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Stories of Hope

Finding the Means to be Strong Again


bulletAuthor:    Casey
bulletAge:        19


November 12 1999. I was happy. 17 years old. Successful at school, sport. Horse riding. Everything. Everyone came to me for help. I had loads of friends. I got on with my parents. I was in a happy relationship with my then boyfriend. And 2 best friends in the world, twins, Jack and Trine. I seemed to have it all. I had had a bad fall off my horse about a year before that. My good friend Kylie had helped me to get back up. I had damaged a vertebrae in my lower back. It took all my strength to be back. But I was. I was good. But most of all happy.
November 13 1999. My world fell apart. My friend Kylie was driving up to the horses and died in a car accident. I didn't grieve her properly. I didn't know what grief was. I shut it out. When we returned home from her funeral there was a phone call. It was Jack and Trine's mum. The twins have cystic fibrosis. A terminal lung disease. Jack was really sick in hospital. Her systems were shutting down and the doctor said she wouldn't live past Christmas. She was strong my darling Jack was, and she lived until February 5 2000. After she died at home with Trine and I by her side, it hit me...all my grief. Double whammy. I couldn't handle it, and went into counseling. I threw myself into every possible leadership role at school. Anything to be successful again....and not have to deal with Jack and Kylie's deaths. I was deep in depression before I even knew what it was. I started going to counseling and I found faith. Eventually I started to pull out of it. Trine and I struggled on. But it's not the same. Trine is lonely - and dying too.
I threw myself into Youthline Counselling. Got trained and started helping others. I thought I'm fine. I'm ok. And I can help others. I was strong when another close friend tried to commit suicide. But I couldn't trust anyone. I was absolutely terrified that if I trusted someone with everything that they would die too. I stopped getting on with my parents. I broke up with my boyfriend. I couldn't do anything right and my grades fell. Friends were there, but not really there at all.
And then in February 2001 1 year after Jack died I found Paul and Liz at university I knew Paul from Primary school. It was so strange, for someone who couldn't trust anyone, I found comfort with these two. Liz and Paul soon knew everything. And then I fell in love with Paul. And we were ok for a little bit....everyone thought he liked me too. And then he got a girlfriend. And in a sense I lost him too. I lost what we had. And it brought back all my feelings of grief and loneliness from Jack and Kylie. And it hit me hard. I started cutting. And finally got the courage to tell Liz. And I found out she cuts too. And I told Paul. He was so good at first. There for me. But here we are July 2001 and Paul is losing patience with me. He doesn't understand. Others have found out I cut, and desperately want me to stop. And I'm doing ok. I've been in counseling, again. And I get stronger everyday. Some things about Paul upset me. But he is my best friend. The sort of person I can sit in complete silence with, and feel like I've had the best conversation of my life. I don't want to lose him. But I am. I have found Dan. He's so good for me. Some things about Paul make me want to cut. EVERYTHING about Dan makes me want to stop.

Slowly I'm finding the means to be strong again. I'm holding on to the good things, and trying to let go of the bad. I've realised it's ok to not be ok, and if you feel you're at the bottom, your absolute low, then the only way is up. Trine is in hospital right now. She's starting to get sick...the way Jack did. Paul and I are fighting. But all of that is ok. Because I'm learning to deal with it, in my own way. Not becoming too involved. Thinking about myself, instead of others so much. Focusing on me. I can't wait till the day I am the way I used to be. Strong, but most of all happy. But you can't really go back, so it will be a new kind of happiness. I will be someone who has suffered the hurt and survived. It is possible, and I can't wait till that beautiful day.