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Set free from guilt and shame

Valeria life has been an emotional roller-coaster. Now 23 years old she suffers with mental health problems which have been demonstrated through some unusual behaviour - mid-conversation she would seem to disappear, become unresponsive and stare into space.

She became an orphan aged 14 when her mum died but life was far from wonderful before this. Her mum was an alcoholic and her step-father an abuser. A brother (17 years older than herself) made her steal as a child - he is now a drug addict. A string of adverse childhood experiences (aces) has made her life hard from the offset).

When her mum was ill, she said to Valeria,"When I die, you will blame yourself. You will blame yourself because it'll be your fault that I die."Valeria still feels deep pain about her childhood and carries a lot of guilt for her mum's death because she didn't stop her from drinking. Valeria goes to Yan and Nadya's support group and Nadya explained to Valeria that “You can only return to your parents what they have given to you and since your mum hasn't given anything, you have nothing to return.”

Nadya says she's still very much living in her past so when Savely died (also from her support group), it brought up a lot of emotions for Valeria. While watching ‘Ben Hur’ in the final scene, someone says, 'Don't look back, only look ahead.' Nadya turned to Valeria and said 'That's for you' which reduced Valeria to floods of tears.

Valeria is changing and she is now much calmer. She still has strong emotions but now she is sometimes able to ground herself and keep them in control. Unfortunately, trauma doesn’t just disappear. Valeria is a small girl and earlier this year, her mental health was suffering again. She stopped eating and quickly lost five kilograms. Although she was scared of returning to a psychiatrist, with Nadya's encouragement she went back to get the monitoring and medications she needs. She was very weak so Yan and Nadya drove her to appointments and cooked for her making sure she was eating.

Through this extra care, Yan and Nadya discovered that the bedsit Valeria had been ashamed of, contained little more than a coffee table and a microwave. They were able to begin improving her living arrangements by getting her a fridge and more furniture.

There are bumps in the road but overall the path ahead is getting brighter with every step. You might have read in a previous email the wonderful news Valeria became a Christian and was baptised earlier this year.

We’re so thankful for Yan and Nadya and all they do for young people who have been so hurt. Please pray for the healing of Valeria’s mental health and for a future filled with goodness.


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