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To letter-writer: don't give up

Sir -- It was sad to read the brave letter of the week 'Abuse still haunts me' (Sunday Independent, December 4, 2011).

This writer wrote of his frequent early-morning waking, when painful memories of being physically and sexually assaulted as a child come back to haunt him, and how his cries for help back then were never heard, or were ignored. Ireland must have been a really dark place in the Fifties and Sixties, when, in my view, it was a narrow-minded country. We were a very proudly Catholic country, but not very Christian. I don't think being Christian was really understood.

He wrote of how his love for his wife stops him from doing anything to end his life, but that it can cross his mind at times. I can only suggest, if he hasn't tried it already, to consider looking for counselling to help him to cope and have a happier life in his own mind. It is possible. Specialised counselling for those physically or sexually abused in their youth is available free from some groups.

I would like to say to this man -- hold on. I was in a really dark place 10 years ago and felt no hope, had given up. Thankfully, I didn't carry through my plans to end my life, and 10 years later I am happier than I have ever been and life is good. (Touch wood.) Counselling was a factor in that.

I hope this helps the letter writer -- that he will consider doing this in 2012 -- or anyone else out there as we head towards Christmas.

I enjoy Christmas these years too. I do my own things that make it pleasant and a little bit spiritual for me too. And do I give gifts? Sure I do. Not super expensive ones, mind. It is the season of giving in all sorts of ways.

Name and address with editor

Sunday Independent