Mind control for healing

Accelerating healing with your mind

When you break a bone you go to hospital to get it fixed. But the hospital doesn’t fix the bone. They set it straight so that when your brain fixes it, it’s not crooked. If you have multiple injuries, that broken bone will be slower to heal.

So if you can accept that your brain fixes bones and if you accept that something can slow that process down, then you have to accept that it is possible to accelerate the healing.

Your subconscious keeps your body functioning without you needing to give it any thought. Your heart pumps oxygen around your body in your blood. Your lungs take in the oxygen when you breathe. You don’t have to think to breathe. But if you choose to, you can consciously take control of your breathing and speed it up or slow it down.

You can’t, however, hold your breath until you die. Your brain won’t let you. (please don’t try this!)

It keeps you safe and well to the best of its ability, at all times.

When you get a cold, the streaming nose is not caused by the cold, it’s caused by your body fighting the cold.

Have you noticed how a headache is worse if you are in a quiet room with no distractions? For those that suffer with chronic conditions like IBS or Chronic Fatigue, you will notice that stress makes it worse. If something can be made worse by environmental conditions, it can also be made better.

What does this all mean?

If we can accept that the mind is capable of healing, automatically, without any intervention from us, then surely we must also accept that with the right intervention we can have an impact on a healing process.

When the brain is damaged through accident, or a stroke, you can relearn how to do stuff using different parts of your brain. This is called neuroplasticity. Your brain physically grows and reinforces neural pathways as you learn, and other parts of your brain disappear as they become unused.

We can utilise this Neuroplasticity effect to make permanent changes to the mind body relationship.

The problem is that this is all too abstract.

Whilst it can be easy to accept the concepts of the mind body connection, it can be a little trickier to make deliberate changes without any sort of communication interface.

Visualisation is the language of the brain.

The answer is actually quite simple. We turn the abstract concept of a thought into something more tangible, through visualisation and metaphors.

For all of time, songs and stories have carried important lessons in life far more effectively than simple instructions around actions and consequences. From Aesop’s Fables to the Bible, stories are used to make lessons easier to absorb.

If you want to deliberately change your body, you need to talk to your mind in a language it understands.

Let’s go back to the example of bones healing.

For a moment, I want you to take a deep breath.

How did you go about that? Did you instruct your brain to send a signal through the spine to the nerves and muscles that inflate your lungs? How did you know when to stop?

It is likely that you didn’t think about anything technical. If you did, you undoubtedly would have missed a load of stuff that happens to allow you to take a breath.

Now, I want you to imagine your lungs are like balloons, or an inflatable object. As you take a breath, imagine the object inflating. That works just that same as deciding to breath in.

Your brain will execute on your visualisation automatically.

Now let’s go to the broken bone again. There is a complex automatic process to heal a bone. The key to accelerating a process is constant repetition of your visualisation. This is impossible if you are trying to remember a set of complex steps. So what would be a real world visualisation of bones being healed? Little men filling it in with plaster? Papier Mache? Something else?

Once you have worked out your visualisation, you just need to spend a few minutes every day repeating that visualisation. Again and again, on a loop, you should play it. It should be no longer than a few seconds and it should be very simple, otherwise you won’t send a clear message to your brain. Every day, for a few minutes a day, you repeat the visualisation. And you brain will act on it.

Ok so now let’s make another leap.

Hayfever is a nightmare for many people. It stops them enjoying nice weather.

Hayfever is a miscalculation by the brain. It interprets a grain of pollen as a threat and launches a defence. This is where the streaming nose and eyes come from – your body fighting off the ‘virus’. If you can find a way to communicate with your brain, you can tell it to treat pollen in the same way as it treats the other grains of dust that it filters harmlessly. No defence is activated and the symptoms of Hayfever disappear.

This approach to visualisation can be used on anything, from pain, to muscle tears, to running up steep hills. If you find a way to communicate with your mind, anything is possible.

If you want my help with visualisations for physical issues, just drop an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com

Why you might never be the weight you were

I have explained many times that the brain controls your size. not an equation based on calories consumed versus calories burnt.

Metabolism is the single biggest factor controlling weight gain and loss. Your subconscious is a control room, that constantly monitors your environment, both internally and externally, and adjusts your metabolism accordingly.

