The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of suicidal ideation and suicide. 

A trend has recently been circulating in the online recovery community, where people use photos to debunk the phrase, ‘You can always tell when someone isn’t okay.’ This made me think about the first time I attempted to end my life. The 12-year-old who thought things would never get better and that their family was better off without them. My heart breaks for my younger self and all the other tamariki and rangatahi whose pain is unbearable.

If you are a young person or supporting someone who is, I want you to know that right now doesn’t define the course of your life. You have the tools within and around you to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I hated that phrase when I was twelve because I didn’t see the light. I was staring at the wall in the tunnel, not the end of it. If that’s you, you’re not alone. I’ve been where you are. Now, I’ve turned my head and can see the light. I know you can, too, if you are determined to stay.

My social worker at the time told me to repeat ‘I can’ until I started to believe it, but I couldn’t say it once. I felt like I couldn’t do anything and would never be able to. Eight years later, I believe I am capable of anything I put my mind to. Affirmations have helped me greatly with developing this belief, along with stepping outside of my comfort zone. This helped me realise the world isn’t as scary as my mind told me it was and I have more skills within me than I realised.

It’s an uphill battle, there’s no denying that. However, every step is worth it. I am proud of every step you take towards the light. You deserve to reach the end of the tunnel and I will celebrate when you do.

-Ellen

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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