“It is through that brokenness that we find courage and strength. It is what empowers us to do great things.”

K. S. Ruff

In deciding to once again mark the anniversary of the ‘end’ of the abuse I experienced (April 20th but I thought I’d put this post up now), I knew I’d set myself a challenge because with I’m NOT Disordered now being over eleven years old(!), there has been ample amount of time to have created and published numerous posts about the abuse. Which, for thinking about this post, had me asking myself: ‘will there even be any angles left that I haven’t written from?!’ And, when I searched ‘abuse’ in my post archive, I wasn’t at all surprised – and felt completely validated – to see an enormous list of blog posts of various points of view, using different approaches, and with numerous inspirations! As I scanned through them and found myself developing thoughts, feelings, and opinions on each, I finally thought of the idea for this post… I’m going to start with a few tips on how to cope with reading about abuse (for obvious reasons!), and then I’ve chosen the four abuse posts I remember most, and I’ve picked them apart – talked through my favourite bits, parts I’d like to change, any differences between their publication date and today, and things I’ve learnt from the posts…


So, I thought I’d do things chronologically in starting with the oldest post I’ve chosen as one of the five most memorable posts about abuse…

So, I have three small points before the largest factor with this blog post:

1.       The post is shorter than I can imagine it would be if I were to write it now… In fact, this is almost proven in a blog post I published five years after this one; where I went into a lot more depth from a similar angle on a similar kind of theme: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REPORTING ABUSE | MY JOURNEY THROUGH THE PROCESS, ADVICE, & HELPFUL RESOURCES | I'm NOT Disordered (imnotdisordered.co.uk)

2.       The way I used images in this post in adding these picturesque photos of a reservoir near my home was really inspired by my ultimate role model: Victoria Magrath and the layout and the way she uses images in her blog posts on www.inthefrow.com. And, actually, looking back on that, it’s something I still do but really only for posts around visiting somewhere and I think I’ll consider doing it for other posts too…

3.        The overall message toward the end of this blog post was about recognising that now I had reported the abuse, if he were to do it again to someone else, I would hold no accountability or feel any level of responsibility. Talking to the Police meant I now feel I’ve done everything in my power to protect others – it’s on the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Now for the memorable bit… So, this post was basically me discussing (in a brief fashion compared to more recent blog posts – but I’ll talk about that more in a minute!) my experience of reporting the abuse I had experienced. I started the post talking about the psychiatric hospital inpatient I’d met on my second admission, and how she had encouraged and inspired me to finally report the abuse over two years after it had ‘finished.’ Then I went on to talk about how it felt when – after I had to answer ‘gruelling’ questions to create my statement – my abuser claimed to be innocent. I admitted it was ‘devastating.’ I remember this being a difficult bit to write because on the one hand I obviously really wanted to reassure and encourage others to report what they had gone through, but I didn’t want to mince my words or not be sincere. I recognised that if I failed to be honest and open and my words did the trick and someone reported abuse, but then felt completely unprepared to experience a sense of devastation, I would feel a huge sense of responsibility. I think this was because even at that point – just four years into my blogging career – I prided myself on being honest and open; and it was to such a degree that it became a quality people very regularly recognised and praised me for.

Despite all the amazing feedback on my honesty I’d received in the four years prior to this post, and despite how much I absolutely appreciated and was honoured to receive those comments; I had never received an email like the one I did after this post… A girl emailed (my email is primarily for organisations, but I’ll respond to individuals where appropriate and possible) me within days of this post and told me that she had also experienced sexual abuse, but hers was at the hands of a relative. She proceeded to tell me that she had been reading I’m NOT Disordered since Day One, but that she had never felt a piece of content really truly spoke to her until this one. She told me that just a couple of hours after reading the post, she had reported her abuse to the Police. She said that whilst she had felt she was on the brink of doing so for the past few months, my blog post was just what she needed to overcome the last few doubts and reluctancies she had going around her head and preventing her from making the call. She said she had actually taken it as a sign and that after reading how I had overcome all the challenges that came with reporting abuse; like having to give a very detailed statement, it had instilled a sense of reassurance and bravery in her. She explained that so many people and services promote talking to the Police, but they never really share or consider the negative difficulties that come from doing so, and that this absence of honesty gives the impression that there’s no real help or support because no one recognises the challenges. Which, in turn, means that no advice is offered to face and defy the challenges that – because there’s no information out there about them – you might have built up yourself and catastrophised them in your head.