If you are on a diet, it equates it to a period of famine, and adjusts your metabolism to extract all the nutrition it can from everything you eat. It uses this nutrition to fuel your activities.

If you are overeating it equates it to a period of feast and adjusts your metabolism to re-stock your body’s reserves – taking nutrition from the food and storing it.

If your environment is potentially unsafe, it uses cortisol to distribute the fat to be close to key organs in your body, around your middle. This will mean if you suddenly need to run away then you have a source of energy easily and rapidly available.

Metabolic Threshold

Of course, these days, an unsafe environment is not about tigers round every corner. It’s about those things that cause you stress and anxiety. Many people learn from an abusive childhood that their environment is unsafe and so stay in a perpetual state of not being safe. Many people also learn to override their natural mind/body connection during childhood, when they learn to feel bad about how they look.

This means your subconscious is constantly adjusting your metabolism. Adjustments go up and down around a set point.

Think of this like a thermostat on your heating. It’s set at a certain temperature based on your preferences. If someone opens a door, it cools off and the heating comes on to bring it back up to temperature. If it is too warm, the heating won’t come on.

The difference with your Metabolic Threshold is that the temperature dial for your metabolism works more like a rain meter than a thermostat.

When it rains, the rain gauge fills up. The marker moves up to the peak level. As the water lever drops, the marker remains.

You metabolic threshold is established the same way.

It is initially set during childhood, like you would set up the dial on a thermostat.

Then, as life events take over, and your subconscious adjusts your metabolism to cope, your metabolic threshold gets nudged up.

Every time you reach a settling in period, you are moving up and down around the new threshold.

A prolonged period of being overweight, also increases your metabolic threshold.

 

So whilst your metabolic threshold can move up, nothing naturally moves it down

This is a natural process, which is why activities such as dieting etc rarely make a permanent difference to your size. Your subconscious is sat in a control room, monitoring and adjusting on a constant basis.

So what?

I work with a lot of clients. In our work together we let the subconscious know that their environment is safe. This allows them to change their relationship with food, exercise and themselves.

However, we do not adjust the metabolic threshold in this work. Even though everything in their life changes, they often don’t get all the way back to a size that they used to be many years ago.

This can be frustrating.

When everything is right, including the way you feel about yourself, but the weight won’t shift – then you need to look to your metabolic threshold

There is good news though. Weight is not actually the major factor in healthiness and life expectancy.

0-4 on the bottom line of the chart represent the number of healthy habits a person has (Chart nicked from Sandra Aamodt, a Neuroscientist who did this brilliant TED talk)

  • Eat more fruit and veg
  • do more exercise
  • drink less
  • don’t smoke.

So what this chart shows is the relationship between weight and life expectancy (left hand line).

If there are zero healthy habits, weight significantly reduces life expectancy. But at the other extreme, with 4 of the healthy habits, all weight categories have the same life expectancy.

What this means is, if you can get your subconscious out of the way, so you can make healthy choices in your life, and if you can get to a place where you are happy with who you are, then your weight is irrelevant

I’m working on ways to get your subconscious to lower your metabolic threshold. Until then, if you want to get your subconscious to back off so you can choose to take on more of those healthy habits, give me a shout dawn@Thinkitchangeit.com 

Do you have a secret identity?

Do you have a secret identity?

Is the person you are at work simply an actor, hiding the true you?

This is way more common than you might realise. Many people have different personas – or parts. There is version of you at work. There is the version of you that is a friend. There is the version of you that becomes a child when you are around your parents again.

For some people, this different persona becomes key to their survival. It covers for an inner version of themselves that they feel is broken.

This inner part has often had a difficult childhood, or a significant traumatic experience. If that part were to stand up and do a presentation, they would be terrified. And so you develop another part of you; a confident, outgoing part, and the secret identity is born.

And like a superhero and their ordinary self, no one has any idea that they are the same person.

Disguises work really well.

You can do anything when in a mask; when that part of you is in control.

The problem is when you go home, and you’re on your own. Then the other part comes out. The unhappy part. The insecure part. And sometimes, you have a glass of wine to just switch off. And a glass turns into two or three. Or you eat. Or smoke dope. Or do something stronger. Because you don’t like spending time with the non-superhero version of you.

And to make it worse, every moment you are waiting to be unmasked – sure someone will work out your secret identity one day.

