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Dealing with PTSD

Hi Sam,

I was sexually assaulted for 2 years as a child by my best friends dad at sleepovers and I'm struggling with it. It started when I was 7 and stopped when I moved away with my mum to live with my step dad, when I was 9.

I obviously didn't know it was wrong, but when I started to understand (when I was about 11), I started to self harming. Then I told my mum when I was 12 and we went straight to the police, Since then, I have been having flashbacks, horrible thoughts about what he did, and recurring nightmares.

I was wondering if you have any ways that I can deal with all these emotions that I'm feeling because I really don't know how to cope anymore.

Thanks

Ask Sam

Sam

​​

Hi there

When you have experienced something traumatic or abusive it can take some time to recover.  A doctor might tell you that you have something called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a mental health problem that can be managed with the right support and care.

Some experiences are difficult to understand and the younger you are, the harder it is to know how to cope. Some people might have things like flashbacks and nightmares. These are not physically harmful to you, but they can make day to day life very difficult.

It can feel scary or confusing to have a flashback when you don’t expect it or to feel panic when you are not in danger or under stress.  Some feelings are held from the past and recovery from PTSD will often involve working with a therapist or counsellor who can help you to safely express these emotions and find new ways to cope with your thoughts and feelings.

Try to plan your day around keeping calm. Do things you enjoy, avoid stressful situations and look into different ways to manage your anxiety and cope with self-harm. Try to look after yourself by eating healthily, exercising and resting as physical health can have a big effect on your mental health.

PTSD is a mental health problem and if you think you might have PTSD it’s important to see your doctor for the right help. You can find out more about PTSD on the young minds website. You can also talk to Childline for support with how you are feeling.

Thank you for your letter.

Take care,

Sam

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