Bek passed away in December last year, far too young. We met as participants of a Dialectic Behaviour Therapy program and I had only known her a few months. Bek was everything I believed provided status, credibility, recognition and acceptance, but she was tormented by profound shame and guilt. I was only beginning to learn the source of that shame and guilt, and from a shared situation we connected.

In that short time I learnt that money and status, the external presentation to the world, does not protect you from these debilitating emotions. Bek was the first person I had met who ever expressed the depth of pain these emotions caused her in the same way they had crippled me. It blew me away. What a revelation.

All the reasons I conjured up to explain away shame and guilt were myths. Being poor and uneducated, suffering amnesia, failing as a parent, failing to make a worthwhile life, failing to achieve what I believed were required to be successful were irrelevant. Apparently shame and guilt belong to abuse regardless of the circumstances.

Bek was the first person I felt understood at least part of my experience. Sadly Bek passed away before I had the opportunity to unravel those similarities, a process which I believe may have assisted both of us.

I miss you Bek.