At Chayn, we know how it is to feel like something is not quite right with how we feel. When we go through tough times like being manipulated, coerced or abused by the people who are supposed to respect and take care of us, our wellbeing suffers.
Let’s talk about mental health, and feeling better. This guide has been written by survivors of abuse from around the world, their friends and family. We’ve also spoken to some therapists but this guide isn’t medical advice.
We want to break down complex mental health terms that are often heard and misused, help you understand what you’re going through, what helped others in your position and how to get out of feeling at your worst.
If you’re facing abuse and manipulation in any of your relationships (check this guide if you’re not sure!), how you feel and how you behave can change a lot. You might start to feel different about other people, your relationships with them and even how you feel about yourself. You may feel that you are not so sure about who you are anymore. It can be a feeling of confusion, of being surprised at yourself for doing things that you would never do or for thinking things that you would never think, or it can be a feeling that something inside you has changed.
When we live with abuse, having these feelings and thoughts can start to become the “new normal” and, like any major life event, experiencing abuse has an impact on who we are as a person.
But let’s get one thing straight - this doesn’t mean that we are broken or damaged at all, even if that is what you feel like at this moment.
As survivors, we sometimes feel annoyed or embarrassed, we even feel shame around the fact that someone had chosen to hurt us. In life, we can often not control what happens, especially not what other people do to us. We can control our reaction and even if we have been feeling unwell for a long time, with a little help, we can make a change to get better.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” - Maya Angelou
Though it may not feel like it sometimes, just like emotions rise up, they too must fall down. These feelings don’t have to be permanent. Sometimes the feeling of shame may be holding us back from asking for help or the fear that no one would understand us. Your experiences and feelings are valid. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. In this guide we’ll show you:
How to understand what you are feeling
How to recognise that these feelings are a product of the abuse you have experienced
How to get effective help to cope with your symptoms
Steps you can take to help yourself, and access support services designed to provide help for you
It can be overwhelming to make the steps to increase your safety and to get better. Feel free to give yourself permission to ask for support! If you you would like more info on how to get help, you will find it ready in the next part of the guide.
“You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you are coming out the other side.” - Chinese Proverb
By the way, we also have a course on how to cope with stress, click here to read!
Disclaimer: This guide has not been put together by mental health professionals. It is not intended to be medical advice. It has been crowdsourced by survivors and volunteers of Chayn. Care has been taken in reflecting the experiences and knowledge of people around the world, including therapists but information in this guide should be taken instead of certified medical advice. Please seek professional support.