Hi mixed-up-mum, re the freedom programme, it is a group thing, we have 10-15 ladies at ours. My dv support worker (through local council, attached to WA) recommended it and put my name forward. I was put on a waiting list though because they are so popular (sad isn’t it) and had to wait about 6 months for mine. Maybe you can look up your local council’s pages for domestic violence and someone there should know if there is a group near you. If you have a dv support worker, they will know too. It’s based on Pat Craven’s book Living with a Dominator (which is good, I would recommend it) and each week they deal with a different topic. Last week’s session was about the bully which was a perfect start because my husband is one. I too am usually shy and stuck for words with strangers but I am determined to make the most of this so I forced myself to open up, speak out and ask questions. The ladies all have different stories to tell which is helpful (for me at least). The course is free. If you find one I’m sure you can ask for a place yourself without anyone recommending you for it.

Re the counselling, mine is through my GP and it’s on the NHS. I went to see my dr a couple of months ago because I was suffering from severe anxiety causing me physical symptoms. They recommended counselling and gave me a number for the counselling service. I had a telephone evaluation and they offered me some sessions but again I had to be put on a waiting list for a place but it only took 2 months so not bad. Different areas may have shorter or longer waiting times though. My counselling is CBT which I specifically asked for because I think it will help me more than a talking therapy. Go and see your GP and ask them if you feel it would be useful for you.

Another bit of good news to share with you all. I got a call yesterday from a housing provider offering me a flat!!! It’s the one we really wanted so I am so pleased. When I told my son, he hugged me and said he was so happy and he can’t wait. It’s not a done deal yet, still got to go through the paperwork and go to the viewing but I will definitely take it. It will be ready in a few weeks so between now and then I am going to be brutal with my stuff and throw away anything I don’t need so it’s easier to move. I am getting quietly excited, our new lives will soon begin. I was so glad to see the back of last year, it was the worst year of my life, but this year means new beginnings and hopefully better times.

Now all I need is to persuade my son to return to school for the last few months….

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