‘I’m a survivor. But it’s hard to remember that when I’ve been face-down on a hospital bed with a team of nurses attempting to sedate me.
That’s what happens when I’m in a hospital and I experience a visceral, full-body flashback to the abuse I suffered, aged 13, at a co-ed boarding school. I relive being raped, burned by cigarettes and washing blood off in the bath while my attackers looked on.
I stopped eating and, after losing 10kg, I was pulled out of school. But the mental and physical scars continued to haunt me. Aged 15, I was diagnosed with PTSD.
Therapy helped; antipsychotic medication didn’t. I’ve been treated in standard outpatient units. I’ve also been sectioned and spent subsequent days in an empty white room.
Despite everything I’ve been through, I’m determined not to be a victim of my attackers, or of our healthcare system – though I believe it’s totally ill-equipped to support those who have experienced acute trauma.
Instead of waiting around to receive the care I need, I lace up my trainers and run. I’m doing three marathons in the next 12 months. Each one represents one of my attackers – who have never been brought to justice
– and every mile I run, I’ll overcome a small part of my pain.’
‘Every mile I run, I overcome a small part of my pain’