I came from a home where there was a lot of dysfunction abuse and addiction. When I was five, a close family relative committed suicide and my mother became alcoholic as a result of her grief and eventually had to go into treatment for alcohol abuse. I was seven when she did eventually seek help for her addiction.
My father had to work full time, it was the eighties and poverty was prevalent, he also had three children to care for, although it was essentially my older sister who took over the mothering role. I wish to stress that I am not proportioning blame on my family or my parents, they had their own issues, I am just trying to paint as clear a picture as possible. My older sister and brother were more alike and bonded and usually excluded me, which meant at the majority of times I was alone, fending for myself, which I did. It was also a very lonely time.
Around that time, a neighbor who was fifteen at the time took special interest in me, which I was delighted with, as it meant companionship. However, he would regularly take me to a field near my home and molest me. At the time, in my young mind, I didn’t equate what he was doing as abuse, I just knew that it felt wrong, that I felt dirty. I never told anybody what was happening, but I think it was the beginning of the erroneous and self-destructive opinions that I formed of myself.
At secondary school I had lots of friends and appeared confident and bubbly but behind it all, suffered extremely low self-esteem. At 13 I became friendly with a girl the same age as me, she had her own past difficulties, so in a short space of time we became good friends. I secretly admired her because she always seemed so streetwise and independent and at fifteen, she travelled to London to get a job. I didn’t see her again until two years later when she returned home. I was studying for my Leaving Cert. Life at home was becoming increasingly difficult so when my friend whom I will call “Alex” suggested I come stay with her, I was delighted and jumped at the chance.
Shortly after coming to stay with her, I noticed that she always seemed to have lots of money, her clothes and makeup were always immaculate, despite her being unemployed, and she renting her own apartment. But in my young mind, it never really dawned on me to question how she managed it all.
Late one evening, Alex announced that she had discovered a really easy way of making lots of money and asked me to go along with her to a street nearby, close to a club that I used to go to. She told me that I was to walk slowly along the pavement while the cars pulled up. She told me that the men in these cars that were pulling up were in search of a quick sexual encounter with a young girl and that I could charge what I wanted. I was shocked at the whole thing really, as far as I was concerned, this was a whole different world to me, but I went ahead and did it anyway. As the thirty five year old woman and mother that I am now, I really wish that I could have walked hand in hand with that 17 year old childlike girl and warn her that the core of her being and the course of her path were about to change forever.
So I went with the punter. Alex was right, it was quick money. Although we laughed about it afterwards, I felt sick and something inside me had indeed changed. After that night, I left Alexs’ home and returned to the turbulence of my on home life.
For the next few years, I lived a relatively normal life and even secured a job that I loved and that I was good at, so when my contract finished I was naturally devastated. I had been in the city centre that day emailing CVs but to no avail. I bumped into Alex again, we went for a drink and she told me that she had been working for an escort agency – sometimes earning up to a thousand euros per night. She told me that the men were rich, but that everything was at my discretion. She gave me a number to call and I was all set up to go to work that Saturday, I was actually really excited about my new job. I packed my best black dress, some hair straighteners and some make up. When I arrived at the apartment, I was met by an English woman who told me what was expected of me, and that I was to tel the men I was only eighteen or barely legal as she put it. When I saw the potential earnings I was delighted. The whole thing seemed so glamorous and safe and initially I did consent to the work, however, very quickly into working for the agency, I found whatever degree of consent I initially thought I had being slowly removed from me.
On one occassion,when I fell asleep on a shift I was forced to strip and sit on a couch where the owner informed me that I would have to work days on end, without pay, serving as many as sixteen men per day, without money and of course, consent.
The owners of this agency were in fact human traffickers and were in fact, running an international operation forcing young girls and women to work in prostitution, subjecting them to the most horrific acts of violence and rape. I eventually ran away from them, to a part of the United Kingdom and had to do the same thing all over again, just to survive.
I desperately wanted to help the girls and woman still trapped in this sordid operation and so I agreed to provide an undercover journalist who was investigating the operation with information in the hope that this operation would be exposed. However grim my experiences had been previously, nothing could prepare me for the horror and shock of being brutally raped by this journalist. I fell into addiction and my spirit and mental health were destroyed. I eventually sought treatment for addiction and went for counselling. I was in counselling for about a year and a half but found the whole process to be excruciatingly painful and somewhat counter-productive as I found myself needing a drink afterwards. So I stopped attending counselling and told myself to get on with life, despite the fact that I was experiencing symptoms of PTSD on a daily basis. I was able to get on with life for a while, even managing to study for a degree in law, however the destructive force of PTSD was always there in the backround, taunting me somewhat, destroying my friendships, relationships, jobs and my outlook on life. I was crippled with depression and anxiety, but had managed to convince myself that this was just the way it was as a result of my past. I suppose in my own way I had resigned myself to the fact that my past was to haunt me forever I guess.
I recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It was an amazing experience, but the PTSD that I had spent so much time hiding from hit me with such a force that I genuinely feared for my own sanity. I couldn’t eat or sleep and I was terrified for my own safety and that of my daughter. I refused to leave the house, even for a walk and was dependent on medication just to function. The flashbacks became a nightmare – the best description I have was it like walking through a mine-field.
I heard of the Human Givens approach and rewind technique through an acquaintance, and although I was initially skeptical I decided to give it a go as I had nothing more to lose. When I arrived to meet my therapist I was shaking and crying as I described my past. I was also terrified of what emotions would be stirred up and if it would prove destructive as past interventions had.
The rewind technique was very different to any form of therapy I had previously experienced. I was taken to a relaxing place in my imagination – a beach in Thailand, and she asked me to watch a dvd of my negative experiences on a TV, and then to rewind it and fast forward and rewind it and again.
I left my first therapy session smiling. I walked my dog that evening feeling fresh and viewing the world through completely different eyes, noticing flowers and sunshine – things that I had previously been blind to. I enjoy my time with my daughter more and my relationship with my husband has improved. I feel free for the first time in about eighteen years.
I recently went to see a psychiatrist who had seen me five weeks previously. I am now off all anti-psychotic medication and antidepressants. The psychiatrist commented that it was like meeting a completely new woman.
I am more aware of my own emotions and I instinctively know how to deal with negativity and emotions which would have previously consumed me. I have been given my life back only better and I am really looking forward to every moment of it. I am planning to learn more about the rewind technique as I really believe that if I can heal from the past, anybody can.