When I was a kid, I really thought that I could do anything. My imagination was wild, I would build fairy gardens in the backyard and I would run around pretending to be a horse. I had the innocence of a child, oblivious to all that was about to come. I was watching everything around me and how people responded to different situations and as different things started happening to me my core beliefs started to develop. Reading my Child, Youth and Family files a few years ago, the investigator involved said that I went from being “bubbly and energetic” to “dull and lacking emotion.” When I was 3 years old, my world changed forever - Someone close to me took my innocence and opened the door for others to do the same. Fast forward 9 years, as a 12 year old girl, I sat in a hospital ward after trying to end my life for the very first time. At the age of 16, after a horrific 4 years I moved to Auckland by myself, enrolled myself in high school and attempted to change my life around. My mistake however, was thinking that by moving towns, suddenly everything else was going to be better. That wasn’t the case. My environment was different, but my thought patterns and burdens, exactly the same. The core belief that had sat with me since I was three was still unchanged, the core belief that I was unlovable. The core belief that would later land me attempting to take my life a further 14 times, each one failing - Some by a mile as I cried for help, others miraculously when the determination to end my life was high. One that stands out to me was when I went out into the middle of a forest, where I was certain nobody would ever see me. With 400 pills in my bag I began to take them, with tears streaming down my face I remember looking up and praying “God, please forgive me.. I just want this all to go, I can’t keep burdening anyone anymore. All I do is cause hurt and I can’t keep living like this.” A while later I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital after being placed in a coma. It turns out that someone had decided to spontaneously bike off track that day and saw me unconscious on the ground. They called the ambulance and I was later told that 20 more minutes unfound, I would have been gone. Looking back, I can see the miracle it is that I am alive, but at the time I remember feeling so angry, hurt, broken and like the pain was never going to stop until I stop breathing. Something that unfortunately too many people resonate with. Here is what I want you to know- The brokenness doesn’t last forever. I struggled for years and found myself in uncountable horrible situations but I survived. However, the core belief that I was unlovable was very slowly but surely broken as a few people walked alongside me, didn’t give up on me despite me looking like a lost cause. I spent time in the mental health ward battling for my life and while at the time I hated it - It was by far the most pivotal moment for me. I realised that I was literally in a life or death situation. That I had been like this for so many years already and it was going to stay the same and eventually I would be buried, OR I could get up and actually fight. A couple that goes to my church came into visit me when I was in the ward and I remember them not only coming in to show they cared/I was not alone (Breaking my core belief) but they also came in with small practical things that I could do to start to fight. They (alongside a couple of others) began to not only encourage me but also very lovingly push me to breaking the strongholds that had been on me since I was a child. I was also very blessed to have someone who had known me throughout the years and was not afraid to give me the tough love I needed. They together showed me not only how to live free, but also teaching me to find the things to put in place so that I could learn to train my own thought patterns. Through continuous love and support, re training my brain how to think and how to respond in a healthy way (A way that my mind didn’t dramatise it a million folds) And by the grace of God I was finally set free. Not only did I finally become free from my years of destructive cycles and suicidal tendencies, but I was given insane opportunities to turn it around and see/make change in order to help those struggling with what I once did. As the Co-Founder of Voices of Hope I have had the incredible opportunity to speak hope to many. In 3 weeks I go on tour, speaking in high schools across NZ/AUS sharing Hope and equipping schools and kids on how to chase their dream no matter what they are up against. I have created content that has been viewed around the world with a message that has brought Hope and just last week (Thanks to my incredible tutors who believed in me and helped me prepare) I became the youngest director to win the Doc Edge pitching competition, meaning that very soon the series that I pitched is getting made. A series that aims to break a stigma that halts teenagers from asking for help. A series that New Zealand has never picked up because of the subject, but now, with all of the discussion around it and my own extensive knowledge in the area, they are entrusting me to direct it and provoke change. But more than all of these things, I have learnt what it is to be loved. I am surrounded by the most incredible people and the core belief that developed as a 3 year old has been smashed. I wake up everyday excited for what is to come and walking out my day with purpose. I say all of this to simply tell you that Hope is Real and Help is available. If you are struggling, I promise you that change is possible if you are willing to fight for it. It may seem impossible (Trust me, I know) but I am living proof that it isn’t. If you know somebody who is struggling at the moment then I encourage you to start to directly target their core belief and show them the opposite to what it tells them. Often for those who are suicidal it is “I’m unlovable” or “I’m a burden” (Not in all cases, but most that I have personally talked to) so I encourage you to continue to remind them that you love them, but more than that - Start to give them practical steps that they can take to help them start to walk free. We can’t expect people to become free if we don’t first teach them HOW to live free. For many who struggle with suicidal thoughts, the thought of knowing you can end your life at any time when it gets too much is one that can be really comforting (Speaking from experience.) So, we have to start to teach them how to live without that, how to baracide their thinking and recognise the thoughts that their minds are manipulating to fit their beliefs. Let’s start to teach those struggling that they are not ‘weak’ or ‘attention seeking’ for asking for help and once they have asked, let’s no longer just say “It will get better” But follow it up with action to see them start to walk in freedom.
Change is possible, even in the situations where it feels like it never will. Never give up, it will get better if you choose to fight.
Be a Voice of Hope.