Sue was scrolling through cheesy old photos of college life on Facebook when she saw his face. A face that she thought she’d forgotten about forever.
In an instant, the memories flooded back. The things he’d done to her, the pain and the fear.
Sue tried to get back to normal life. But she didn’t feel normal any more. She felt like she wasn’t really there. Reading the same email at work over and over again. Sitting in meetings but not hearing a word. Pushing the kids away irritably when they wanted her attention. Making excuses to push her husband away too.
Everyone who knew Sue said she was a strong woman. Amazing with the kids, always ready to help out anyone who needed it.
What would they say if she told them? It was all so long ago. Surely she should have got over it by now.
Sue thought it would pass in a couple of days. But after a couple of weeks, the lack of sleep and the lack of concentration started to get to her. Her boss sat her down for a chat - targets were getting missed, people were getting annoyed. The atmosphere at home was uneasy and she didn’t feel like going out with her girlfriends.
Desperate for something proactive to do, Sue started Googling. That’s when she found the number for the Rape Crisis Line.
It took her a while to get up the courage to call. The counsellors helped her realise she wasn’t going crazy - she was having a normal response to trauma.
She learnt about how to recognize triggers, like those photos online. They helped her learn how to connect to what’s happening right now, instead of getting stuck in the memories.
At the moment Sue’s working on taking good care of herself and practising her newly learnt skills at managing the memories. The counsellors are always there when she needs them, even late at night. She’s got the details of some face to face counselling services for when she’s ready.
She won’t ever be able to forget about it completely - but now Sue feels she’s back in control.
If this story has brought up any issues for you, you can speak to our counsellors: