International Child Helpline Day 2018: Palestine

The counsellor working with SAWA received a call from a 15-year-old girl who had heard of the 121 Child Helpline service via Facebook. Her dreams had turned into nightmares. Nightmares about weapons, tanks, and all of the other things that she had seen going on outside her own front door…

The girl was born in Gaza and has experienced more conflict than most people can possibly imagine a child having to deal with. She is involuntarily urinating at night, and stays in her room, embarrassed and afraid that her parents and friends will find out about it. Involuntary urination is a typical response to trauma, and at her sensitive age – when she is developing herself and her identity – SAWA can understand the fear and anxiety she has in worrying someone will find out about it. During the calls we have worked with her on how to deal with the issue of bedwetting, as well as working on rebuilding her self-esteem.

After a few weeks, she called us again to tell us that she is feeling much better. She has stopped watching the disturbing pictures and scenes replaying on television, especially before going to sleep. If she sees anything that she knows will make her feel bad, she automatically changes the channel. To make sure she is not thinking of the frightening situation happening outside, she decided to read stories before going to sleep, and focusing on positive images she likes to think of. As a result, she is no longer having nightmares about the conflict and the bed wetting has decreased.

As she is feeling better about herself, she has started to come out of her room regularly and is getting back into the swing of enjoying her teenage life, as much as is possible in a city torn by strife. We are very proud of her for setting her plan and working towards achieving her goal of recognising her trauma and how to better help herself by removing herself from these situations, as well as recognising that there are many people around her that want to help her to grow and thrive as a young adult.