It’s my pleasure to meet you at this time of your life, I am Bridget O’Brien. I have been out of the whom for sixteen years and have been in this life, the same life as all of you for sixteen years. A lot of stuff has happened in these sixteen years, it’s hard to believe i’m only sixteen!

But anyway let me get into more about myself. I would explain myself as that crazy energetic one … (sometimes) but then I get very quiet and shy during different situations. I love my sport, cooking, fashion and people. I have hazel eyes, dark brown hair, olive skin and am 5.6 foot tall. I have changed a lot throughout the sixteen years of being here as I’m sure you all have also. I’m so intrigued on people’s lives and how amazing it is that every one person has such a different life story to another. So far during my own life I know I have learnt so much and when people say ‘there is always a reason why’ for something that has been done or said, I believe this statement 100% (well maybe 99% cause some people say some bullshit) because life is an experience in itself whether you see it now or not. But in life there is amazing things that bring you happiness and relief. If you as an individual can not see that now I want to share my life story with you and try help you see lightness in the darkness you are going through. But I need to have one promise, you have to be willing to be happy and go conquer life like you are meant to!

I was six years of age when my life started to flip. I was the middle child of 5 living in Connecticut, USA. My Mum was a model in New York City and my Father was a builder in our town. I was a very shy little girl and would typically pee my pants every single day at kindergarten because I would be too embarrassed to ask to go to the bathroom. Then the day came where my Mother and Father suddenly decided we’re moving to some random country called ‘New Zealand’, the country full of sheep we used to think. We left our friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and all those families that knew us kids as their own. I felt so alone. It took me a while to settle in and it was very hard to go to school everyday because I was so shy and going to a new school was very hard for me, especially being this age. But of course over time things got much easier for me and I got to relax in myself and not be so tense and scared. This has made me realise over time that when you personally are being pushed to your own boundaries it’s mentally challenging; but to overcome this challenge I personally think it’s best to keep going with everyday and things will settle down.

That time had to come around when my parents started to argue… a lot, which moved into fighting and my father vocally abusing my mother in front of us kids. I was eight at this stage in life so I did have an idea of what was happening and it felt like my life was being ripped in half. Then at the age of ten my dad left to America, left Mum to singley look after us 5 kids, I thought them fighting was hard enough on us kids, but my Father from birth leaving us was heartbreaking and forever will be. These days it’s becoming a reality that parents split up, it’s crazy and breaks my heart. I have learned that when obstacles that arise that are heartbreaking, it’s always for a reason. I realised that my dad needed to get away from New Zealand and be back in America to be with our distant family, and to make a living. I know that I disagreed with his decision and sometimes I still get caught up in it, but he needed to do what he needed to do. Sometimes we need to put our own wellbeing before others.

At 11 years old, life got hard…really damn hard. Not only for me, but for everyone who loved me. I got diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, I was rushed to hospital and put right on life support as the football sized tumor was taking over my body. Dad flew to Christchurch from America and while his daughter was about to die he stands across the hospital bed apposite  Mum arguing and blaming Mum for the reason I have cancer. This will always be in my mind how rude and abusive my Father is to my Mother.

I went through the process of chemo and surgery. That time for me was a blur, being 11 felt like I just visited hell and came back to life. Sometimes I think back on that period of my life and think about what it would be like if I didn’t survive it. During this time my Dad left back to America without telling anyone and they weren’t sure if I was going to survive or not. I ask myself to this day, does he even care about me? My Mum also had an affair with another guy during this period and my Mum and Dad got divorced. I survived, clearly. ‘When so much bad has happened in one country, it’s hard to keep living there knowing it’s only done bad to you,” my Dad said. I understand this now and that if he stayed in New Zealand his own wellbeing might have been at risk as well as mine, as I’ve said, sometimes you’ve got to make a decision that’s best for yourself…even though that may be the hardest thing to do.

After getting a restraining order on my dad at the age of 12 seemed crazy to my little brother and sister. But it was the only way to get this crazy, stalking, abusive man out of my life. I couldn’t stand to have him bully me anymore. But after him getting put into jail after illegally betraying the restraining order, he blamed it on me. He accused me of being the reason that he broke the law. It’s his choice to break the law and I knew this deep down. I used to hide in the bathrooms at school when I’d see him walking outside my classroom, it’s hard that this man is my Father. Sometimes people that should be there for you aren’t always equipped to do so. But to know that another persons decisions are not yours, or are not your fault is essential. If your always criticising yourself because of someone else’s criticism about you, you will only go backwards in life. To be true to your self and stick up for yourself takes a lot of self believe and can be hard for some. If you constantly remind yourself this, it will get easier. 

