Mary accessed support from one of our Client Support Officers, during this periods she decided to opt for a course of complementary therapies. After a course of therapies she reported improved physical and mental health, wellbeing and pain reduction. Her therapist reported observing improvement in both her physical and mental health and on her outlook in relation to her health. By the end of treatment Mary had signed up for the Hands on Health programme.
Initially she was extremely anxious about starting the programme. At her initial assessment she stated that she wasn’t managing her health well and was only engaging in some community activities/services. After completing her life balance wheel, she set goals around improving her mental and emotional health and improving her family relationships.
On the first week of the programme Mary’s confidence grid indicated low or very low confidence in many areas and again she set goals indicating areas where she would like to see increased confidence.
As the weeks progressed huge difference were noticed in Mary, in terms of her confidence and anxiety levels. Towards the end of the course participants are asked to complete an on the difference they notice in themselves, a group member, support worker and family member/friend also have input. Comments in that order are:
“I feel more at ease and more confident that I can handle my stress well. I am easily cycling for 20 minutes a day 2 – 3 times per week. I have cut down on sugar in my diet. I feel more open to learning”
“I have noticed a big difference from the very first day at our course until now. Mary should be so proud of herself, she is an absolute credit to herself, the way in which she has changed is amazing. I have the utmost admiration for her, going from being very, very quiet and sometimes angry person to becoming that very calm and lovely girl. She is a great person and I think this group has benefited her massively”
“I have noticed a difference in Mary, she comes in with a smile on her face and it is so nice to see the difference and how much more confident and relaxed she looks”
“More confident, less tearful about difficult subjects. Holding head up high instead of down. Confident body language instead of cowed and defensive. Made great progress”
Mary now feels much more confident and in control of her health and her life. She has joined the peer support group, has undertaken CBT at MAF, is exercising regularly and has recently taken up a volunteering opportunity within a library. She is also accessing I.T. and is considering a college course.
Firstly I would like to say as a Survivor that I did not think that I would be able to ever tell my story about what I went through as a child. The Moira Anderson Foundation has given me the strength and confidence to reveal what has and somtimes still is a Taboo subject.
While I had been off my work with depression, my Doctor suggested that I attend and get counselling from an Occupational Therapist, to try and find out the reason for my condition, after a few sessions we got to the root of the problem, I had been Sexually Abused as a child, this is when I got information about the Moira Anderson Foundation.
After initially getting up the courage to actually make the phone call to inquire about the Foundation, I was put at ease with whom I now regard as a friend Maria, she explained about what happens there and how it is all staged at the speed that I would like to go, so I made an appointment to take the plunge and tell my story. That first day was so nerve racking because you can only imagine what to expect as you had never been to one of these places before. I arrived at the door and eventually rang the doorbell, was greeted by Maria with a great big smile on her face and she invited me in, she put me at ease straight away and showed me to the quiet room for a few minutes just to try and relax, it was in the quiet room that I read Moira’s Blanket of Love, and I relate to what was written, and said that there was not a truer word said. Maria took me through all that would happen during the counselling sessions when I got to see the counsellor, she was a great help to me in the initial period.
Guilt is the biggest and hardest hurdle to get over you just can’t get it out of your head because you think that you were the person that did all the wrongdoing and don’t realise that you were the innocent one but I overcame this guilt through Jeanette my counsellor, she made me realise that the person who had done this to me was wrong and that with me being so young could not be to blame, so after about 3 sessions I began to understand what Jeanette was telling me and trusting myself to actually believe in myself and place the blame on the other person. I thought that I would have taken this part of my childhood to my grave, but with the help of Maria, Jeanette and everyone at the Moira Anderson Foundation I now feel like a new person with everything that these people have done for me, and the foundation will always have a big place in my heart.
Jane was referred to MAF by Women’s Aid. She began her journey with a support appointment quickly followed by complementary therapy sessions, she was also placed on the waiting list for Person Centred Counselling. Jane eventually progressed to the Hands on Health 12 week self-management programme.
At initial consultation for complementary therapy Jane reported suffering from PTSD, anxiety, mental fatigue, stress, insomnia, exhaustion and muscular-skeletal problems. After a course of treatment Jane reported improved mental health, reduction in her pain levels, improved sleep pattern and felt more in control of her health. She reported a positive impact on 7 out of 8 self-esteem indicators when an evaluation was undertaken. She said “treatments had been fantastic for her” and indicated an interest in attending classes/groups where she could learn self-help techniques.
Following on from the Hands on Health course, Jane reported improved physical, mental and emotional health, increased confidence and happiness. She felt more in control of/more able to manage her health and her condition.
