“I became so removed from my feelings”

Trauma can affect how you feel about yourself and how you relate to others.

Women who have gone through abuse or other trauma have a higher risk (3 times more likely in fact) of developing a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To mark Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we’ve asked our volunteer counsellor and survivor, Aimee, a few questions…

In what ways does domestic abuse impact the mental health of survivors?

It isolates them not just physically but mentally too, I became so removed from my feelings that I couldn’t name them anymore or I wasn’t sure what I was feeling or how I should be feeling. It made me think I was crazy and I had something wrong with me.

How do you work with women to support their mental health after abuse and why is it important for them to have this support?

Support is needed to rebuild their lives again, empowering women to take control of their lives, encouraging them, praising them, acknowledging them and their stories, sometimes they are not believed because the perpetrator is so good at hiding the things they do, so it is important they are heard.

Are there any common myths surrounding domestic abuse and mental health problems?

Domestic abuse is private and you shouldn’t help if you know someone is suffering because you could make the situation worse – while this is partly true you could also make it better even just by having a word on the side with the victim if possible or raising concerns with family if you don’t feel comfortable.

How do you look after your mental health?

A lot of self love, self care and doing things that make me happy. Taking joy in the little things again.