Category Archives: David’s Personal Experiences

On Being Suicidal (or Why I Carried a Rope in a Bag around London for 3 Months).


I carried a rope in a bag around London with me, every day, for 3 months.


You might well ask.

Was I a master of the Indian Rope Trick, ready to give my performance at the drop of a hat (or, indeed, turban) perhaps?

Not quite.

How I might look performing Indian Rope Trick.

I had booked into a squalid B and B in London’s Earl’s Court where I was to remain, subsisting mainly on whisky, cigarettes and bags of crisps, for 3 months.

Prior to booking in, I had visited a B and Q store to purchase a rope. I had selected it with meticulous attention to detail : not too long, not too short. Not too thick (it needed to be pliable enough to tie an effective noose) and not too thin (it needed to hold my – at this time in my life – not inconsiderable weight).

My intention was, on the first day of booking into the B and B, or, at the latest, the second, to get extremely drunk so that I would have enough courage (in contrast to what some believe, suicide attempts are not a ‘coward’s way out’ – they actually take tremendous courage) to hang myself.

But then came the practicalities of actually finding somewhere suitable to attach the other end of the rope (ie the end which would not be wound around my neck). I knew the drop would have to be sufficiently long to break my spinal cord, thus severing its connection to the brain and fatally depriving it of oxygen. If the drop was too short, I knew that I would face death by slow strangulation. Thanks very much for the offer – but, no thanks.

Everyday I would go to a nearby pub (my rope secreted in my bag) and plan to carry out my final, decisive task in a nearby park under cover of darkness from a suitable tree that very night. Despite carrying out my reconnaicense work, I could never find a suitable tree. The ones with high enough and strong enough branches were impossible to climb (in retrospect, should I also have purchased a ladder and masqueraded as a window cleaner?)

I suppose, had I been absolutely determined to end it all, I would have found a way to accomplish it. But I convinced myself that the only reason I was not getting round to it was purely that I could not locate a suitable place to do it. I did not have the motivation to travel to parks or wooded areas further afield.

In this way, I dithered and procrastinated for 3 months, having taken the rope in my bag out with me every single day, fully believing ‘today will be the day.’

In the end, I gave up the idea of hanging myself and I bought a Stanley Knife with the intention of cutting my wrists instead – but wasn’t there a special way of doing it? If I did it wrong, wasn’t it possible I would not die but lose so much blood my brain would not be fed enough oxygen and I’d incur irrevocable brain damage, thus suffering the fate of becoming an even bigger moron than I was already?

The whole episode, then, was a farcical failure. It was also an expensive one. The cost of staying in my squalid room alone had been nearly £5000. An expensive holiday – I decided then and there not to book again next year.

Many would say that ‘deep down’ I did not, in fact, want to die.

This could, on an unconscious level, have been true. But it certainly felt to me that I did.

David Hosier BSc Hons ; MSc ; PGDE(FAHE).

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The Use of Religion as a Weapon of Abuse

spiritual abuse

religious abuse

When I was thirteen, shortly after my disturbed and deeply unstable mother had thrown me out of the house and I was grudgingly received into the house (I won’t dignify it by calling it a home) of my father and his new wife (my step-mother,) I became, as might be expected, and which I may conceivably expect to be forgiven for, a rather argumentative and defiant child (although, interestingly, only at home – never at school). I remember ( indeed, the memory is seered into my brain), that I was arguing with my step-mother in the kitchen and she suddenly fixed me with a violent stare and started to shout (loudly and with a kind of demented aggression) at me in ‘tongues’. I do not know if she deliberately faked it or whether it was merely a symptom of religious psychosis. I do know, however, that, as a naive thirteen year old, it profoundly disturbed my sense of self. Was I not just bad, but evil?  And not just evil, but so evil that god had just taken the trouble to let me know , in no uncertain terms,personally (rather than, say, the serial killer that had been on the front page of the paper that day?).

Emotional abuse by parents, or, indeed, if I may be so bold as to suggest, by step-parents, has such a destructive effect not least because of the disparity in power between them and the child. The more authority and power that the emotional abuser has, the more damaging the effects of that emotional abuse are likely to be.

Those who use religion to abuse others employ the tactic of augmenting their power, authority and control BY PRESENTING THEMSELVES AS HAVING DIVINE AUTHORITY. They have the breathtaking arrogance to position themselves as god’s spokesperson. They will, too, of course, carefully select passages from religious texts like the bible to bully, control and coerce others, robbing them of their individuality and authenticity – even their independence of thought. The victim of this abuse can find that they are left feeling bad, worthless, guilty and ashamed.

They may even spend their childhoods, and, later, much of their adulthood, preoccupied that they are destined for eternal torture in hell.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Possible Effects of Divorce on Children

effects of divorce on children

My own parents divorced in the scorching summer of 1976, when I was 8 years old. At prep school, I was the only boy in the class with divorced parents. I was deeply ashamed of this fact, and I did my best to keep it a secret.

