I was 18 when I was labeled an “Alcoholic” by my family and on social media and it became so consuming that I developed a huge self stigma. I drank 3 times per year on a 5 day binge, yet I was only known as an alcoholic. My family tried to help but ended up giving me conflicting advice to the ones I received from professionals.
The turning point for me was intensive counselling funded by ACC, when I decided that I didn't want to live like this any longer. I was lucky to find an awesome counsellor who I was able to address my struggle against being sexually assaulted, that I wasn’t able to raise during rehab. It was only through therapy that I discovered I was so much more than an alcoholic. She really helped me in finding myself and my voice.
Today I am at peace with myself, I put my own needs first and work hard on changing the stigma I have about myself. Staying well is something I have to work on every day. I started a peer support group on Facebook for women in South Canterbury, I find it so rewarding to be able to help other ladies. I also love being able to share my story. I hope to be able to continue this type of work in the future.
#BeautifulMinds is a series of raw and honest stories from people sharing their lived experience with mental health in New Zealand. Published with permission. We hope these stories capture the diversity of how mental health affects different people and you can be inspired by their journey towards mental wellbeing. Clearhead’s mission is to destigmatise mental health through raising awareness and encouraging people to feel it is ok to seek help early by giving them the tools to do so. Sign up now to use the platform, it is free to do so!
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