What you don’t realise, is that we are all made up of different personas. There is no one true version of you

The work version of you will always be different from the home version. You will always be different with your friends than you are on your own.

Everyone is like this.

So instead of judging yourself for not being some imaginary together, balanced and happy person, recognise that there are different parts present in different situations.

The trick is to get the parts that are overly protective to back off, or change their behaviour, or even work together with the forward moving parts.

Nothing needs to be the way it’s always been. I can help you be happier with being you. I can help you to get the different personas to work together, so that you don’t have to worry so much about people discovering your secret identity.

3 signs you have Impostor Syndrome

impostor
ɪmˈpɒstə/
noun
plural noun: imposters
a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain.

Impostor Syndrome is where you believe you are not good enough to be doing what you do. It is a feeling that you do not belong. It is a constant worry that one day someone is going to call you out as not knowing enough to do your job and you will get fired.

Sign 1: When you do a presentation you worry that people will realise you know nothing

There are lots of reasons that people get scared of standing up in front of a room full of people. Some worry about making a fool of themselves. Some worry about being laughed at. Someone with Impostor Syndrome worries that someone in the room will know more than them. They will worry about being asked a question they can’t answer. They will worry about being ‘found out’. As a result of these worries, a person with Impostor Syndrome will avoid putting themselves in any position where they are treated as an expert in their field.

Sign 2: You get annoyed at people who are successful when they clearly know less than you

Just because a person doesn’t believe they are good enough, doesn’t automatically make everybody around them better. A person with Impostor Syndrome will have an ongoing internal dialogue which is a combination of angry and frustrated. They will find all the reasons why they should be in the position of the ‘successful’ person. Yet they would never openly question anyone else. In meetings they will never speak up or disagree, but rather wait and have a private one-to-one with a friend after and tell them all the things the ‘expert’ was wrong about.

Sign 3: You believe you are going to be fired every time you have a performance review (appraisal)

It’s frustrating to manage someone with Impostor Syndrome. When you manage anyone, you balance praise with constructive, developmental feedback. In an appraisal, a decent manager will try and identify the things that allow their team member to grow. Someone with Impostor Syndrome will not hear it that way. They will hear it as criticism and be caught by surprise when their overall rating is very good. They will spend days (or longer!) obsessing over the constructive feedback, trying to find hidden meaning.

Of course none of these things are true. What you don’t realise is that everyone is screwed up. No one feels good enough. The reason you don’t realise this is that you believe you can read minds.

If you put 10 people in a room, every one of them worries what everyone thinks about them, but none of them can read minds

We all live in our own reality. You have no idea what is going on in anyone else’s head. What you can know, is that it’s not about you – it’s all about them. We are innately selfish as we can only know our own reality.

So if you suffer from Impostor Syndrome remember this:

  1. You can’t read minds
  2. Everyone is screwed up (everyone has a subconscious in charge at least 90% of the time, trying to protect them from invisible sabre-toothed tiger)
  3. Nobody cares about you. Everyone is caught up in her own world so they really aren’t thinking about you.
  4. You can’t time travel. There are no ‘do-overs’ which means that you are always going to do your best. To suggest anything else would mean you had hindsight, which you don’t

And if it’s really starting to get in the way of your life, give me a shout. I can help.

dawn@thinkitchangeit.com

Diary of a Teenage Mind Reader

Being a teenager is tough. Being a teenager has always been tough.

These days Social Media makes it more accessible to pick on someone, and expands the reach of who sees it – but at the end of the day, it’s still bullying. It’s still making people feel bad about themselves. There have always been bullies. And there always will be. It’s in our programming to worry about fitting in. It’s in our programming to want to appear good at what we do.

Most of that programming is in error. It’s a miscalculation by the subconscious about a meaning that something has.

Our subconscious is building a rule book as we grow up. This rule book is then followed once we become adults and are (technically) responsible for our own well being.

The problem is, the rule book is based on a primitive idea of what will hurt us. It is based on the Caveman definition of hurt.

