Looking back upon this year I can safely say that I, as a person, have come a very long way since September. In some ways I feel as though I am a different person to the one who left Bournemouth to return back to Cambridge at the beginning of last summer. I feel relaxed, comfortable in my own skin and a million times happier. I feel as though I have achieved and overcome things that I didn’t think was ever even possible.I can say this year has been one hell of a roller coaster!

Some of the people who know me personally will know that since September I have battled through trying to prosecute the person who sexually abused me from the age of 6 up until I was 19 years old. As part of this I have battled exhaustion, depression and anxiety. I still have days when the anxiety and depression appear into my life but I am coming out the other side of it and learning how to deal with it. I wasn’t able to hear the guilty verdict I was hoping to hear but the person who abused me did confess the things he did to me to several other people before taking his own life.

I also ‘came out’ to all of my friends and family after hiding the fact that I’m gay. I have also found the most amazing girlfriend, partner, fiance, best friend in Katie-Jo – who happened to be my housemate last year, that I could ever ask for. Ever since I confided in her about the sexual abuse last year she has been a rock for me. She’s been supportive, encouraging, thoughtful, loving, kind, caring, everything I could have possibly needed. I really couldn’t ask for anything more from her, she really is the better half of me. I really believe that without her I wouldn’t have found it in me to tell my parents about the sexual abuse I had been through or gone to the police last September. I really can’t wait for the rest of our future together and I know that after the year we have had and the things we have faced together we can face anything together.

It’s crazy to think that my second and final year on my foundation degree course in Bournemouth is complete especially after contemplating leaving several times. It’s crazy to think in a month I will be leaving the place that has been a home, an escape, and one hell of an adventure. I have learnt so much from the people I have met in Bournemouth, I know there are people I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life and there are others who will stay with this chapter of it but they have all helped to make it a very special time of my life.

While this year has quite possibly been one of the hardest I have ever faced with the video interviews, counselling, exhaustion, depression, anxiety and flashbacks I can safely say that I have come out of the other side of it all.

I am really looking forward to moving to Cardiff with my better half and starting the next chapter of our lives together. Lets hope the next year is a better one.

What a journey!

– Stacey xo

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