 To round off her email, the reader added the most amazing news; that due to my honesty, advice, encouragement, reassurance, and confidence she had called the Police and reported the abuse she’d experienced when she’d been a lot younger. Fortunately, upon arresting and questioning the family member who had hurt this girl, he actually admitted to everything and confessed his guilt and responsibility for everything! And I found myself crying my eyes out when I read that bit of her email! In all honesty, the majority of my tears were of happiness and relief for her because, due to my abuser claiming to be innocent, I recognised that her abuser’s admission of guilt would mean she wouldn’t have to go through the huge process I had to do because it was necessary because we had to put more effort in to try to prove everything regardless of his denial. Obviously, with that all being said, I had to contend with some – probably and hopefully – natural thoughts and feelings of jealousy and frustration because I hadn’t been so… Fortunate, I guess is the right word? But then how can anything regarding abuse be fortunate? Well, it’s definitely not ‘lucky’ either… You get what I mean though!

The news from the reader got better too! After pleading guilty, the man was sentenced to a lengthy and completely justifiable prison time – something which is sadly too rare or far too inadequate, in so many sexual abuse and rape cases. Now, I hope this doesn’t sound too… Dramatic; but I think that due to my own experiences, I recognise that this man being jailed might have saved others – those separate to the reader who emailed me. And this thought – the thought my blog post could have had such a powerful and incredible ripple-effect in genuinely and literally changing the lives of others; started a whole new struggle for me. I’ve talked about why I care about my reader count so much (if you’ve not read about that; it’s mostly because having so many readers means I have a better chance of helping someone and that it can result in me being offered some incredible opportunities), but I something I’ve not really discussed in connection with that is me feeling unworthy of the size of I’m NOT Disordered’s audience. And so, this instance of my blog post having such a big impact was a huge reminder of this; it left me wondering how my words could be so powerful. I mean, were they actually good enough to do this?

Then, inspired by those thoughts and feelings of being unworthy of any sort of achievement or success in life – not just my blogging career – I felt that I also became faced with a lot of pressure after this response to the blog post. I found myself unable to find a way through the thought process or belief that I now needed to maintain these standards – that all my subsequent posts now had higher expectations to match. I needed to help more people and in larger ways. Luckily though, over the years of trying to cope with that pressure, I have managed to turn it on its head and look at it as though it’s productive rather than negative. I think about how it felt to have helped someone in that way and use it as motivation to help more people. It’s as though it’s given me even better intentions in my blogging, and I’d like to think that’s showing because my reader count has obviously dramatically risen since then.



So, when I read this post back there were like one million and one things, I picked up on that I both liked and thought I should have done differently.

Firstly, you might have noticed that I like to start blog posts off with a good, relevant, and thought-provoking quote. I think they make the perfect kind of introduction to a post and are a brilliant way of introducing readers to the theme of the piece and what to expect in reading it. It also makes the post almost immediately relatable and can be a really good way for readers to somewhat identify with the topic the blog post will be covering. And, looking at this blog post, I’m sure there’d be thousands of quotes or lyrics that would be appropriate and applicable to it, and it almost feels like a shame to feel I’ve missed the opportunity to utilize those.