  1. If you don’t fit in then you can’t survive. True as a caveman. Not true today. In fact, nobody can read minds, and everyone is screwed up because we all have a subconscious in charge 90% of the time, following stupid rules. You don’t need to fit it.
  2. If something hurts you, it’s equivalent to physical hurt. Stay away from being hurt. So if you’re no good at exams, or sport, or you don’t look as skinny as everyone else, you feel you are weak and inadequate. In the Caveman days, the weak didn’t survive. Not true today. We all have different skills and capabilities.
  3. If you disappoint your parents, then they will not love you and if they don’t love you, then you can’t possibly survive. Of course that’s not true. It’s ridiculous. Besides, love and behaviour have nothing to do with each other.

The problem is, the issues we face as teenagers often continue right through our adult life. The clients I see often have issues that go back to those first few years in high school.

What if we could counter these miscalculations? What if we could teach our teens (and tweens) that everyone is different, and no one knows what anyone else is thinking? What if we could teach them that they are the best version of themselves they could possibly be?

In Diary of a Teenage Mind Reader, we follow a week in Emma’s life.

Emma is having a difficult week. She’s got a maths exam looming and her teacher hates her. Her best friend is too caught up with her boyfriend to help her. She has no other friends to talk to, and to top it all off, two total strangers have started sending her WhatsApp messages that she’s actually starting to listen to.

In this fiction novel, based on the principles in “The Caveman Rules of Survival” ,  we follow Emma, a 15 year old girl, as she learns how to navigate online trolling, best friends, boyfriends and family.

This book is perfect as a gift for Teens and Tweens, to help them deal with the normal struggles of growing up. It is also perfect for adults!

Although it’s just out, it has already had 5   reviews.  Here are some of them:

It’s available on Kindle and in paperback, and will shortly be available as an audio book.

Get your copy here

How to make sure you’re NOT beach body ready

Can you do this for the rest of your life? This thing you are doing to get ready for the summer.

If the answer is no, then at some point, when you stop doing this thing, you will put the weight back on, and some.

What will you do next year – the same thing? Or when you have a wedding to go to. Or some other event.

Do you really want to spend the rest of your life either doing this, or feeling guilty for not doing this?

When you’ve lost weight in the past, have you kept it off? Or have you put it all back on? Have you put back on more weight than you’ve lost?

Maybe there is another way.

Maybe there is a permanent way.

A way that involves small, achievable steps to permanent change.

This is not about eating the right things. I’m pretty sure you are an expert on the nutritional content of all the food you eat.

This is not about exercising more. You know what you need to do to lose weight.

This is not about willpower. If we are so  in control of our choices, no one would every struggle with their weight. (Why not take the quiz and find out about your willpower)

This is about your subconscious having a reason for keeping the weight on.

If this was a conscious choice you wouldn’t be reading this post.

If this was a conscious choice you would be happy with how you looked when you put clothes on.

If this was a conscious choice you would look at yourself in the mirror and be happy because it wouldn’t matter what other people thought.

If this was a conscious choice you would get down to the gym and make sure you didn’t get out of breath climbing stairs and going up hills.

This is not about the choices you make. It’s about the subconscious choices that are outside of your control.

If you have a little time, watch this video on how the subconscious controls weight

Maybe it’s time to change your approach. Maybe it’s time to gain the freedom to choose who you want to be – permanently

Click here to take the Freedom to Change coaching programme and start your journey to permanent change today. Enter the code “PermanentChange” at checkout to get a massive 25% discount on the course.

I love you even if…

We all have a need to be loved and liked. It’s in our genes. When a baby animal is born, if it doesn’t bond with its mother, it will die.

Our subconscious believes that we should behave in a way that ensures we are loved. As a result, it constantly monitors our behaviour, and the behaviour of those around us, as we grow.

It is looking for lessons.

Lessons about how we can change our behaviour to ensure we are loved. For example:

  1. You break your mothers favourite vase and she shouts at you. You are loved less because she shouts at you.
  2. Your dad works offshore and whenever he comes home, he brings you a different type of cake. He loves you more because he gives you cake.
  3. Your mother never showed you affection when you were growing up. This must be because you were not worthy of affection. You tried to make her happy but nothing worked.
  4. Your mother cut your hair short because she couldn’t manage to look after it. You really didn’t want it cut short. She must not love you if she didn’t listen to what you wanted.
  5. Every time you went to the dentist with your dad, he bought you a treat afterwards for being good. That treat is because he loves you.

Love and behaviour are not connected.