Prior to starting the Hands on Health, Jane was very anxious going out, had to have someone with her and didn’t engage with any community services/activities. Since attending the programme her social confidence increased enabling her to make decisions for herself, go out to shops on her own and participate in family/community activities.
Course Facilitator; “I feel there has been a huge transformation in Jane. When I first met her at the beginning of the programme she was very anxious, had very low self-esteem and a poor self-image. She now seems so much more confident, is more able to make decisions and has taken many positive steps to manage and improve her health and wellbeing. She reports having more positive days without steep fluctuations. She is much happier with herself, is more active and more confident and enjoying meeting new people. She now takes time to relax which she previously found difficult, she is taking regular exercise, eating healthier and sleeping better.”
Jane described her life prior to the Hands on Health programme as “train wreck, disorganised chaos, like a washing machine with trainers inside banging around the drum on a full spin”. She says after completing the course “the results are amazing I really do like what I see in the mirror, I can look forward for the first time in a long time and I do want to go forward. I use the new skills and techniques every day now and I already feel more happy and confident going about my daily life”.
“I feel I’m finally going to be free of the bad place for good and I am enjoying living on the brighter side of life”.
Comment from Family Member; “Jane has improved on not only her self-confidence but her overall wellbeing and overall outlook on life. She relaxes more at home and no longer allows negative incidents to consume her. I can see a significant difference in how she sees herself “confident, sympathetic, happy, caring and so much more”
What do you do when your child, who is under three, discloses that her Father has been sexually abusing her? Where do you go? Who do you turn to? That was my reality.
Your world turns upside down, you feel very isolated and helpless. People think that once your child tells you about the abuse everything will be fine because the abuse will stop, however it is just the beginning of a long journey to recovery. You have to find appropriate help for your child, deal with your own emotions and more often than not are then involved in part of a lengthy ongoing court case.
I was very fortunate to be informed about MAF (Moira Anderson Foundation) through the Victim Information and Advice Office. MAF became a lifeline for my family and myself.
The Foundation offers distressed families friendly, professional support. The staff are non judgmental and are welcoming, making contact a less daunting experience.
My youngest child, who had been abused, received play therapy at the Foundation and I used to phone or pop in whenever I needed that listening ear. My older children also received counseling, which to my knowledge is a service that is exclusive to the Foundation. The older children although had not suffered the abuse, they still went through a traumatic time, dealing with their sister’s abuse and court appearances, all at a crucial time of their high school education. They both went on to gain Hons Degrees, one in Law the other in Sculpture. Without the support from the Foundation I dread to think how they would have coped, especially as they found it difficult to talk to me, as they knew how much pressure I was under.
Another service that the Foundation offered, which I gladly accepted was having a member of staff with me at court. I couldn’t have coped with the stress of court if it had not been for having that friendly face with me, throughout the years of court appearances giving me confidence and support.
Since my daughter’s disclosure, I have recommended MAF to other survivors of child sex abuse knowing that the service they provide offer crucial support and an expertise in child sex abuse that many agencies don’t.
Because of the friendly ethos of MAF my daughter never thought twice about going to her play therapy sessions, for her she was going to “the white house” as she called it, to play and see friends.
I can’t thank the foundation enough as it has been noted by other professional agencies that my daughter’s recovery has been so successful due to the immediate intervention of therapy, which was not available at the time through the NHS as the waiting lists are so long.
I have three beautiful children. My little girl is now nearly ten years old and is doing brilliantly well. We are a close family, who has been able to develop and cope with what has gone on in our lives thanks to MAF giving us their most valuable support.
There you stand nervously outside the door, tiny beads of perspiration trickle down your spine, your hand are shaking, YOU WILL yourself to ring the bell.
The sound of footsteps gets louder as they finally reach their destination, the door opens.
Instantly you feel the invisible presence of warmth encapsulating your very being, wrapping you up in a blanket made from fibres of the heart.
Compassion, love and trust are the intricate threads woven throughout providing you with an overwhelming feeling of safety.
And as you wait for your coffee, the blanket continues to work its magic as the threads embrace you over and over.
Like the waves of the sea washing over you dispelling all thoughts of fear and doubt.
Suddenly you are aware of a caring smiling face in front of you reaching out to you, guiding you to step forward to your safe haven where tears may be shed onto your wounds to aid their healing and laughter to ease the sadness behind your eyes.
At the end of the session the blanket tightens its grip holding you secure.
You say your goodbyes until next week.
Feeling safe in the warmth of Moira’s Blanket of Love.