Talking about what happened

Talking about what happened before you went away, and while you were away, could help you to feel better. It might also help people at home understand what you’ve been through. This in turn can ensure you get the right sort of support.

We know it isn’t easy though. Talking about things may bring up upsetting memories, or you might worry how other people will react to what you say. Read our suggestions below, and remember that we’re here to talk if you need us.

You are in control

People might be asking how you are, or what happened. It can feel draining to keep saying the same things again, or going through them over and over in your head. Only share things when you feel ready, or with people you trust. It may help to ask one person to explain things to others, save you doing it multiple times.

Don’t hold it in

Even though you are back, there may still be something worrying you, or making you feel unsafe or unwell. You may think – or have been told – that there are certain things you shouldn’t talk about. For you to feel the best you can, and be safe, try to prioritise these things and don’t feel you must stay silent.

Talk to someone you don’t know

It may help to talk to someone who doesn’t know you so well, but can support you – this could be a doctor, or a counsellor, or a helpline.

You don’t need to explain everything now

Making sense of what happened can be difficult, or perhaps you don’t remember much. Don’t worry about explaining everything in one go – talk about what you want to talk about, at your own pace.

You don’t need answers to everything

You have gone through a difficult time and possibly faced lots of challenges. You might still be coming to terms with the things you’ve been through, and this could have affected your wellbeing in different ways. The most important thing right now is you, and you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to understand everything, or to make others understand. Speak to people you trust, who should be able to have a conversation without repeatedly asking what happened. Use them as a sounding board, or to help you fill in the gaps.

Find services for specific issues

There may be some parts of your experience that you are more keen to talk about than others. There are support services available to help with specific issues. For example, CALM or Sane can support you with your mental health. You can talk to NHS 111 about any physical effects of being away. Find a list of services here.

Talk to us

If you are still finding it difficult to talk about or explain your missing experience, or you are thinking of going missing again, our confidential team are here to listen.

Talk to us

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