Your subconscious is wrong.

If a parent/grandparent loved you, they loved you no matter how you behaved. If they didn’t love you, they didn’t love you no matter how you behaved. Love and behaviour are not connected

The most consistent belief that my clients share is that they are unlovable or unlikable as a result of how they behaved.

If you are a parent, you will know that there is nothing your kids can do to stop you loving them (you may not like them very much sometimes!)

Equally, you would hate to think that they your kids interpreted anything you did as meaning you don’t love them. After all, we’re all human so most of what we do is not rational and well thought out. It’s reactive. It’s us doing the best we can in the moment.

Overcoming programming.

So if it’s part of our genetic programming, what can we do about it?

As a parent you probably tell your kid(s) you love them all the time. Very often this is still what I call “event based”. There are certain times where you are more likely to tell them you love them, like bedtime, or when you are saying goodbye, or when you are making up after an argument.

This reinforces the belief in the subconscious that love is linked to stuff.

What we need to do is break the connection between being loved and events.

I love you even if…

We are all unique.
We each interpret the moments in our lives in a way that is unique to us. We can never know which moments are treated as significant by our subconscious

But…
…As parents we CAN change the interpretation of these moments.
We can break the connection between moments and meaning

How?
Simple…you use the phrase “I Love You Even if…”

This phrase stops love and behaviour being connected.

For example:

I love you even if…

…you are grumpy

…you have ketchup on your face

…you do a smelly fart

…you shout at me

…I shout at you

This is a fun game you can play with your kids.

The idea is you take it in turns to complete the sentence “I love you even if…” make sure you mix it up between serious stuff and silly stuff.

You can even do it in the middle of a tantrum. Yelling “I love you even if you’re having a tantrum”, really messes things up!

Eventually, the subconscious can’t possibly associate meaning with anything that happens.

What if it’s too late?

As an adult it’s a bit tricky. The rule book has already been written and you can’t change your own subconscious, because being in your subconscious means your brain is switched off. You need a guide for that and I can help (dawn@thinkitchangeit.com)

Why I say yes

We’ve all got a voice in our heads. Actually we’ve got more than one. Some you are consciously aware of :

“That person doesn’t like me”

“They  think I look fat and ugly”

“I always mess everything up”

Some you aren’t aware of:

“Eat that chocolate because it will make you feel better”

“Don’t do that task because if you do it and it doesn’t work out it will mean you are a failure”

I have always had lots of negative voices in my head. In fact, it’s probably fair to say I’ve never had a positive voice. Not one that I have heard anyway.

I have felt useless, unlikable and inadequate in comparison with pretty much everyone else.

If I had ever believed these voices, I would never have left the house. When I went to Uni at 18 years old I had a choice: take the pills in the bottle in front of me or, ignore them and build a life. I took the latter choice. I reinvented myself. I tucked the insecure, unlikable person away and kept them well hidden.

Fake it until you make it

I was massively successful. I got a good degree. I progressed rapidly in my job until I ended up working in a senior management position on a 6 figure salary.

I had a wonderful home and family.

Everything was great. For the outside me.

The inside me was just as unhappy as ever. The inside me just wanted to die.

I learnt, over all those years, not to listen to those voices.

The first time I stood in front in front of a room full of people and delivered a presentation, I was terrified. The voices were strong. I was nervous.

Everyone filled in a post course survey and rated me as 5 stars. They said I was entertaining and explained things well.

Fancy that. They couldn’t see the inside me. Only I knew about that version of me.

Over the last 6 years, since I first started seeing Trevor Silvester, the founder of Cognitive Hypnotherapy, the voices have become quieter. The inner me no longer wants to die. The outer me has moments of genuine happiness.

But the voices haven’t gone.

I compare myself to speakers and authors and therapists who appear to be doing everything I want to do and the voices tell me I am not good enough and will never achieve what I want.

I worry that what I am not impacting clients in the way I think. I see them for 2-3 sessions and never see them again. Maybe I’m deluding myself that I’m actually helping people?

I have all the same doubts and limiting beliefs as everyone does. The difference is that I don’t believe them.

I don’t hold off organising a course because I am worried about whether people want to do it.

I don’t hold off writing a book because I worry that no one will read it.

I don’t avoid talks because I think no one would listen to what I say.