However, I did actually, really like the beginning – or the introduction – to this blog post so that might almost make up for the fact that I didn’t do a quote…? I mean, I feel like the beginning (pictured below) was really effective and quite a unique way to have begun the post and this made is attention-grabbing and is probably one reason why it was an incredibly popular post – especially at that time in I’m NOT Disordered’s statistics and in my blogging career in general…

The other part of the post that I would have changed was the part where I talked about how if someone were to discuss this combination of topics (sex, rape, and sexual abuse) it can very easily lead to the person being deemed as ‘unprofessional’ or ‘crude.’ I still stand by that immensely; in fact, the change I’d actually want to make is to have discussed that bit even more (which, I did somewhat do in a subsequent post a few years later: WHY RAPE & SEXUAL ABUSE ARE SO TABOO | I'm NOT Disordered (imnotdisordered.co.uk))! I just especially have thoughts on the ‘unprofessional’ bit; but the number of thoughts to do with that might be because since this post (in 2017), my blogging career has obviously improved quite a bit and so, perhaps the bits I’m thinking about that I would add are actually reasonably new/recent.

I mean, I’d have wanted to talk a bit about how being a ‘Blogger’ is massively now steeped in assumptions and pre-conceived notions… I was recently talking to someone and said that there have been so many instances where – when someone has asked me what I do for work, and I’ve told them about my blog – I’ve been asked whether I earn a lot from doing that! We talked about the recognition that people typically wouldn’t do that to someone who said they were a Doctor or a Teacher; so, what makes it acceptable and understandable to ask it of a Blogger?! And so, I wonder whether people would also have preconceived notions regarding what is ‘professional’ or typical and acceptable for a Blogger to blog about.

The final bit I’d have changed was that at the end of the blog post, I wrote, ‘no one talks about this stuff! I have nothing to refer to for advice or ideas…’ and looking at this now, surely that was the perfect lead into me then reeling off some advice?! I guess though at that point (just four years into my blogging career) I didn’t feel totally qualified or confident in doing that? Then, that makes me consider what has changed to now be at a point where I give advice in almost every single blog post I create and publish! I think I’d put this change down to the increase in the size of I’m NOT Disordered’s audience and how this has really bolstered my confidence (in so many ways)!

Finally, another part I really liked in this post, was when I wrote: ‘If I lose out on ‘work’ opportunities through this post but help one person talk about their own feelings on one of these things then it was worth it.’ A huge reason why I still love that bit is because it’s still, so incredibly true(!) because despite my gratitude and sheer and pure enjoyment of my blogging career and of creating and running I’m NOT Disordered specifically; I would absolutely risk it all to help others. This is something I’m extremely proud of because there was a time in my mental health journey when I would completely agree if someone were to say that I was selfish. I had a massive habit of doing something – mostly to myself – and then if I was asked why I would blame someone else; I’d say, “I only did that because he said this.” I took no responsibility for my actions because I worried what the consequences or implications would be if I were to do so and, in all honesty, I genuinely just couldn’t appreciate why the way in which I coped with what someone else had said or done to me, was my fault. And I think this was because of the abuse. Because so many people told me not to feel guilty for it and that I wasn’t responsible or to blame in any way, and I think this confused my thoughts, feelings, and opinions on responsibility, consequences, guilt, and everything in between!



The first note I want to make about this post, is how much I love the lyrics I chose to use from the song Stay by Rihanna (the part I used is pictured below) at the very beginning. They’re a prime example of what I was literally just saying earlier when I hadn’t included lyrics, or a quote and I worried it made the post less relatable and not intriguing because I feel like seeing a quote or song lyrics can lead people to curiously click the link to read the blog post because they wonder how it’s relevant. Also, in seeing these lyrics, I was reminded of the song because I’d completely forgotten about it! Even though I’d loved it for so long and used the lyrics several times on my blog and in social media posts.

