Thank you for sharing your story, can you tell us a little about what happened to you?

I have been the victim of multiple sexual assaults, once as a child and once as an adult recently. I also suffer with anxiety and depression which has affected my life massively in many different ways. Relationships, opportunities and self care have all been affected. I made some really bad decisions with the hopes of distracting and blocking out the trauma but in the long run only made my life worse. Once I reached university I opened up to a few strangers about the trauma I experienced growing up and realised I wasn’t alone and had the support of my peers.

What advice would you give to someone who has experienced something similar?

You are never alone when going through hardship, there is always someone that has some advice or experience in the matter. Open up to someone about it and that you feel comfortable around, that could be a family member, friend, therapist, colleague or a complete stranger you just met.

If you could go back in time and comfort your younger self, what would you say?

You are not alone, you are not in trouble for being a victim, it’s okay to to take time to recover and have boundaries with people.

“You are not alone, you are not in trouble for being a victim”

What do you think would have helped you at the time?

I felt like I was in trouble as I didn’t really know what had happened when I was a child, being honest about what happened it might have made it easier to deal with and I might have been less angry and confused growing up.

How do you help yourself to feel better when life gets you down nowadays?

I open up immediately to my partner or friends about what is going through my head and they help to make me feel less alone.

Do you think that difficulties you experience in life make you stronger or weaker?

They absolutely make you stronger, they held me back while I was growing up as I was clueless to what had actually happened. It also made it easier to connect with other people that had also experienced something traumatic or have mental health issues. My positive and negative experiences opening up to other people made me want to be a positive experience for others.

I am currently helping set up a volunteering group to show others the benefits of helping others and the community, it is very rewarding and has so many personal benefits to it as well.

What is life like for you now?

Life is so much easier now, I am very open about my trauma as I know how much it helped me knowing I wasn’t alone. I use my trauma to help others now and it gives me a sense of life satisfaction.

Life is amazing, there will always be ups and downs but having the support there and knowing what helps you personally it makes things so much easier. I am progressing at the same rate as my friends around me that haven’t experienced trauma, it shows that no matter what you have gone through, it doesn’t hold you back at all, you can achieve anything despite the troubles.

What does ‘success’ mean to you?

Success is very personal to each person, for me success is achieving happiness in my life, being able to care for myself, my family and friends, enjoying my work is all I want from life. I will feel like it has been a success. Failing at things helps you to learn from your mistakes, there is never anything wrong with messing up every now and again. Mistakes make us human.