When I was young I did some really terrible things. I’m now a mum and I’m scared when my children are older someone will tell them about my dodgy past
I had a very troubled few years from my teens through to my late 20s. I had very little self-respect, I allowed myself to be used and abused by many people from a bad crowd, I took hard drugs and caused my family so much agony.
I really struggled with life and finding somewhere to fit in.
Eventually, after hitting rock bottom and with the support of my family and a couple of wonderful friends, I managed to come away from that dark side of life.
I’m now married to a wonderful man who accepts my past and we have two great children, and life is, in the main, very beautiful.
My problem is, when I lie down at night, my head is plagued with all the terrible things I did and it really makes my heart ache. I feel like I want to scream sometimes.
I have had counselling and it helps at the time, but my past is always simmering in the background.
My children are babies at the moment, but I’m scared that when they’re older, someone will mention my failings to them and the thought of this terrifies me.
When I tell my mum or friends how I feel, they tell me how proud they are of me and how far I’ve come.
On a good day, I do know this is true, but on a bad day my past overwhelms me and I feel worthless, and not worthy of the life I now have.
How can I let go of the agony?
You have proved you’re strong and resilient, and your experience is so valuable as a parent.
When they’re older, your kids will go through challenging times in their life and what better parent to have than someone who’s faced difficult times and come through the other side?
Teenagers love to tell their parents they “don’t understand”. Well you do understand – you know that life isn’t perfect. And even if a child has a parent with a fairy-tale past, it doesn’t mean they won’t grow up and have problems.
At night, it’s pretty normal to go over things that have happened that day and in life generally.
A practical way of calming down this overthinking is to stick your headphones on and try listening to a meditation or relaxation app – my kids all use the Calm app, but there are loads of different ones out there to help you de-stress.
Don’t be ashamed of your past – remind yourself of how amazing you are.
You’re a survivor and you deserve everything you have. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today.
I think with counselling you have the chance to really open up and face the worst stuff. It can take a lot of time, but therapists are very good at knowing when to stop.
It’s not a quick fix – it’s a collaborative thing – but you’re in a good place, so perhaps it’s time to revisit it. Be proud and good luck.