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  • Writer's pictureBenita Garvin


This powerful piece was written by a Storytelling Lab participant, Bec Gools. Please share it.

Something happened that pushed you into the deep end… and somehow, through it all, you learned how to swim.

Morgan Harper Nichols

Close to three years ago I got separated from my friends after a work party. It was no one’s fault- they went to the bathroom while I spoke to a boy at the bar. I was so full of champagne and having the time of my life, and honestly just excited for summer and annual leave and on a real “life is amazing” high after having caught up with lots of friends that evening. (4th July, 2019- isn’t that when everyone’s out?)

Unfortunately, that joy and excitement for the party, and a predisposition to trusting people at their word meant that night ended really badly for me when I lost my friends and my phone died. I relied on the “kindness” of a stranger (NOT a colleague or in TV industry) to get me home safe- but I was not kept safe by him.

I reported it to the police. They didn’t have enough evidence. I went to an expensive therapist. She called me promiscuous, told me her own experience and gaslit my brain to the point I thought I was having a psychotic break and had imagined it. (She’s since been sanctioned by BACP).

My brain fell out of my head. I couldn’t focus, things got caught in my mind like a loop- I wasn’t sleeping, I was paranoid, terrified of spaces and the dark and of alcohol.

I went for a weekend away with some girlfriends, got a massage and it was like all my armour dissolved. Suddenly I was crying, and I couldn’t stop for two whole weeks. I booked a GP appointment because I needed whatever drug stops tears so I could crack on and function in my life again.

My GP sat and cried with me while she told me she wasn’t going to prescribe any medication, that maybe I needed to feel this pain and process it. Turns out she was right.

I had amazing trauma informed therapy for 18 months through Nia Project, a charity who covers East London Rape Crisis. I was diagnosed with PTSD- but with that therapy I was able to process, and I have now recovered.

I am forever grateful to my therapist who took her time and guided me back to myself. I am in awe it was free and we had real time to process it all safely. It has been a very long journey but I built back stronger, and I’m more grateful than ever for this part in the journey.

I say all this for a hundred reasons, but mostly because I know, so deeply, how it feels when the whole floor falls out underneath you. I know the terror of wondering if the world will end, and the pain of having to function in a never ending loop when all you want is to press freeze on everything while you rest/recover/check out.

But I also know that there is a golden future ahead and the darkest night will, eventually, always pass.

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