Lockdown was hard on many, but imagine starting therapy at the same time. Our counselling groups, sessions, and workshops help many people learn to deal with trauma. Often, this trauma can reappear when something changes in your life. Lockdown, for example, removed a great deal of distraction from people’s lives. And in some cases, this allowed memories of the past to return.
Our Sexual Trauma and Recovery Counselling team (STAR) works with people who have been impacted by sexual trauma. One of the people we work with shared her story of therapy during COVID and how she started to process her trauma. Thank you for your story, Sue.
On the first day of the first lockdown, I got Covid, and it never went away. It’s now known as Long Covid. Overnight, I went from being a busy NHS scientist to being unable to get out of bed and being in constant pain.
Mentally, I was trapped in a body barely able to move. I was trapped in a constant loop of nightmares and flashbacks of my abusive childhood. Over time, I got strong enough to ask for help so contacted STAR Counselling.
My counselling started during the lockdown. After many sessions of individual counselling, I was encouraged to join the psychotherapeutic group ‘Growing with YOU’. I learnt about the impact trauma had taken on my body and on my nervous system. This group introduced me to other clients who have gone through trauma and were now on their counselling pathway. This really supported me to not feel so alone and isolated.
Thanks to all the work I have done and everything I have learnt with STAR Counselling, it’s now a head I want to live in.
I started the STAR-Light Steps course which is delivered by a STAR Licensed Facilitator. In that course, I did many workshops. Some of these were:
- The Power of Self-Esteem – I learnt some practical tools to stay in the present and to make new choices for myself.
- STAR Community Enrichment Group – a weekly, ongoing peer support group for all clients who have completed this course
- Power of Purpose – where I explored the purposes in my life and re-discovered my love and ability for art
Toward the end of my counselling, I also undertook EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
It’s been three and a half years since I got Covid, and I’m still mostly housebound and have chronic pain. Because of this, I’ve had to give up my career. But thanks to the therapy and groups, my mind is more at peace.
The flashbacks and nightmares have faded into the background. But when they do emerge, I can deal with them. My near-constant dissociation has lifted, and my pain is more manageable. By necessity, I must spend a lot of my life alone and quiet, inside my own head. But thanks to all the work I have done and everything I have learnt with STAR Counselling, it’s now a head I want to live in.
Recently, from my dark quiet room, I’ve found the energy to draw, and I’ve found the energy to build my own little business. Something to give me purpose when I’m physically able. I don’t know what of my health I’ll get back. But I’m confident that had I not pulled myself out from constant flashbacks and dissociation with the support of the STAR Counsellors, STAR Groups, and my fellow peers, my odds of doing so would have been much worse.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sue. And good luck on your road to recovery.