Give it Time

Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of assault and trauma. 

My name is Zoë, I am 25 years young and I live in Auckland, New Zealand. Life has not dealt me the easiest cards, particularly in the last few years. 

I used to spend every single day battling intense suicidal thoughts. I felt such despair, and the idea of continuing seemed unbearable. Slowly, I began to fall in love with life again. I began to smile (authentically) about a year ago and my family and friends noticed a light in me, one that they had not seen for a while, not so long ago. I would be lying if I said I am cured because I know now that wounds really do take their time to heal. It’s not a process that can be rushed, but the thoughts have lessened, and I am having better days. 

Giving myself things to look forward to, created a shift in my life. I love travel, so I’ve consistently booked trips over the last few years to propel myself through difficult times. I started creating music again, which is a great way to express, process and create beauty from pain. Booking travel and recording music got me to work, as I felt I had a newfound purpose for my finances. The saying ‘work to live’ and ‘live to work’ started to ring true. 

I also started to realise that I could use my trauma for good. I have gained a sixth sense, which in my role as an emergency nurse has been useful in connecting, empathising and (hopefully) helping patients feel safe, less alone and empowered. Moreover, I have a great therapist who I see once or twice a week. Whether going to therapy has been in person or via Zoom, consistency has been key for me. My therapist and I created a safety plan, I consolidated key skills that resonated with me, we created goals and I write weekly updates to increase the productivity of our sessions. 

Aware of an upcoming court case this year for an assault I fell victim to back in 2021, I made the decision to abstain from alcohol for a year. Most of the time when I drink, I will be completely fine and have a great time. However, when I do become triggered or sad when I am intoxicated, it makes everything 100 times worse. I decided it wasn’t worth playing roulette with this anymore. I also had to come to terms with the unfair but necessary realisation that when you’ve faced adversity, you can’t compare yourself to your peers. I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t be a ‘normal person in their 20’s’ (whatever normal even means). The truth is my brain functions differently and I can’t risk losing my inhibitions further. 

I have now been six months sober and I am here to tell you that I quite often am having the most fun out of everyone. I also have a great support system. I used to have lots and lots of friends, but when things got really tough, that number grew smaller. I used to be sad about this, but now I am thankful and grateful, as I am left with the good ones - a group of amazing, loyal, trustworthy, reliable, empathetic, strong and kind friends. Now, when things get tough, I think, if all else fails, at least I still have my family and friends. I know they aren’t going anywhere and that is a truly wonderful blessing. Wherever you are in your journey, know that it does get better and sometimes you won’t see it right away. Give it time, because you deserve time. You deserve it all, you wonderful soul. You didn’t deserve this pain and I’m sorry you have to fight a battle that someone else likely caused, but I am proud of you. Keep going xx


Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!

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