Solace really helped me a great deal when I was in a dark place. After being abused I felt worthless as I had hit rock bottom. I harboured on negative thoughts relating to my experience and decided enough was enough, it couldn’t go on and I needed to heal, which I knew would take time. It took me a lot of courage to approach Solace but I was so glad I did as they provided assistance to help me recover. They dealt with me in strict confidence and I was able to build up my trust and talk to someone knowing I will not be judged, as abuse can happen to anyone. The talking therapy sessions, meditations and many other factors have helped me become the stronger person I have become today. I also enjoyed the interaction with other service users as I realised I was not alone in my experience and sharing my story made me feel I had nothing to be ashamed of.

A huge part of my recovery was exercise and in particular running. I found running to be very therapeutic and I could destress this way which really helped. I slowly built up my training and was running about four times a week. I started with a couch to 5k program then did a local parkrun. COVID hit in 2020 and I still kept up with the running and exercise during lockdown. It went from there and I was addicted, I did 10ks and then I ran my first half marathon in 2021 which should have been in 2020 but was cancelled because of COVID. I loved running and enjoyed the races as I had made new friends and the runner medals were an achievement. I bought a medal holder which I had fixed to my wall to display all my various running medals. It boosted my confidence and I really enjoyed it, I looked and felt better and it was great for my mental wellbeing to. I was feeling happier and was getting my life back to normal. I also was promoted at work which is something I thought would take longer but deep down I know I had worked for it and felt like I was worth something and I was now on the right path.

I decided to apply to run the London marathon for Solace as I had built up my training and was running longer runs and also it way my way to give something back in terms of fundraising as Solace had helped me so much. The fundraising helped me promote the work Solace does and raise awareness of the issues surrounding women. I joined my local running club and had a lot of support and made friends with other charity runners. The fundraising team at Solace also gave me much needed support to.  I built up the mileage in my training program and also worked on the fundraising to.  It was a day I will never forget and to pass through the finish line on The Mall, it was such an achievement for me, my first marathon, I couldn’t stop smiling. The memory will live me forever.

It’s been six years since I first approached Solace and feel like I’m a changed person. Thank you, Solace, for helping me on the road to recovery, I have learnt to love myself again now and I feel more confident than I ever have done in my life. Recovery is the best revenge and I’m a stronger fighter and survivor.

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