CONTENT WARNING: Childhood trauma, abuse, alcoholism and drug use
Lisa* battles to overcome her childhood experiences everyday.
The woman, who lives near the Southern Highlands, was born into and raised in a family affected by alcoholism and domestic violence. Lisa said that up until her late-teens she experienced trauma, abuse and neglect on a daily basis.
Now in her 50s, Lisa wants to tell her story. She hopes to inspire others to reach out for assistance.
"There is not one facet of your life that is not affected when you've experienced childhood trauma," she said.
"Trauma is something I have to live with, but it can't be something that stops me from living."
Growing up Lisa said she didn't have a strong attachment to her family and as a result found it difficult to relate to her peers at school. Even from a young age she felt like an outsider.
As the years passed Lisa began to engage in risk-taking behaviour. She started drinking alcohol in her teens and moved onto drug use in her 20s. For Lisa these behaviours stemmed from her sense of self-worth.
"When you get hit enough times the message you receive is that you are worth nothing," she said.
"Even though I am not responsible for what happened to me in my childhood, I've come to understand it is my responsibility to do something about it.
"You have to be willing to put the effort in to have a better life."
Lisa reached out for assistance when she was in her mid-20s and since then has engaged with the Blue Knot Foundation. The Blue Knot Foundation is a national organisation focused exclusively on empowering recovery and building resilience for the one in four Australian adults who have experienced the impacts of complex trauma.
Lisa became involved with the foundation when she was still in contact with her biological family. She said she was struggling at the time and her family "couldn't validate her experience".
One of the hardest hurdles in recovery is for people to recognise they need support.
"It is really difficult to accept yourself as someone who has experienced abuse and neglect," Lisa said.
"People need to accept and understand that these things happened to them.
"You are not going to heal by yourself, you need support."
Lisa wanted people to know that even though her experiences were challenging she still has a great life.
"You can recover from trauma," she said.
Lisa stressed that people who have experienced childhood trauma are all around us. She said they could be from different backgrounds and carried out a wide variety of jobs in the community.
"Don't discount us, don't think just because of what we've been through we are not worthwhile," she said.
"Make sure there is space for us in the world.
"Sometimes our value comes from what we have experienced."
*Name has been changed to ensure anonymity
If you or anyone you know needs help:
In the case of an emergency call Triple Zero 000
- The Blue Knot Foundation 1300 657 380
- 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- BeyondBlue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
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