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Shared Stories

This is a platform for the sharing of stories about journeys, challenges and creating meaning. I believe the reflecting on and recording of knowledges and resources are an importamt part of healing and growing. These are some of the stories of hope coming from people I’ve been honoured to work with. Their wish is that their stories might be of comfort and inspiration to others in similar positions. 

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” – Joan Didion

"I am learning new things about who I am everyday"

My journey with guilt and shame started many years ago. I just never knew what to call it. I thought it was just who I am: not good enough, not important enough, just nothing.


To go for therapy was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make. I knew I could not do it half way, or half heartedly. I had to give it my all – and I did, I still do. It was difficult and hard and painful. But, knowing that I am not alone made all the difference.


For so long I believed that I am alone - and that it would never be OK to just be me. To be me is still difficult, maybe I just don’t believe that I am nothing, all the time anymore – and that is already a hundred steps forward.


Now I have names for my emotions. I know when I am sad, and I know when I am angry. And I know the difference. I have the right to feel, and to say what I feel. This means the world to me. It is like learning a new language I never knew exited. I quite like it.


My journey is still ongoing and I am learning new things about who I am everyday. But I also have hope now, more than before. My voice is stronger, and most amazingly others can also hear me now, and this feels wonderful.


ME (41)

My story of hope

Hi, my story of hope is not one of huge accomplishments or big changes. It is knowing that I am allowed to live a life that is meaningful - to me. Regardless of what others may feel or believe to be right I am the expert of my life. For the first time ever, I am able to look at myself in the mirror and like what I see, purely because I have realised that literally everything I did before was done from a place based in fear. Fear of what my family would say, fear of what people at school might think (but might not say)... fear of not being good enough.


Now, fear still visits from time to time, but I know now that there are ways to keep fear further away from me. So maybe I should use the word "concern" rather than fear. I have ways to keep myself safe and to protect my new knowledge. I enjoy crafts, and music and my friends. This is truly special. I have hope again.


"nomorefear" - 17

Living my life without regrets

Every one of us has something of the past that we wish we could have done or dealt with differently, or maybe even never done at all. But, as time goes by we get older, we learn and grow. That does not mean we have to regret what we did before we learned how to do things differently. If we do not go through experiences, we will not learn or grow. Everything in life cannot be good nor is everything in life bad; we need to learn to take the good with the bad. Whether we want to believe it or not, or how we deal with it is entirely up to each one of us. I believe that everything happens for a reason and the hard times we go through builds our character, making us stronger people in the end.


I don’t want to grow old with regrets of all the things I should or shouldn’t have done or could have done, etc… I want to grow old gracefully; I want to live a life that won’t make me feel regretful – not even at an older, wiser age.


The past 4 – 5 years of intense therapy, with all its ups and downs, has given me a very different perspective of life and how important it is to have a balanced life. To me, as an individual, there are far more important things in life than money or worldly possessions and again, each person needs to decide and choose for themselves how they wish to live their lives. At the end of the day, we choose our own destinations.


For years I have crucified myself between regret for the past and fear of the future, instead of just joining the journey of life and enjoying the ride. Acknowledging past weaknesses does not make me a reconverted, perfectly invincible being: no, no, not at all. It is a change in mindset; realizing that it is okay to make mistakes as long as I learn from my past mistakes and even more importantly, to forgive myself so that I can move on.


A change in mindset requires, to some extent, a shifting of priorities. For me it was also a decision to stand up for myself, face my fears head on and do the things I thought I would never be able to do without letting anything hold me back; follow my own path in life and not the one other people have always chosen for me. I’ve taken control of negative thoughts so that they will never contribute to the outcome of my life. I want to be happy and be able to share that happiness with everyone I meet; spend time with people who make me happy, without depending on people for my own happiness. I want to take part in life itself; live for the ‘now’ by loving the present, baring no grudges, never standing in judgment of anyone else but rather loving and accepting them for who they are; treating everyone with respect and compassion and becoming that person that I would want to spend the rest of my life with!!


I embrace creativity. I want to do the things I love to do as often as I possibly can; do something every day that makes me feel proud of myself – even if it is random acts of kindness whenever I get the chance. My health and wellness are a top priority now; I must take care of myself so that I can take care of the people I love.


Last but not least, I think the most important thing of all is that I want to be ‘ME’; love myself as I am now and move forward.


Written by Jacky

"I decided to be me"


For 10 years I kept a secret. For 10 years I was consumed with fear. Until I decided to be me. . . Completely. Uncloseted. 

I'm gay! It's so great and overwhelming to say that out loud especially because of the journey I've been on to get me here. 

I was raised in a staunch christian household, I was practically born in the church. That and various other factors made it extremely hard for me to accept my sexuality. How was it possible for my family to accept me if i couldn't accept myself. 


It's at that point I sought the guidance of Anelle. I was at a cross roads in my life and I just felt like I could no longer keep this secret, the burden became to heavy to carry and it was making me unhappy. The thought of coming out to my parents was stressful and gave me sleepless nights because I was convinced that they would disown me and even more so they'd be disappointed in me. 


Those thoughts couldn't have been further from the truth. My parents and brothers response upon receipt of the news was amazing! I still can't believe it! My moms response stunned me the most as I was totally unprepared for it. She was the one I feared the most. They were all so accepting, so loving like nothing was ever said. My family said that they loved me, I'm still their daughter and me being gay wont change anything. I'm still the same person they raised me to be. They said that just like this was a journey for me, it too is a journey for the entire family because it was 'uncharted territory'. 

I could never have imagined a better response. 


Seeking help from a psychologist was very daunting yet well worth the experience. I've realised that being fearful is emotionally draining and it can stint my happiness if I give it that power. Also, people can choose to respond in a good and a not so good way and if I'm consumed with fear, i would automatically perceive them to portray the latter. Even though this was a 10 year challenge, I believe that it was necessary for me to go through all of that in order for me to reach this point. I am blissfully continuing on to the next chapter of my life. 

I've shared my journey in an attempt to encourage others to take a leap of fearless faith and be the person they are meant to be... Completely. 


Happy :) 27

"My life has completely changed. "


I always believed that anxiety was apart of who I was and that it was normal to live with anxiety but that it would fluctuate with certain stressors. Initially Anelle taught me some practical exercises to help aleviate the anxiety I suffered from so heavily - sometimes resulting in panic attacks but generally always apart of my day to day life.


Through continuous discussion and becoming aware of my triggers I eventually learnt how to control my anxiety and better my life to combat it all together.


I no longer take any anti-anxiety medication and live a balanced healthy life. My life has completely changed.


Ashley Mendes