First Person Plural
Dissociative identity disorders association

Amanda’s Great North Swim.



“I am a survivor of extreme child sexual abuse and exploitation. As a result of my experiences, I live with complex-PTSD and polyfragmented Dissociative Identity Disorder.

As a child I couldn’t escape what was happening to me, nor could I withstand the severity of the abuse, so I did the only thing I could do; I ran away in my mind.

After years of severe mental and emotional distress, and a decade long battle with an eating disorder that almost took my life, I decided it was time to stop running. I sought specialist help, and I turned to face the monsters of my past.
The journey to recovery has been painful and hard, and at times more overwhelmingly awful than I believed I could possibly bear. But as I do the work of healing my past, I am becoming stronger and my hope for the future is bright.
Early in my recovery , I became a member of First Person Plural. The support and understanding I found there became a vital source of hope and healing.

Support for complex trauma survivors like me is scarce, and understanding of Dissociative Disorders is lacking. FPP specialises in making sure our voices are heard.

On the 9th June I will be joining 10,000 open water swimmers and taking part in the Great North Swim! The challenge involves swimming 2 miles (125 lengths) of Lake Windermere.
For me, swimming in open water has always felt like coming home. I feel truly alive and at peace in the cold and quiet of a deep lake, surrounded by trees and mountains. Swimming for 2 miles, however, with thousands of people, will be a challenge!

Beyond the normal challenges of stamina, endurance, and the fear of “things” hiding beneath the surface, there are particular challenges I will have to overcome.
The sheer volume of swimmers and spectators will be scary. I’ll need to manage the panic I feel when water splashes in my face, and to overcome my claustrophobia so I can tolerate wearing a wetsuit. The flash of cameras pointed at me is likely to be very triggering. I also have instability in my pelvis which causes pain that I will need to cope with on the day. Preparing psychologically will be even more important than my physical training!

This is a huge challenge, but I believe I can do it! And I know the funds I raise will help other survivors in their recovery.”