‘I made the choice to take my life back.’
Written by Aaron Dennis, May 16, 2023
For Ros Cooper, finding support for her mental wellbeing has been challenging, but it is helping her cope with one of the toughest times of her life.
Ros, who has type 3 von Willebrand disorder, was infected with hepatitis C by contaminated blood products in the 1980s. She has been an active participant in the Infected Blood Inquiry and, as it nears its end, she feels psychological support is vital for all those infected and affected.
‘Now the inquiry is finishing, I’m dreading what comes next. People talk about needing a solicitor, but I think we all need a psychologist’, she said, referring to the proposed compensation assessment process.
Ros hopes that process will not involve making participants re-tell their experiences, for her a particularly traumatic part of the inquiry.
‘People with a bleeding disorder are often really good at just getting on with things, which is how I was. It was when I hit rock bottom that I became desperate for support, which wasn’t available.’
She began searching for psychological support 15 years ago after losing her job and being unable to have children because of the effects of interferon and ribavirin treatments for her hepatitis C. After not finding satisfactory support for years, at the start of the Inquiry Ros found EFT Matrix Reimprinting, a technique looking at past traumas and altering how that trauma continues to affect us. The root of this is altering beliefs made in that moment of trauma, which trigger us into the same trauma response anytime there are echoes of that.
Learning Psych-Kâ, Ros realised that she could take back control of her own destiny, something she’d felt had been taken away when she was infected with hepatitis C. Another important discovery was that these techniques could be used by her and she continues to use them whenever she needs them, on the understanding that she has what she needs to heal emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Ros said: ‘People with a bleeding disorder are often really good at just getting on with things, which is how I was. It was when I hit rock bottom that I became desperate for support, which wasn’t available.
‘The techniques I’ve learned enable me to live with how I am, to heal from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, pain and emotional impacts of contamination, and to feel like I do have some say over my future.’
Speaking as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Ros advises trying different forms of healing. She said: ‘Finding the right support is an individual process. Making a choice to change yourself is empowering. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it puts you in a place where change is possible, I believe.’
Ros said: ‘Right now, because the inquiry is ending and we’re awaiting a government response I feel adrift, but I know I have the tools to get through it.’
Find out more here about the psychological support available to people infected and affected by contaminated blood products, there are a range of free psychological support services open to you.