In fact, the opposite is true.

No matter what the voices say, I say yes and I do it.

The more I worry, the more I ignore the voices and go ahead regardless.

So next time someone asks you to do something, maybe you should turn the volume down on those voices and just say yes. You never know where it’s going to lead.

Power in your hands

The guy who cleans the windows on my house is also a fireman.  He’s read my book, and we often talk about business.

A while ago I learnt a trick where you can reduce anxiety by squeezing the middle two fingers of a hand.

I told him about this, thinking it might be useful for when he attended traffic incidents and needed a simple way to easily calm down injured and shaken people.

I thought nothing more of it until our conversation today.

He is going for promotion and had to attend a fairly intimidating interview.

He was asked a particular question and found himself panicking and unable to think. He remembered my trick and squeezed his fingers. He said he calmed down instantly and was able to answer the question well enough to notice the interviewer putting a tick in the box.

So next time you need a quick way to calm down, why don’t you try it?

5 lessons from taking my abuser to court

**Trigger warning** This article is about child abuse. Please don’t read if you thing it might trigger you

I picked up the phone and called the NSPCC. “I want to report a case of historical abuse” I said. I was terrified. I had been shaking for days just thinking about making that phonecall.

For years I had wanted to do this. I didn’t even know if he was still alive. What I was almost positive about was that he’d abused others. What I was really worried about was that he still was, and would be in the future.

But up until a few years ago, I couldn’t even tell anyone what had happened, let alone publicly admit it. I always felt guilty for that. When I blogged about my Cognitive Hypnotherapy journey, I never said what had happened. Although most people could read between the lines and guess.

But I’ve come a long way in the last few years.

I was ready.

In May 2015 I travelled to North Wales for a trial that I was told would last 2-3 days. It spanned 4 days in the end. It was the culmination of 2 years of hell as the police gathered evidence, submitted through the CPS, got court dates and moved things forward.

He was found Not Guilty.

No one expected that. He even turned up in court, on the day of the verdict, with a large suitcase.

I had failed in everything I set out to achieve. It was not high enough profile to get publicity. Nobody except him knew what went on in court. He is free to continue whatever he wants to do, unchecked and un-monitored.

It was a horrendous process, but I changed a lot because of it – often, believe it or not, in a good way. I would like to share with you 5 key lessons I learnt from taking him to court.

1. It takes a lot for an abuse case to get to court.

Most of the 2 years was spent waiting.

Waiting to find out if they would progress with the case.

Did they have enough evidence? How could they possibly take someone to court on my word alone?

I initially gave a verbal interview where the police officer took notes. It was then passed to a specialist unit and they said I could have done a video interview that would be played in court so I wouldn’t have to read out my statement. A way better option it seemed! So I travelled to Wales and spent 3 hours re-living every painful detail while being questioned, on video.  It was horrendous, but possible, thanks to all my help from Cognitive Hypnotherapist, Trevor Silvester.

I thought that was going to be the worst part, but I didn’t realise that I would have to watch the video, in court, with the jury and judge watching the video and me. One of the worst experiences of my life!

I did a written statement interview, a video interview and answered a number of follow up questions.

I did it alone. My mother’s friend, who I originally told about the abuse, refused to give the police any statement.

My mother, who knew all about it but had never believed me, did not corroborate my story.

And yet, the CPS accepted it as a case based on my evidence. The CPS prosecuting barrister reckoned it was a very solid case with over 90% certainty of a guilty verdict.

It took 2 years to get to court and had to go through many checks to make sure there was enough to work on.

So now, when I watch TV and here about high profile people in court for abuse, what I know is that it doesn’t happen lightly. It takes a *lot* for a case like this to get to court.

2. We need a better jury system.

Before I went to court I met with the CPS barrister and the police officer who was leading my case. They talked to me about behaviour while I was on the stand.

They said that although the barrister was asking me questions, I should answer to the jury. I should make eye contact with the jury and speak to them. They said there are usually a couple of jurors that will engage with you.

I wasn’t worried about this. I am used to talking to audiences and picking someone out to connect with.

My trial took place the same week as a major drugs trial. There were armed police all round court. It was quite dramatic. That trial got first dibs on the jurors as it was scheduled to last at least 8 weeks – way longer than usual.