I was so disturbed by my home life that, during this period of my life, the teachers at my school thought I was developing deafness as I would never respond when my name was called – instead, I would be sitting in a kind of oblivious trance (this is what psychologists term a’ dissociative state’, or’ psychologically detaching’ from the pain of reality as a defense mechanism).

Indeed, when I was taken to see a doctor it was confirmed that there was nothing wrong with my ears. Unfortunately, however, my parents did not regard it as necessary to arrange counselling for me, even though I was displaying other worrying signs of emotional problems during this time.

Today, divorce is far more common than it was in the 1970s, and much less stigmatized. However, the potential adverse effects of divorce upon children can still be just as devastating as they have always been. Indeed, such effects can be carried into adult life, and, therefore, be passed on to the next generation.

effects_of_divorce_on_children, coping_with_divorce




REDUCED EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT : studies have shown that children of divorced parents can have a reduced capacity for learning and perform, on average, worse in maths, spelling and reading than there peers

POVERTY : divorce results in a large drop in household income and, in the USA, 50% of children from divorced families are placed into poverty as a consequence.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE : children of divorced parents are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, particularly in order to try to cope with the emotional pain of conflict and rejection.

CRIME : children of divorced parents are more likely to become involved with crime. For example, a study by Robert Sampson, from the University of Chicago, showed that the divorce rate of specific areas was predictive  of the number of robberies carried out

RELATIONSHIPS – divorce can weaken the relationship between the parents and the child. It can also lead to the child developing destructive ways of handling conflict which can persist into adult life. Indeed, children of divorced parents are more likely to divorce their own partners in adult life. Furthermore, children of divorced parents show less desire to have children themselves when they become adults.

Children of divorced parents also often find in later life that their own capacity to have deep and trusting relationships has been reduced. Also, if, as adults, they do decide to have children, they will often struggle to create a positive and healthy environment for their families to live in.

NEGLECT : children of divorced parents are twice as likely to suffer neglect. Studies have shown that divorced mothers tend to be less able to provide their children with emotional support and divorced fathers are less likely to have a close relationship with their children.



the child of divorced parents may :

– become prone to rage and anger

– become anxious/fearful

–  become depressed

– feel rejected

– experience a sense of conflicting loyalties

– feel extremely lonely

– find that their confidence and self-esteem has been damaged




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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2013 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

The Mother Prone to Explosive Rage.

angry mothers

When a mother is prone to uncontrolled, explosive outbursts of rage it casts a shadow over every day for her offspring. The child needs to be on constant ‘red alert’, preoccupied with the possibility of another outburst, always anticipating it, but never being able to predict it. Such a mother will often DISPLACE (take out) her anger about areas of her life with which she is dissatisfied on the offspring, even though the real cause of her anger has nothing to do with them. My own mother, for example, could become almost demented  with anger, hatred and hostility over something as small as an accidently spilt drink.

As I neared my teens and started to answer back, she would rage at me for not demonstrating ‘the respect she deserved.’ In other words, if I protested that I did not deserve to be on the receiving end of this diabolical rage, she would become yet further apoplectic with anger ; she would vigorously justify her own behavior and discount the effect it had on me – it was, according to her, my ‘own fault’ for ‘provoking’ her in the first place.


Relationships with such parents often place the child in an impossible position, creating that which experts in family interpersonal relationships term a DOUBLE-BIND. Essentially, this involves the parent giving the child CONTRADICTORY MESSAGES. For example, The parent may profess to deeply care for the child, but in the CONTEXT OF CONSTANTLY NEGATIVE CUES (for example, tone of voice, body language etc).  THE CHILD, IN SUCH CONDITIONS, IS LIKELY TO FEEL FROZEN OUT, even though the parent claims to care about him/her. In such a relationship, the parent will often make use of tactics which put the child under deep psychological pressure to comply with its terms, leading to profound inner confusion which is impossible for him/her to articulate.

angry mothers

Though a child enmeshed in such a relationship may be in deep distress, s/he may find him/herself being dismissed as, ‘silly’, ‘bad’, ‘naughty’, ‘a spoiled brat’ etc ; it is likely, too, that other stratagies will be employed to confuse and oppose the child. These strategies include :

OBFUSCATION : the concerns the child tries to raise are evaded, glossed over, dismissed as ‘not real’ and as being ‘all in his/her mind.’ Sometimes, too, the expression ‘I love you’ , may be employed tactically to put an end to the matter, as it were, without giving the child the chance to express his/her urgent views. The term ‘I love you’, in such circumstances, can be used strategically to imply : ‘ you are therefore ungrateful, in the wrong, and must understand that my saying this completely exonerates me from any possible blame’ or similar.

COUNTERACCUSATION : This is when the child is blamed for creating his own suffering. This may be stated directly by the parent or else implied. I can still hear the phrase my own mother used to use against me ringing in my ears : ‘It’s your own bloody, stupid fault. I’ve absolutely no sympathy for you what-so-ever! None what-so-bloody -ever! None!’ (As you may have gathered, she liked to push her point home!)

