Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of abuse, bullying, sexual abuse, suicide and suicidal ideation.
Sometimes I forget that my life has an effect on others. How I choose to impact their lives really depends on my mental capabilities each and every moment of the day.
I grew up with a big whānau. As the second eldest child of 8, I had to grow up faster than I wanted to. With this kind of expectation came a world of struggle: loss of identity, lack of self-worth, never seen, never heard, overlooked, guardian to younger siblings, the list goes on.
Along with all these came standard issues for me when a home is overcrowded, such as poverty, bullying, sexual abuse, and so on. This all created a perfect concoction for darkness to invade my mind and soul.
I can remember the first time as an 8-year-old child thinking suicide would be a perfect way to be seen, heard, noticed, and even end the pain of having to hide my shame. Now, I look back and think, “How did I manage to stop those recurring thoughts from becoming a reality?”
It wasn't until I thought about it that I realised it was being light for others in the dark spaces. I had a responsibility to love and care for and serve others as a child and even as an adult. The key that kept me glued to reality was knowing that others needed and even depended on my light in their world.
Even though I struggled to want to connect with others during my dark times, I had to keep pushing forward to help encourage others to see their value too. So, if no one has ever told you, yes you do matter and you do add value.
You, my friend, are a needed light in the darkness. If not for yourself, for those you love and those you haven't yet met who NEED your light in their darkness.
-Mary TVoices 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!