I decided to forgive my father for everything and accept him back into my life. So at the age of fourteen I decided to move to America to live with my Dad. It was all fun at first, but of course there’s always something not so good that comes next. My Father physically abused me to the point where I had to do something and tell someone. So I called my Mum, which then she booked me a flight back to New Zealand. When I got back home I started back at school and all was going good and I thought I had found the love of my life ‘Jack’. We started dating and I loved life, I was so happy and I was so connected to all my friends. This threw me because I finally decided to forgive my dad and then I get let down, again. Times like these do arise and it can really make you feel like you can never forgive anyone again. But I’ve had to learn that everyone has different behaviours and that some people don’t know how to control there anger. To remove yourself from these situations before it gets to far, is what i’ve learnt.

Then the next year came around and I was now 15! Jack told me that he was moving away and going to boarding school, I broke down. Jack was my best friend. But we got past the bad stuff and made the long distance work. Until a month into him being away he cheated on me with another girl and I wanted to end my life I didn’t know what to do with myself. But I forgave him and we got back together and he was still my best friend and I’d lay in bed on the phone to him every second I could. Then I had an ectopic pregnancy and was in hospital, which caused so much stress to my Mum and my siblings and of course myself. I thought I had spent enough time in hospitals. Peoples decisions can break you and tear your heart apart. It’s hard to get back up and continue on with life. I have chosen to see the good in people and sometimes you have to decide what side of people you see and how you want to spend your time living.

Now we are here. I am 16 years old. I suffer from severe depression and anxiety, I had to break up with Jack because I felt his pain that he was going through with me and it was time to say goodbye to him as I didn’t even know who I was at this time. Also because I was planning on killing myself and I didn’t want him to go through that, because I know he would be so torn up for a huge period about this. That was so goddamn hard! Letting my best friend of 3 years go, saying goodbye to all the love he offered me and his support. I had attempted suicide twice after this and he was there for me no matter what. He always was so supportive and I’m ever so grateful! ‘Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else’ this is what I’ve came to realise over time. When you think you’ve given your all and you have held on for too long and you are still not seeing it getting any better, then I can agree, you just want to give up. But every single bad thing that has occurred in your own life, is unique and builds you up as a person. My Mum has always told me that no matter how many bad things that have happened in your life, they all will build you up to being a stronger person. You will be able to achieve more in your future because of your experiences, and really you have seen the worst and soon will see why you held on for this long.

Buy hey! I’m so happy right now and I feel like every shitty thing in my life is all added up to be an experience called ‘life’ and with Jack, yes we found a connection but everyone including me and you will find many of those throughout your life. But sometimes if your struggling so much beneath yourself, being apart from someone else may be making it harder for you to know who you really are. To make sure I’m in a good head space I stay active and eat healthy nutritious foods. I would personally advise every single human to do these two things. I know when you feel like shit all you want to do is go to your room and hide in there, but to get out of this habit of feeling this way, step out of what you feel comfortable doing. If you keep telling your mind and body to go outside and to eat good food you will start to feel better beneath yourself, but you need to believe that you can do this and you need to want this.

Life can be so shit, but oh my gosh when you find a moment that’s so worth living for its the best feeling ever, but to feel those feelings you need to reconnect with yourself. I know that so many people struggle from depression and other mental illnesses but most people don’t want to get through it because it’s like a dark heavy cloud holding you down following you everywhere! It can be so emotionally and mentally hard on a person and can be very tiring. For the people with severe depression and don’t want help from counsellors and mental health therapists I have been in your exact position. I didn’t want to hear the bullshit they had to say to me because that’s their job and they are only saying that stuff because thats what they are meant to do, it just didn’t make any sense to me. All I needed was a friend, to just talk to and tell them how I was feeling. I used that as a distraction from being in that place where that cloud would stick to me, hold me down like magnets, make me feel so shit and mentally drained. Write a journal, I have a journal in my phone I write in whenever I have something to say, sometimes its just ‘I feel like shit’. But its getting it of you’re chest and your not holding it in.

You can do this and I believe in every single one of you struggling in life. Remember this is an experience, so do what you would do if you could see your situation from a distance. Do whatever makes you happy because you are on this planet for a purpose, make it worth it!

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