You gave me hope, thank you. I do not know how will I ever repay you for saving my life …
I have been meaning to get psychological help since I was fourteen years old, after I tried to kill myself. This was about five years after the death of my mother who died of breast cancer. In the space of five years, so many things happened, I watched my family fight over our family possessions and lose them all, I found out that the lady that used to do my hair and who used to accompany my dad and I on his long work trips in my mom’s absence was actually my father’s mistress and not his work colleague’s wife as he had led us to believe. I also had to deal with sharing my father with his ‘other kids’ who now cropped up from the middle of no where, kids he got from his many mistresses. And if sharing him with them was not enough, I felt like he loved them more than he loved me.
My one brother got married four months after my mom’s death; he and his young new wife became my second set of parents. I knew that she loved me, but our relationship was not always easy in the backdrop of everything that was happening. All this at fourteen, and worse of all I felt that I had never had time to deal with the loss of my mother. I had had enough and I think that’s why I decided to end it.
So I did not die- thank God! After I got discharged from the hospital, we had a family meeting to discuss “my issues”. I remember during that meeting thinking that “wow, I cant believe that it took a failed suicide attempt to get my family to listen to me, to get my dad’s attention”.
Fast forward to my twenties and several other things that happened to me. I started to become anti-social, I did not know what was real in my life and what was not.
After many days of feeling depressed, anxious and even suicidal, I decided to seek help. Finally after eight years of thinking about therapy, I finally got on the phone and started asking for help. But at first I did not think that I would get help. The psychologist that I called told me that it would cost me between R800 for me to see them for an hour. I did not have that kind of money so the thought that getting my life back on track was going to be hampered by the fact that I could not afford to pay for the help that I needed to do so worried me a lot.
But I refused to give up. After many phone calls, I finally got through to the Good Hope Psychological Services, and they told me that they could help me.
At my first appointment, I met H. and she introduced herself as my counsellor. At first, it was hard for me to tell a stranger about my feelings and my pain. But after the first few moments of talking to her, I started to feel very comfortable in our space and in that way, I was now more free to open up.
I have been going for therapy now for more than two months, and I cannot begin to tell you how much my sessions with H. have helped me. The journey has been enlightening, and sometimes it has been hard. There have been days where I did not feel like going to therapy because I was afraid of what I would feel like when I finished the session(drained and emotional), but I am glad that I have been going to all my sessions so far. I have learned so much about myself and how I view the world. I now know exactly what my issues are and I think that I am starting to get a handle on them. I am not yet healed, but I feel as if therapy has given me the tools that I need to help me deal with all my issues and become more in control of my life. Up to now, I have always felt that my family’s actions and mistakes controlled my life in a way and that somehow I was just a drifter in life’s cruel game- but now I am learning through therapy how to become my own person but still be part of my family.
I am starting to feel this senses of freedom and lightness in my heart and soul that I have never felt before. I think I am ready to live again for the first since my mom died.
You gave me hope- thank you. I do not know how will I ever repay you for saving my life.
(Woman in her twenties)