Miss FA (31 years old) came from a rich family in Somalia, she finished high school, talked multiple languages (English, Arabic, etc.) and she worked in her father’s hotel and restaurant. Unfortunately, her city was attacked and her father was killed by a terrorist group called Al-Shabaab. She realised, that her life was in danger and she decided to flee her country.
During her journey, she was captured and jailed in Libya, where they kept her locked up with many other women. The soldiers visited them every day and the women were both physically and sexually abused. Ms FA saw the physical and sexual torture that the other women endured and she was also physically abused. Thankfully, she was able to escape and she arrived in a country in Western Europe (travelling through Hungary on her way), where she fell in love with a Somali man and they got married. Unfortunately the man seriously abused her: he beat her regularly, locked her up and tortured her. She could not bear this and after a while she was able to get a divorce.
Following the divorce she was pushed back to Hungary by the authorities. The trauma she endured, the new and unknown environment and the lack of language knowledge all led to her disorientation and loss of self. This is when she met the Cordelia Foundation in one of the Hungarian reception centres. During the first interview it turned out that she has very severe symptoms: a sleeping disorder, nightmares, anxiety, severe depression, disturbed self-esteem etc. Next to these common symptoms, she also had a special symptom: she was pulling her hair out, leaving her head with several bold spots. Cordelia’s therapist started psychotherapy with her in order to ease her symptoms. There was no possibility to start a deeper evaluation in the reception centre.
After she received a refugee status, she moved to Budapest, found a job and was able to rent an apartment with the help of a Hungarian NGO. It seemed like her life was back on track. However, when she contacted the Foundation again, she was showing symptoms of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), but these symptoms were much milder, than the ones at the reception centre. This development could be due to two reasons: the psychotherapy worked, that she received in the reception centre or the positive change in her life. She fell in love with a Somali refugee. They got married and when she contacted the Foundation, she was already pregnant with their child. Her life was well balanced and she became symptom-free after their baby was born.
The baby is almost one year old, when her symptoms (sleeping disorder and nightmares) reappear. As is turns out during the therapy sessions, the symptoms were triggered by the fact that her mother, who still lives in Somalia, was in life threatening danger. She had to flee internally in order to find relative safety.
Ms FA was now allowed to receive medication in this stage of her therapy, which will hopefully help to reduce her symptoms. Her therapy is ongoing and positive thoughts have taken the place of her early bleakness. She hopes to meet her mother in the near future in a neighbouring country of Somalia.
* In order to protect the client’s rights relating to personality we have changed her name and some minor details in the story.