"Every time I closed my eyes, the terrifying scene would play over and over"

I am Mandy, and on the surface you would think I had everything

Good career: C:\Users\John Ryan\Downloads\black-check-tick-icon-4.png

Nice house: C:\Users\John Ryan\Downloads\black-check-tick-icon-4.png

Loving partner: C:\Users\John Ryan\Downloads\black-check-tick-icon-4.png

But for almost 2 decades I lived a waking nightmare. My life was stuck on repeat, stuck on a terrifying and grotesque memory from 20 years ago, when I was 9 years old.

To explain. Let’s press pause, and rewind. My childhood:

Good at school: C:\Users\John Ryan\Downloads\black-check-tick-icon-4.png

Lots of friends; C:\Users\John Ryan\Downloads\black-check-tick-icon-4.png

Loving family: C:\Users\John Ryan\Downloads\black-check-tick-icon-4.png- well almost 

You see, I was sexually abused by my step dad and his brother, from when I was 7 until I was 15 years old.

My university years were spent self-medicating. Fuelled by drink and drugs, I used my hectic social life to block out the pain, the recurring memories. My waking hours were populated by panic attacks; I was incapable of emotional intimacy. I didn’t make it past my 2nd year at Uni. And then, I was back home, sleeping again in the room my abuse had happened in. Without the structures of University, I sank into a deep depression. I blamed myself for everything that had happened. It started to feel like it would be easier if I wasn’t around anymore.

I had turned so many people against me, but my sister just wouldn’t stop loving me. She helped me get sober, fed me, put a roof over my head and helped me access the support that completely changed my life. My sister gave me back stability, and when I phoned One in Four they gave me back my life. It didn’t happen overnight; I had to work at it.

But fast forward: after 2 years of therapy, I am sleeping, working, smiling. My therapist has helped me so much. I have started to live in the present, to trust, to love. Exercise has become so important to me now, I feel at peace when I am hiking. In the mountains, close to nature, I can recharge. 

Through therapy I began to realise I was just a child when the abuse happened; none of it was my fault. My stepdad robbed me of my childhood, but One in Four gave me my future. 

For more information about any of our services, or to have a no-obligation chat to one of our staff members, please feel free to call us on 01 66 24070, or email [email protected]