How bibliotherapy helped me to deal with trauma by Lucia Osborne-Crowley

When I was 15 years old, I was raped by a stranger who held a knife to my throat in a dusty lavatory stall. I thought he was going to kill me. Some days, I wish he had.

I didn’t tell anyone what had happened. I took myself home, cleaned myself up, waited for the bruises to heal and pretended it had never happened. I didn’t whisper a word of it to anyone for 11 years.

The experience had been coiled inside me for so long, it had turned rotten. Toxic. I know now that if I had asked for help as a teenager, I could have exorcised this trauma from my body. I wouldn’t still be carrying it with me. But I didn’t, because I couldn’t. Because women are taught to be quiet about their suffering. Because women are taught to be invisible.

Then, in 2018, I became so sick, I couldn’t function. In the 10 years after I was attacked, I developed Crohn’s disease and endometriosis. I was in excruciating abdominal pain, in and out of hospital, and I had to take sick leave from a job I loved but couldn’t handle. After years and years of trying to obey my instructions, of trying to just get on with it, my body fell apart.

Click here to read more on The Times.