MARGINALISATION : This involves dismissing, devaluing, refusing to acknowledge, minimizing the significance of, or otherwise undermining, the child’s protests. This causes the child to question the reality of his/her own feelings and views which can, in turn, lead to deep psychological problems and a sense of self-alienation. When the very validity of a person’s deepest held and most profoundly felt beliefs are attacked in this way (however implicitly) the very inner core of the self can begin to dismantle and disintegrate.

The above are just some of the tactics that may be used by the dysfunctional parent. Often the tactics will be employed in combination, creating enormous emotional turmoil and volatility in the child, as well as deep confusion and internal incoherence. His or her most important feelings about reality are systematically undermined over a period of years or decades.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).



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Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) And My Experience of It.

personal experience of ect

Childhood trauma can lead us to become severely clinically depressed as adults, and this happened to me. Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is only used as a last resort on people who are at high risk of suicide and/or are unable to function in even the most basic areas of life.

ECT is, in fact, misunderstood by the vast majority of people – many see it as barbaric and frightening. Such views, in large part, derive from the popular media (eg from films such as ‘One Flew Over the Cockoo’s Nest’).

However, most controlled research suggests that ECT is helpful as a treatment for severe depression (eg Pagnia et al., 2004). It is normally only used when other interventions, such as psychotherapy and drug treatment, have failed.

There are, though, some risks. Approximately 2-10 patients per 100,000 treatments (ie less than 0.01%) die during the procedure – however, this is no higher than the risk of dying from anesthesia alone (patients have a general anesthetic before undergoing ECT).

After the treatment patients might have headaches, aching muscles or nausea. Also, some patients experience some memory loss (but, generally, only mildly) which can last up to six months (Sackeim et al. 2007).

Patients who undergo ECT, however, tend to view it positively. In one study, 98% of patients who received it said they’d undergo it again if their depression recurred (Pettinati et al., 1994).

personal experience of ect


My own depression was so severe and protracted that I underwent ECT sessions (an ECT treatment session normally comprises blocks of 6 individual treatments) on more than one occasion. I was suicidal and almost completely unable to function (not even able to carry out the most basic self-care, such as shaving, brushing my teeth or taking a bath or shower). As I say, these periods went on for several months, or years, at a time.

Frankly, I did not care whether I lived or died (actually, that’s not quite true, I wanted to be dead), nor what happened to me. Thus, when I was hospitalized, my psychiatrist strongly advised me to undergo ECT. I put up no resistance, nor would I have had the energy or will to do so.

Over the years, each time I underwent ECT sessions, the results were pretty much the same, so I’ll just describe the effect of one set of treatments:

The best thing about it was being given the general anesthetic – such was the extreme nature of my mental anguish that I constantly longed to be unconscious (or dead). Unfortunately, however, the treatment is quick so one is only unconscious for a few minutes!

When I awoke, I’d have very bad, pounding headaches and many of my muscle groups would be painful. Sometimes, I’d need to walk with a stick for a few days after the treatment until the muscles in my legs recovered.

Also, and this was frightening, for about the first five or ten minutes after the treatment I would be so disoriented and confused that I did not know where I was, or even WHO I was. It is impossible for one to imagine how disturbing this is until one has experienced the sensation for oneself. Fortunately, as I said, this did not last long.

On the topic of memory, it felt to me that my memory was impaired for a couple of years after the final treatment session (though not severely). I would make the point, however, that severe clinical depression in itself can impair memory so I cannot attribute it to ECT without some equivocation.

Finally, and most importantly, my own ECT did not have any beneficial effect on me whatsoever; my depression was not even slightly ameliorated.

Obviously, overall, my experience of ECT was fairly negative. However, it is necessary to stress that I am, of course, just one patient out of thousands who have received ECT, so not very much can be concluded from my personal experience it. The research I have already quoted suggests that, for the majority, it is beneficial. Indeed, there are many who believe it has saved their life.


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David Hosier. BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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My Own Story : A Brief Overview.

childhood trauma story

My own childhood was highly chaotic and traumatic.

I started to suffer severe emotional problems very early on (for example, when I was 8 the teachers at the prep school I was at thought I had gone deaf, so I was taken to see my GP. It transpired, however, that there was nothing at all wrong with my ears, rather, the problem was psychological in origin: I had been ‘retreating into my own inner world’). Psychiatrists term this ‘dissociation’, which is a topic I refer to in my posts in the EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD TRAUMA category.

As an adolescent I became deeply depressed and my behaviour became erratic, compounded by heavy drinking.

In adulthood, I became very ill indeed. I was hospitalized many times with depression so acute in nature I underwent electro-convulsive shock therapy (ECT) during more than one admission.

I made several suicide attempts, one of which left me in a coma on life-support for five days in intensive care.

It is these experiences which motivate me in my study of childhood trauma, its effects and what one can do to help oneself recover. I am fortunate in having a relevant academic background which helps facilitate this.

  borderline personality disorder ebook

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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2013 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery