ON THE EDGE OF INSANITY ~ Memoir of an abuse victim

I look back now over the last 19 years or so and wonder how I have overcome such ordeals and have become this new person.  Back then, I was suffering with a mental breakdown, a single mum of 2 children aged 3 and 6 years.  The breakdown was caused by my childhood, having been sexually abused by 3 people, one being my father.

I think the bleakest time going through regression therapy, was when I was sectioned for a stay in a psychiatric hospital for 3 months.  The first month in intensive care. Psychotic to say the least!  Arriving at the hospital, I was assessed by a psychiatrist.  I was then thrown into a padded cell.  Given medication, my head reeling I realised just how poorly I was.

Coming round from a deep sleep, I began to worry about the children who were then 11 and 15 years.  I was informed that social services had checked on them and that they had a good friend of mine looking after them until I was discharged. Money however was an issue; so to make ends meet I had to give up smoking. In a psychiatrist unit this was extremely difficult!

Christmas came and I had served my time. Back home. There was nothing but financial problems.  I had no job, a mortgage in arrears, 2 children to feed and debts of £9,000! No Christmas presents. A very frugal Christmas.

Gradually, after 5 months rest, I managed to get a job as a factory operative. Bit by bit I managed to become debt free.

I continued with therapy until I fully recovered at the age of 59 years.  I to this day I marvel at my progress as only 6% actually recover from such an ordeal.

Through this treatment I have begun to have a burning desire to help others overcome similar experiences, and in my retirement I hope to achieve my goal.  I would also like to public speak to help inspire and motivate others in every walk of life. One key lesson I have learnt? It’s never too late to overcome ordeals.


Valerie Smith is the author of On The Edge of Insanity. The book is a powerful autobiography which charts the author’s journey from abuse victim to abuse survivor. When she was a child she was abused by her father, her uncle and her next door neighbour and later in life went on to suffer a mental breakdown which led her to be sectioned three times and endure endless stays in hospital. According to the NSPCC, 70% of sexual abuse victims go on to abuse children in their adult life and Valerie’s biggest challenge was to overcome the desire to abuse her own son. With the support of psychiatric therapy she was able to do this, and has later gone on to tell her son about what she went through, and they now have a fantastic relationship. I’ve attached the press release for further information. 

Valerie Smith is 63 and now leads a normal life. She says she wouldn’t have been able to come through her ordeals if it wasn’t for the 19 years of psychiatric therapy that saved her. She dedicates her time to speaking out about her experiences, in order to help those going through a similar thing, and to help them realise they are not alone, and there is help available.


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