Writing and images by Natalie Norris
It all started September of 2015; I wanted to pursue a happier lifestyle after experiencing quite a few traumatic events. In 2012 when I was in primary school, my paternal grandmother passed away. Not long after this, my maternal grandmother who was suffering from dementia also passed away. I took this really hard and still can’t comprehend it to this day. Later on, I eventually moved to another school and had a pretty rough start; as soon as I left my previous school, I started getting bullied at the new one. Some days, I would wake up not wanting to go to school at all. How can some be so cruel?
It was only about a month before I wrote this that my maternal grandfather took his own life. He’s with grandma now. Try being a young teen like me, smack bang in the middle of assessment time in high school, and having this dark cloud over your head. The day after we found out, I decided to stay home from school as I really wouldn’t have been able to cope. My best friend’s mum who works at my school came around to our home and gave her condolences, and she suggested I go speak to my school’s Youth Support Coordinator. I knew it would take a lot of guts, because I’m not someone who speaks up for herself. But this time, I did. I didn’t want to go through the pain anymore and decided to speak to someone professional for guidance.
The Youth Support Coordinator, Scott, is probably one of the greatest guys I have ever met. He doesn’t look down on me in a school environment as if he’s the tough staff colleague and I’m the inferior student. He would sit down with me and have genuine conversations on what I was experiencing. Over time, I eventually opened up to him about my own suicidal thoughts. I would never act on them as I would never want my family to go through what they did over my grandfather, but they still exist in my head, and I just wanted to tell someone. He was completely understanding and accepted it.
I’ll admit it, I’m still affected daily by the tragedies I faced; however, I’m willing to push myself to make others happy to the best of my ability. I set out thinking of ways to make others around me happy, and found the easiest way to do so was through social media. The beauty of social media is that just about anyone, anywhere, can view what you share. I started with a simple blog page. Using WordPress, I started typing out my raw emotions and daily happenings so people would get inspired to take on goals of their own. I soon realised a blog wasn’t really my thing. Instead, I turned to Instagram; for me, it’s a simple photo sharing platform where you are able to share your ideas about what’s happening, and it’s as easy as that! I still do keep the blog running, I just don’t post on it all that much anymore. My movement has now taken shape on Instagram and I hope this following will continue to grow. @thepositivepath was made in an attempt to spread smiles and more positivity, as I myself see more negativity on the news today than I can bare. I have come across many supportive professionals and even young people who are willing to stand by one another and lend a hand. It’s honestly so amazing to see such a wide community of people who are willing to support one another without judging.
I’m writing this article in awareness of mental health. I don’t mean to ramble on about how poor my life once was; all I want people to know is that we all have different backgrounds and stories. Like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover—you don’t have a clue where that person has come from, or what they’ve experienced. People are able to share their own stories, daily happenings, or quotes with me on my Instagram page just by using #thepositivepath. I hope that even as just an average young girl from QLD, Australia, I can help make a difference to someone’s life. Stay strong, keep smiling.