Next, I liked that I set this blog post up as being split into sections with each having a header about the angle or slant that will be discussed in the section. Interestingly (or, at least, I think it’s interesting!), just three months later, I published a similar piece: A GUIDE TO THE AFTERMATH OF ABUSE | I'm NOT Disordered (imnotdisordered.co.uk) and I actually combined the two aspects I’ve just discussed by splitting the sections in that post with quotes relevant to the content of the following section, rather than a straight-forward – and arguably, predictable – header. However, in another post (HOW THE ABUSE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE | I'm NOT Disordered (imnotdisordered.co.uk)) of a similar theme, but two years later, I used the regular headings layout for the sections in the post.

Now, the positive thing these three posts have in common is that by having sections, I feel like I was a lot more regulated and restricted in terms of the length of each blog post. I think this was because I recognized that it would look strange to have really long sections – like the point of dividing things up in this way is to be more structured and measurable – and also because there were some sections when I didn’t have a whole lot to write about them and some that I did, and I didn’t want them to be too uneven or unbalanced.

This aspect of these posts has understandably left me considering the content I put up these days and thinking about how I utilize sections and headings in more recent blog posts. More importantly though, it also left me really thinking about the length of my content – it’s something I actually really noticed in looking back through the archives of posts about abuse; they used to be perhaps one or two pages long at the very most. Now, however; well just the other day I had to create a poll on Twitter because a blog post I have been writing had reached over FIFTEEN pages!!! And yes, that’s a record for me/I’m NOT Disordered. So, I posted a poll asking followers whether to publish it all in one post, split it into one post per week for around five weeks, or publish one post per day for five days (if you’re wondering, the unanimous winner was to publish them over five days!).

Something that strikes me about this though, is that in the early years of I’m NOT Disordered, I obviously hadn’t exactly built up much of a relationship with my readers – not least because that takes time; but also, because I was yet to experience a really strong passion or a sense of purpose from my blogging career. I mean, I wouldn’t have even branded it a ‘career’ at that point either. Now though, having the huge audience that I/my blog has, and recognizing that I wouldn’t being offered incredible opportunities without all those people; I’d like to think that I really show respect, appreciation, and consideration for them. I care what they think, and I allocate a level of importance and meaning to their opinions, hence that Twitter poll.

So, I think that in putting some thought into this, maybe I need to work a bit harder at finding a happy medium in the length of my content...? I’ve always felt that having a level or some sense of consistency in the blogging industry can be really important and prove to be quite a special quality for a blogger or online influencer to have. However, with my blog’s focus obviously on mental health, it’s quite a changeable area that will almost predictably lead to a level of difficulty in establishing stability and regularity in whatever way.

Finally for this blog post on the reality of life after abuse, I really liked the part below the second to last heading of; ‘Letting go of the anger…’ From the moment mental health staff found out I had been abused; I feel like they’ve just outright drowned me in their own thoughts and opinions around anger! I mean, even when I haven’t been expressing anger right then; I’d always get the comment ‘it’s completely understandable that what happened to you makes you angry…’ Not only is that condescending and patronizing as though my thoughts and emotions are almost being assumed. Or that I’m thought to be so predictable. Or that my response to the abuse is being dictated to me, because if I don’t feel angry when they’ve almost said that I should be, it leaves me feeling like something is wrong with me for not thinking or being that way. But it was also inappropriate because it was totally irrelevant. I mean, if I’m not even expressing anger at that moment, why bring it up?!

Then, however, when I did show my anger – whether that be through self-harm or by being uncooperative (in so many ways) with professionals – those same mental health staff were saying “you shouldn’t be angry about what happened to you.” Again, dictating my feelings and leaving me feeling like the odd one out because I thought that surely, they knew what they were talking about. It also left me feeling alone and completely unsupported by professionals because I felt that I couldn’t talk to them about my anger, and this was something I really needed to do… I mean, I’ve said before but, in the past, when I would self-harm, I realized that if I didn’t focus on anything in particular then it would be superficial (I hate that term, but medically I need to use it). If I thought of the person who abused me though, I’d end up needing surgery! And I think that this really illustrates and perfectly demonstrates just how powerful and overwhelming the anger that I DID have was! I think it’s also evidence that being able to talk about my anger to professionals was actually a really important act for my safety as well as for my mental and emotional wellbeing.