My trial was delayed because my jurors were what was left after the drugs trial had its pick.

Of the 12 jurors, 10 were about student age. Over the few days, every single day at least one of them slept in and the start of the day was significantly delayed.

The jury was bored and indifferent through the trial. They had to listen to some pretty harrowing stuff but seemed totally indifferent to it. I managed to only make eye contact with 1 juror – a middle aged lady. The others were looking down and some were even yawning.

How are these people supposed to make a ruling in a case such as this? How are they supposed to separate evidence from subjective opinion? How are they supposed to know what abuse is?

In my opinion, a jury should have a court official that helps them with interpretation of evidence and statements during their discussion point. Or we need a more American system where a jury is selected. It is supposed to be a cross section of your peers. My juror was far from that.

It is because of this particular make up of the jury that he was found Not Guilty. Everyone was certain. Even the judge suggested he was guilty in the summing up. The police officer could barely bring herself to tell me the result. No one could believe it. But it was the jury’s choice.

3. I was believed.

In the early days, after I reported it, I was amazed that the police interviewed me. I always questioned the truth of my story, even though I lived with the memories and their impact every day. When they submitted to the CPS for approval to take it to court, I was sure it wouldn’t be accepted.

I was ready to not be believed. Again.

When it got to court I was stunned, and thrilled. They believed what I said. For the first time I had spoken out and been believed.

By the time I got to court I no longer needed any validation of my story. I knew how much I’d had to go through to get that far. I realised court was just a technicality. Everyone was just doing their job.

In the end, the defence barrister was pretty clever. He used a minor molestation situation with my grandfather (something that has caused me no problems in later life). He asked the jury to believe that it was actually my grandfather that had done all those horrible things, not my abuser. The jury didn’t have to say it didn’t happen (my evidence would have made that impossible) they just had to say it wasn’t him.

And the only person who could have proved that to be incorrect, my mother, chose not to show up in court for me.

I came out of the trial knowing I was believed for the first time in my life. And for the first time in my life I felt sorry for what the younger version of me had been through.

4. Your story does not have to haunt you forever.

I have carried my story in my head for many years. It plays over and over again. It was almost like it need to be told. It pushed against the edges of my mind. It became more graphic and detailed as I learnt more. It gained depth and meaning.

When I told it in court, in all it’s horrific detail, it let the story out.

Other stuff from my childhood, stuff described by prosecution and defence as horrific, added to the depth of the story.

But after the trial, the story no longer served a purpose. It had been told.

And because of the Not Guilty verdict, I could fully let it go.

If it had been Guilty, I would have used my story to help others. I would have lived it again and again each time I told it.

But now it’s on a shelf and not in my head. I don’t need to add anything to it or ever need to read it again.

It is possible to be free of your story, no matter what happened.

5. I have the best friends.

When I went to Wales to record the video, my friend came with me, just to keep me company. She was brilliant. She asked nothing of me. She just was there for me. She wandered round for hours while I was in with the police.

She came with me again when I visited court a week before to see how things would work. Due to the nature of the case, I had special measures. I had a screen so he couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see him. I was kept in a special private room in between appearances so there was no chance of bumping into him.

Another friend, who has 3 kids, came down with me for the week of the trial. She stayed with me while I sat in a private room and watched the video of my testimony. She sat through the rest of the trial and told me what he said and what happened.

Another friend, who I only know online, attended his initial plea court appearance and then sat through the whole trial, giving me feedback on what was said. She even attended the day of the verdict when I had to head back home, because the trial had overrun and gave me the verdict before the police.

Another who lives all the way down the south of England, and I haven’t seen for many years, offered to leave her daughter with her granny and come with me to court.

If wealth is measured in friendship and the people around you, I am by far the richest person alive.

From my hubby, to my real life friends, to my virtual friends, everyone was phenomenally supportive. I often found myself in tears from the depth of support and love I felt

And so…

It was, by a million miles, one of the hardest things I have done in my life. I wanted to be the voice for others he’d abused, because I could be. I wanted to save others from his abuse in the future. Because the verdict was Not Guilty, it meant that I achieved nothing I set out to achieve.

I should have been permanently damaged by the experience.

But the opposite was true.

I was freed up by the experience.

I stood up for myself and others.

I was believed.

I was loved.

I am free of my story.