A Client Shares
‘I originally joined one of Caroline’s Yoga classes. I read about her programme on her website, but the yoga class initially seemed less threatening. However, I hadn’t attended any activity outside of work since 2006, so it was a big step for me. After several weeks of attending the yoga class, I felt exhausted and unable to continue. Still, I thought I might consider doing the Total Release Experience through TRE UK® in the New Year. I e-mailed Caroline explaining my situation, and I had my first session later that day.
I’ve been stuck in a cycle of self-destructive behaviour since I was 15 (I’m now 33). Initially, I struggled with anorexia; moving into bulimia; cutting (self-harming); compulsive shopping and online gambling.
My history is complicated, but to keep it short. My Dad has suffered mental health problems most of my life, and because of this, I was a withdrawn and compliant child and an easy target. The major trauma was being targeted by a gang of boys at secondary school. I was sexually assaulted nearly every day at school for three years. At its worst, being gang raped on four occasions. Sexual bullying is such a taboo subject. The school branded me ‘hypersensitive’, and my Dad, unable to cope with it, emotionally disowned me. Whilst the sexual assaults came to light at school, I couldn’t talk of the gang rapes until 18 months ago. This was compounded by losing my Gran to cancer at the age of 15 and my Dad suffering a heart attack and cardiac arrest two weeks before my 17th birthday. I felt like I was being punished for what had happened.
I’ve felt like I’ve been on a mission to prove everyone wrong. Those who branded me hypersensitive, those who said I would never get a qualification, to those who said I would never hold a job down. Whilst my personal life has been nearly non-existent, I have managed a successful career, but I felt I was going through the motions of daily life and not living. I felt like I was stuck in a bubble, unable to reach out and connect with anyone or anything. I’d been in different talking therapies since I was 15 and tried anti-depressants on 5/6 occasions, which worsened my symptoms. I began seeing my current counsellor two years ago, a trauma specialist using EMDR.
The EMDR helped me, but the Releasing helped me take another step forward; to reconnect with my body and find my voice. I used to be physically unable to move and often unable to speak when experiencing flashbacks. I am calmer and less overwhelmed on a day-to-day basis, and my sleep pattern has improved. I feel more alert and more able to connect and interact with people. It is like waking up and coming out of a fog; the world seems brighter. It also helped me whilst making a significant career change. I’d been stuck in my job for nine years, burning out after the first two but still battling on. For the first time, I’m choosing myself.
Physically I have hypermobile joints, which required surgery on my knee which subsequently caused my lower back to become unstable. The pain and stiffness have definitely eased somewhat since I started Releasing. I was suffering regular headaches and reflux, both of which have reduced. I also suffer from vaginismus because of the assaults I suffered (yet another taboo subject) but I’m hopeful the practice will help with that too – only time will tell.
Although there were males in the group, with Caroline’s reassurance that I was safe helped me through. Even when difficult memories came up, I still felt better overall. All I want to say is that I thought things could never get better and that I was an unfixable freak. But, I gave the TRE a chance because I’d got nothing to lose and gained a valuable tool to help me take control of my future.’