Domestic Abuse Survivor’s Impact On Mental Health
** Please Note: If you are reading this and are looking for ways to get out of the situation you are in but are not in any immediate danger, devise an emergency backup plan. have a bag ready with all your important documents and valuables and try to save some money for a taxi or busfare. Have a burn phone, just in case your abuser destroys the one you use. Back up all your contact details of all your friends and family and keep it all in the cloud. Make duplicate copies of all your important documents just in case the originals get found and get destroyed. If you can save more money and have a place you can go such as a hotel for a few nights, you should do this until you can secure some permanent shelter. Tell your friends and family what is going on in your life, they may be able to provide support. Have a secret code to notify them that you need help and if you are in imminent danger call the Police or get your support network to do it for you. I have heard ordering a pizza on the emergency services number will notify the Police there is something wrong and they should send out patrol cars.
Coping With Mental Health As A Survivor.
As a survivor of domestic abuse, I know full well how it has affected my life after the aftermath where I am now left to pick up the pieces. What I have learned through self-help therapy is to put it behind me, it was in the past, it is not part of my future and he cannot hurt me if he cannot find me.
My abuser has actually left the country and gone back home to Poland. Ideally, to feel 100% safe I would like to be sure our paths will never cross ever again and I would like to live somewhere where I can rebuild my life rather than have constant reminders of all the physical damage he had not only done to me but also to my home.
I know one day he will re-ignite his hatred of someone else, but then it will be someone else’s problem, I know that sounds selfish and harsh but my hands are tied because he no longer resides in the same country as me). The authorities would not be able to do anything unless he returned, (a leopard does not change their spots, believe me, they do not, I learned that the hard way). Yes, I had plenty of opportunities to press charges but I was afraid and just played the waiting game for him to leave and he did. I have blocked him on all social media and have begun removing my carbon footprint. It stands to reason if he was ever to return he would come to the place he believes I live in, but when I move he will never find me.
He is pure evil and I do not believe he will ever change.
I have learned by keeping myself busy and journalling that I am healing in my own way and am paving a new path.
I cannot deny that it has affected me mentally and physically and I cannot do things like I used to but I am learning how to rewire my mind and my thoughts through hypnosis, meditation, and scripting.
I know it will take a lot of time and intervention but I am confident I will get there in the end.
My experience can help others who are dealing with domestic violence and are recovering, either way, there is hope.
How does Domestic Violence affect mental health?
Domestic Violence Is Associated With:
- Panic Attacks
- Intrusive Thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
After the perpetrator is no longer in your life the constant reminders of the destruction are still there. We can erase some of the memories through hypnosis and meditation. But the duration of the abuse will affect you mentally. You may start to believe everything that the abuser said to you are true because you may feel useless because he/she made you feel that way.
Domestic violence is associated with depression, anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is evidenced that individuals suffering from mental health as a result of domestic abuse may experience disturbed sleeping patterns, commit or attempt suicide and develop substance misuse issues.
The ultimate way is to keep reminding yourself that if you give in he/she would have won.
You are stronger than that, you can show them and make them live to regret raising one finger to you.
Children who witness the events are found to suffer from mental ill health, later on in their lives, and where they see this happening may not differentiate right from wrong. They may see it as normal and may even adopt the same traits.
- 16% of domestic abuse victims have considered attempting suicide as a result of the abuse (National Legal Service).
- 64% of domestic abuse survivors experience PTSD (Office of National Statistics)
- 60% of psychiatric inpatients had experienced severe domestic abuse (Office of National Statistics).
- Individuals may find it difficult to seek support for their mental health, however, help is available.
What help can a survivor of domestic violence get?
First of all the victim needs to reach out to their GP (Doctor) to get the medication to help them sleep, ease their depression and get a referral to counseling services.
Some counseling services like CBT Therapy or psychotherapists are provided by the NHS (UK) free of charge. Hypnotherapy can be accessed online. There are also many free courses and therapy sessions that can be accessed via the NHS https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/.
There are many social media groups on Facebook that you can join to be part of a community and help one another to motivate and empower. If you have a story you wish to share and perhaps help someone then we invite you to write on our site.
We have also got a ‘Domestic Violence Resource Useful Links Page’ where you can find all the information listed alphabetically under the heading Domestic Violence.
Protecting your mental health when affected by Domestic Violence?
There are many ways to protect your mental health.
I have found that whoever I talk to in my personal network does not really want to support me and they do not want to hear all the gory details, they usually try to change the subject or try to brush it under the carpet by saying its in the past and you should not dwell on it, (easier said than done).
I once sent a very sensitive email to three people and all in my private network and all three acknowledged they had read the email, and then there was silence never to be mentioned again. People do not care unless it directly affects them.
Unless you have been on the receiving end of domestic violence no one has the right to judge or give an opinion unless they are an expert in the field such as a psychologists or mental health practitioner.
One of the ways to protect your mental health by far is to reach out to a medical practitioner or GP (Doctor), they can advise the best course of action and put you in touch with organizations that can help.
Remember talking to someone is a good thing although some people simply do not care, so be mindful of this and it is best to reach out to your doctor first and foremost or any professional body.
Taking back hold of your life.
- Make an appointment with your doctor.
- Start a diary, this could be a personal book or an online journal.
- Join social media groups specifically focused on Domestic Violence.
- Join social groups and start making friends.
- Start to go out, for a coffee, drinks, or dinner even by yourself (You have your smartphone, tablet, or book to keep you company).
- Plan your new life.
- Manage your finances.
- Set goals (have a bucket list and reward yourself every time you reach one of your goals).
- Learn something new each day (there is plenty of information and courses online and some are free).
- Start a hobby or something you have always dreamed of doing but never had a chance to.
- Look after yourself and start to love yourself again.
- Practicing mindfulness and exercising, even just a walk in the fresh air has been proven to support well-being. Further ideas can be found at https://www.mind.org.uk/.
- Start a blog and share your experience and knowledge.
- Teach others (this could be about something you are passionate about or talk about your life and how you are a survivor.
- Motivate and Empower people.
- Show the world you are a survivor where you got kicked down, got back up again, and are more stronger than ever before.
- If you have children that have witnessed the destruction and physical and mental abuse, make them your priority and show them that you all are in a better place, spoil them, take them out to all their favorite places and talk to them that what happened was wrong and should never be repeated by anyone. Teach them about kindness and respect so that they do not go on to do what their father or partner did. Children have a tendency to pick up bad habits that they see their parents doing.
- Leave a Legacy.
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