I am 22 years old and my name is Alyssa, but I go by Frankie🥰. I haven’t been able to get over my personal story.
No one really talks about the trauma that comes when a close friend or family member takes their life. June 15th, 2019 is the day my world fell apart. Everything was dark and my life was never going to be the same. This is when my best friend of 7 years wrote her last words and took her own life. At just 18 years she was gone.
My life has spiralled and I fell apart. The constant sadness I felt every day when thinking what would have happened if I would have done this or that! I could not understand.
I was so confused and mad at the world. I ended up isolating myself and I stopped eating. I started drinking alcohol and doing drugs. I wanted to feel anything that wasn’t normal. I wanted to pass out. I didn’t want to think, feel or remember. I wanted everything to stop. As the weeks went by, I dropped weight and started having an identity crisis. I became depressed and bedridden. I ended up with social anxiety and could no longer hold a proper conversation without having a few drinks. I became what doctors call Alcohol Dependent.
To this day when I think about my friend I still cry. I still visit her often in the cemetery. I feel that helps me in a way, and that I’m closer to her, even if it’s just her body down there. I feel like my friend’s story became my story in a way: when she took her life she took mine with her. A year or so later I tried to take my own life as I kept blaming myself.
Four years have passed and I have done some self-work counselling through I Am Hope as well as started boxing. I also dance full time now, which is something…
I still suffer from extreme anxiety, and have a drinking problem, but I am trying to get better, day by day, for her. I live moment to moment, one day at a time, recreating and finding myself, learning to live with all of this and love myself again.
I faced many difficult challenges throughout my life. From an early age of 13 I struggled with eating disorders. There was a lot of shame about being me and my body. I didn’t feel like I had a place in this world I wanted to disappear. There was something wrong with me. I had a difficult childhood, not because my parents didn’t love me, they certainly did and did everything they could to support me. But generational trauma lead to missing out how to take on life in a healthy way. After years of work on my eating habits and weight the root cause of my troubles still remained and I started drinking heavily to numb myself. I couldn’t bear to be me. I made many mistakes I’m not proud of and been through abusive relationships which left me feeling lonely and even more ashamed.
About four years ago I made a cut and left Germany to start over in New Zealand. It was a difficult time. I was alone,new language, foreign country, I went from job to job and tried to build something from nothing. I had hope but unfortunately I couldn’t outrun my past. I was still drinking a lot and some days I couldn’t manage to do anything before my morning drink to soothe the withdrawals. I tried to stop so many times I lost count. Something needed to change at my core. How I saw myself and the world around me. I was very fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way and it took me another few years and the support of my partner, family, friends and colleagues to finally make a change, to do everything I can to be a better person. Striving for the best version of me. I had my last drink over a year ago now and I’m happier than ever. I forgot there was a me that loved life and can see the beauty of it. As if there was a dark cloud hovering over my head and the more I open my heart the more it dissipates.
I’m honored to have this opportunity to share my story and it’s just the beginning of it. I still have a long way to go, every day comes with new challenges and it’s certainly not easy but my mindset and my intentions have changed over the past years. I’m claiming my life back. I learn to be responsible and to take care of myself and I’m so grateful for the people, the love and the opportunities that have come my way. Instead of being ashamed of my past I try to see it as part of me now that needs healing. I can’t change what happened but I can change who I am today and do better as well as supporting others moving forward.
How much power or control do you have over your life? It’s crazy that it doesn’t matter how organized you are, no matter how many plans you make, how ready you feel, things still can go completely out of our hands. My name is Gabriela and my story is about “Resilience” I’m from Brazil and I came to New Zealand in 2017 to study English. I fell in love with the country, for the challenges and for the life over here. I came here without knowing anyone, my first job was as a waitress in a catering company. I was living in a flat sharing the bed with my friend to save money. After 3 years, I was still in New Zealand and so proud of everything that I have achieved. I graduated from a Business course. I was living in my own room, I was working with something that I loved and I had found the love of my life, my partner.
Everything was going really well and I decided to go to Brazil to visit my family for the first time after 3 years in New Zealand. Oliver went with me, as I wanted him to meet my family. I was planning the trip for ages, I was really emotional about going to Brazil, really anxious. The year was 2020, everything was going as planned, I was thrilled to be around my family and friends, and one of the best moments of my life happened, when my partner proposed to me. We were living the dream, so happy, so in love! My partner came back to New Zealand before me, I was going to stay 2 weeks more in Brazil to enjoy my family, and it is from that where my plans got out of my control, the rumours of a Pandemic it wasn’t a rumour anymore, suddenly it became something really serious and the whole world panic. A week before my departure from Brazil, I started getting worried about not being able to get on the Airplane to New Zealand, I changed my flight, but it was too late, New Zealand closed the borders for the whole world.
I remember till now when I received the news, I didn’t panic, I didn’t have any reaction, I just accepted. In my mind the borders were going to be closed only for a few weeks or months, so I was ok about it, especially because I could spend some more time with my family. During the lockdown in Brazil I have spent some really good time with my Mom and sister, but it was hard to have to deal with the distance with my partner because we had no idea when we were able to see each other again. After a few months in the same situation I started panic, I lost my job in New Zealand, I had to put my room, I was far away from the love of my life and things started getting really bad in Brazil.
My life went from a free soul to a bird in a cage, I was feeling that I was losing my life, everything that I had achieved in New Zealand was gone. I have never felt so weak in my whole life, I was stuck in the past or in the future but never in my present. Me and my partner were supporting each other but after so long we were both devastated. We used to video call every single day, but after a while it was getting harder and harder. Life came back to normal in New Zealand. I was happy for my partner, so then we could at least have a life but on the other hand our realities became completely the opposite, I could feel that I was losing him in tiny bits. I had to learn how to be happy again, how to enjoy the little moments inside that apartment, my mom and my sister helped me a lot, we created a beautiful connection. After 1 year apart from each other, me and Oliver started to get so depressed, so hopeless, I will never forget the call we had where we couldn’t stop crying because we didn’t know what to do anymore. We couldn’t believe what was happening with us, it was so sad and we had no idea when the borders were going to be open, it could take years.
Because of this sadness we decided to break-up for a while, such a hard decision but necessary for us to be able to find ourselves again, fully our own love to be able to give love again. After a while, I decided to apply to get into the Country one last time, I was so not motivated
after so many NO. This last time I decided to put all my emotions in the letter for immigration, and somehow they listened to me and accepted me back, and after nearly 2 years apart from my love, I was finally able to come back. I felt like a dream coming true, I will never forget the magic moment of our first hug. It felt as if I had never left, our connection shined up, we couldn’t believe it, it was one of the best emotions I have ever felt, at that moment, I knew we were made for each other. Today, after that thunderstorm we felt that it was meant to be. It makes us stronger as individuals and stronger as a couple, we have never been so happy and sure about our love.
This whole history taught me so much, it taught me that we need to accept that things are out of our hands, we can’t control everything in our life. It gave me such a strong mindset, hard times look like they are going to be forever, but they’re not, we just need to keep going, living, accepting and embracing all our feelings, understanding our emotions, asking for help and to be able to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean a person doesn’t experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering. Resilience involves the ability to work through emotional pain and suffering. We cannot control everything around us, but I believe we can choose how we will deal with everything around us. Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
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