Simon's story - Refugee Council

Simon’s story

As a young student in his home country in Central Africa, Simon was a keen activist, campaigning for democratic reforms, an end to detention without trial and extra judicial killings. As a result of his activities, Simon was locked up without trial and beaten.

While imprisoned, government forces burned Simon with cigarettes and whipped him with electrical flex.

When someone has suffered the horrific cruelty and abuse that Simon had, there is no way of rushing the recovery process. When he began therapy with us, Simon was so anxious that even a car alarm going off would trigger bouts of shaking and hyperventilation.

Progress was slow. But after many hours together, Simon managed to tell his therapist what he had been through and she was able to bear witness to his pain – something that is a vital part of the recovery process.

Only then was she able to help Simon realise that his current troubles – the nightmares, insomnia, anxiety and self-blame – were a completely reasonable response to his experiences.

Together we worked through Simon’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms and found solutions to help him cope with them.

Simon has now moved away to college to restart his life.

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