From Pain Comes Strength
I still remember the night … its almost as if I am watching it from above now…
Looking down at myself sleeping, just wanting to scream wake up and get out…
Then all of a sudden, I am back in the room… his hands holding my ankles around him so gently. I can still feel it now…
And that’s when the confusion hits, that moment you wake up… and realise what’s going on, even if you don’t understand why.
I jumped up, smacking him to get off, this was a friend, I couldn’t understand.
I remember shouting and asking “what are you doing?”
I wasn’t angry, I was confused and hurt and he couldn’t look at me… he just sat there at the end of the bed looking at the floor…almost childlike.
I was so confused.
What was going on?
Why cant he look at me, I’m disgusting.
That was the first moment, I felt that… disgusting.
I run out the house and it was a blur, I didn’t want to go to the police.
I didn’t want to get him in trouble, what would people think of him, or me.
It may sound crazy to those who haven’t been there, but when its someone you know, someone who should be trusted, you want to protect them, almost guilty that you could ruin their life.
I remember sitting in the station, and that realisation hit that he had taken my socks off, I was 18, no one see my feet …
I was fixated on that… it was almost clarification that this wasn’t a dream, he had my socks. This did happen.
No one tells you how to deal with things like this, the police, the tests, all the questions.. the trauma… and up until recently I never really considered it as trauma myself.
I was lucky, “it could have been worse”.
That sentence stopped me from healing, it stopped me from accepting what happened and the hurt, shame, and guilt I felt because of it.
So there I was … having to carry on, pretending I was ok because I see the hurt in my family when it happened, I couldn’t hurt them again.
I put on a brave face and carried on.
What they didn’t know is that I made a lot of mistakes from then, getting involved in an abusive relationship…the pressure and hurt kept piling on.
I started drinking and drugs followed, trying to mask the pain.
Confident Chelsea on the surface, a mess underneath.
I would drag myself out to work, I actually had an amazing job and I would be standing on the platform waiting for the train to come in and that little voice would creep in….
“Just step out, you wont hurt any more”
They say that suicide is a selfish act…what about the people you leave behind.
Let me tell you something in that moment… feeling that pain. You don’t think of anyone else…
I have a wonderful family who are truly my world… and all I could think about was stopping hurting… they never come into it.
Luckily I never stepped off, no matter how many times I heard that voice.
It all changed when I fell pregnant, I had purpose. The smoking, drink and drugs stopped without a second thought.
I created a life I wanted, building a family, a home, a career…
It was perfect… on the outside.
On the inside… all that stuff I had buried… bubbling underneath.
It started showing up as anxiety and OCD… this secret person behind the scenes…
One who had to ring her mum back and tell her she loved her 6 times, if not she would die.
Or checking the doors 30/40 times to make sure they are locked… even going to bed and laying there saying ‘you know they are locked’
‘You’ve checked it...Arrragghh ok, lets just go and make sure just in case I’m getting confused’
It was exhausting, but what was more exhausting was having to hide that side of me.
What if someone found out, I am crazy, I would lose my children…. Cue anxiety melt down.
So I would put on the mask every day, so much so that I stopped taking it off…
Day by day losing more of me, being just Mum to my precious babies.
Which is a role I love of course… they are my greatest achievements.
But I was a person behind that mask, and that person was hurt.
In 2016, I got into personal development and stumbled across coaching and NLP. I had no idea what it was but I was intrigued.
To be honest, I was fascinated, talking about patterns of behaviour, how we can control the way we think and feel.
I needed more, so I booked onto the full course.
Two days before the course, I messaged the facilitator (who was actually a good friend of mine), and explained that I didn't think it's for me.
My anxiety was through the roof, I was ready to run and hide.
He told me that I would make the numbers odd if I didn't come... (at the time I didn't realise what he was doing, see I would let myself down in a heartbeat but I couldn't let any one else down).
So I attended... 1 of 12 other attendees.
One of the most scariest things in my life was walking through that door.
Well, until the next most scariest thing…I was told we had to stand up and introduce ourselves for 45 seconds...
It was a simple task.. your name, what you do and what you want to get from the course.
I watched the others get up, most were coaches, so natural, so powerful and then there was me, feeling like I was going to die.
It was my turn... I felt so sick.
I was shaking and crying while still trying to talk... at 20 seconds I asked how long was left.... I wanted to die.
I didn’t of course… and it ended up being one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done.
It might have been powerful but it wasn’t easy, it took everything to return to that course every single day…
But I had decided to stop running.
I decided it was now or never… I was taking back control.
And I did…
Within two months I was standing on a stage speaking to 250 people
And a few months after that…
I stood on stage at Bolton Football Stadium speaking to 1000 women
about sexual abuse.
That moment will live with me forever, a standing ovation of 1000
women is hard to forget.
It was at that moment I knew this was exactly who I was supposed to be.
Someone prepared to stand there and show just how much strength there is in vulnerability.
Someone who is prepared to be the voice of others until the find their own.
That is my strength.
And I adore what I do… even grateful for the journey I have had.
I get to help others believe in themselves again
I help them fight through the pain of their past
I help them drop the guilt and shame so they can create the life they want.
The life they deserve.
Don’t let something you didn’t ask for dictate how you show up in the world every day.
Its time to stop running, its time to find your strength… and its time to take back control. because you deserve to live as your most authentic self.
You’ve got this!