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To Sam

How I'm feeling

hi sam im writing to you for some advice..... ive been in care a year and a half now,,,, i was put into care due to my parents abusing me in a few ways.

since coming away from them i dream and relive everything they ever done to me EVERY day ,,, visualise what theyve done to me EVERY day, during real important times in my life, Overthink about it all EVERY day!!, i feel im the one in the wrong for letting it go on for so long before speaking out..... im happy one minute loving what i have in life now but my mood can change in a split second to being unhappy, upset and reliving my past!.....Recently my chest has been feeling very tight as if someone is pushing down on me followed by a sharp pain!.... im not sure what this could be but could you please give me some advice on how to get back to my happy self, i used to be so good at hiding my unhappy side and screening it with a happy face but its all falling apart now and im worrying my foster parents. I dont think i can bring it to myself to say whats gone on after telling them the little bit they already know.

Thank you

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Memories of abuse that happened in the past can sometimes appear suddenly even when your safe and the abuse isn’t happening any more. You might feel confused about why you’re remembering things that you want to forget and why you feel anxious when you’re not in danger now.

Trying to bury painful memories doesn’t always make them go away. Ignoring them, or trying to make it look as if everything is fine on the outside, can sometimes make your feelings build up more and become harder to hold in. It might feel difficult to talk about your past but often talking to an adult you trust like a carer, social worker or a counsellor can help you to express some of the pain that you’re holding on to. When you feel ready to talk, it’s important to go at your own pace.  No one should make you say more than you want to.

When you have a memory that makes you feel anxious or scared, it can help to think about something neutral and safe. Try counting backwards from 500, name ten green objects in the room, say something out loud about the weather or take three slow deep breaths in to the count of four an out to the count of four. Try different things until you feel calmer.

Anxiety can sometimes have physical symptoms that can be scary and might make you worry more. Feeling dizzy, short of breath or having pains in your head or chest can all be symptoms of anxiety.

It can take time to recover and it’s important to remember that being abused is not your fault and you were brave to tell someone when you did. You might have been scared that the abuse could get worse or that no one would believe you. Telling someone can sometimes mean that you might have to live somewhere else or go into care. There are lots of reasons for not saying something sooner.

There’s always help and support at Childline. You can talk to a counsellor or share your experiences with other young people on the message boards to get help from the online community.

Take care

Sam

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