The other response from professionals to my anger was round about six or seven years after the abuse when – on a few occasions and from various staff – the remark was made “why are you still so angry?” And this 100% was never a genuine question, it wasn’t as though they were trying to figure out what I was thinking so that they could help and support me with it. So, I think it’s completely fair and reasonable for me to have taken this comment as dismissive, invalidating, and, in all honesty, a bit argumentative and stand-offish – which strikes me as slightly ironic when you think about the fact that they were already talking about anger!

Fortunately, these past few years I have finally gained some insight into my anger and started to really recognize that it wasn’t doing me any favors(!) – if anything, I think that it was making my mental health worse! It’s as I said in the blog post; ‘it was tearing me apart and then eating me alive. I had to let it go before it killed me.’ And I think a hugely contributing factor in this change of mindset and thought process, came from the recognition that whilst I fully believed he deserves my anger, I definitely don’t deserve to be feeling it!



My absolute favourite part of creating this post was doing some research (I totally understand if someone feels it sounds lame and boring to hear that I enjoy doing research, but the reason I love it was because it meant I was able to include advice – particularly around the NHS’s key signs of abuse to look out for (which was under the heading ‘how did everyone miss it?’). And the reason this meant so much was because only my Mum (who thought that something was wrong when I began taking lengthy showers straight from coming home from the place I was abused) recognised the signs I was being abused. But, in all honesty, it was my abuser’s colleagues (who I saw so often) who I believe should have really noticed and spoken up.

I think that I feel that way so passionately is because when some of his colleagues were interviewed by the Police, their comments ranged from; “I didn’t see it, but I can believe it happened” to “I did wonder…” And in an effort to continue to be open, honest, and transparent, I will say that their comments and statements were like a red flag to a bull – I was furious! I felt so let-down, uncared for, dismissed, and I basically just thought that I had been completely failed, in such a way that I’d rather they had just completely denied noticing anything! For me, that would have been a whole lot easier to face because I feel like they really just admitted to not caring about me, failing to guard my safety, and being totally disrespectful of me. And those thoughts and feelings were powerful because I felt like my abuser was already doing all those things; I didn’t need anyone else adding to it!

Alongside the signs of abuse, I also added sources of information (my particular favourite being when I included the link for the self-defence movements that Health Line teach) and then I also put contact information help and support (where my favourite bit of that was when I talked about the five ways to stay safe if you’re feeling suicidal). In addition to these little bits and to the heading about everyone missing the signs, I also really liked the sections with the headers being ‘will people care whether I fought back?’ and ‘why didn’t I tell them sooner?’ And I think that these two are so important to me because they both speak of so many thoughts and feelings that I can still massively identify with.

In the section on me questioning if those who hear of the abuse will judge me or hold particular opinions against me if they were told that I hadn’t fought back, I mostly talked about my opinions of those people who do have that mindset. I wrote that I felt if you hadn’t fought back some people might see that as a sign that there was no real force and so it brings into question whether it was consensual or not. As though, if you really didn’t want it to happen, you are expected to kick and bite and punch and scream! And, actually, this really lends itself to the other header I liked about why I hadn’t told someone what was happening sooner. Because, when I did report the abuse two years later, I was faced with questions from the Police and mental health professionals, around if it had been so wrong and was so upsetting for me, then surely, I should have reported it straight away!


My favourite part in all the blog posts on abuse was from:

EVERYTHING I WANT MY ABUSER TO KNOW | I'm NOT Disordered (imnotdisordered.co.uk)

Finally, I wanted to finish by telling you that the success of I’m NOT Disordered and all the opportunities it has afforded me will never overpower what you have done to me. But it has taught me that there’s a reason why I survived it all. There’s a point. I have a purpose. ‘

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