from my support worker, how attentive she was to my need’s in general (especially with my eating disorder) and the Christmas present that I was given. I can’t even remember what it was but I do remember how touched I was by it and the fact that she told me a lot of victims of abuse can go back to their abusers over Christmas.
I received intervention from psychology, I began my medication journey and I received support from Penumbra too. I can’t remember when I stopped receiving support from Fife Women’s Aid but what I do remember is how crucial the support was and how my support worker brought value back to me and helped me realise what the cycle of abuse was and what I had lost, what my abuser had taken away from me. You don’t realise these sorts of things until you are out of the situation, you are safe and sometimes you need someone else to help you reach the truth that is otherwise hidden from you. Being abused involves a lot of gaslighting, misdirection and the intention for you is that you don’t even see what is happening, that even your own mind doesn’t belong to you anymore. For me, Woman’s Aid and the support I received were the light I needed to begin to reclaim myself.
My journey has been long and I still don’t feel as though I have fully recovered and I don’t know if I ever will. Despite that, I have flourished and fully reclaimed my life and done something wonderful with it. I have had to have several counselling interventions across the years but there is nothing wrong with that. The trauma that we experience as the victims is earth shattering and it takes a long time to come to terms with what happened and to deal with the effects that resonate throughout the remainder of your life. It is not weakness to need support. It is not weakness to cry. It is not weakness to be angry at what has happened to you.