Interviewed by Veronica Farmer, images by Ataahua Portraits
There are too many people out there suffering because they do not know how to look within and find out who or what they really are. We are trained to look at external sources for our happiness and they just are not fulfilling. When you know who you are, you remember your knowledge and you want to bring that to the world in whatever way you can.
Over compensating with people and gift giving worked in creating a big group of friends around me for many years, but my depression grew. It didn’t matter how many people I surrounded myself with, I just felt terribly sad- all the time. I was drinking every day. It got so bad that 6 years ago I tried to take my own life and ended up in hospital. There I was in my hospital bed, alone. Not one of those friends came to see me. The only person who came to sit with me was my mother who flew in from another city to be with me.
That was my turning point.
I knew I had to take responsibility for my own happiness and be that person I was so desperate to find in others. I had always refused to take medication for depression over the years, and at that point I was determined to find other solutions that would work for me. This was when I started learning about how the depressed brain works and about cognitive behavioral therapy.
I was hungry to learn everything I could.
What opened great healing in my heart was connecting back into my culture. I joined a kapa haka group, a gathering that comes together to sing and practice Māori music and dance. There was one moment where the group was singing and I began crying, tears falling down my face and a sob in my chest. I didn’t have any of my language then, and found out afterwards, that the waiata (song) was about longing for home. Taking my time to slowly find my language and culture has been very healing for me. There are intuitive gifts there that are ancient, very strong and growing in me. The more I have come to know who I am, I can’t get lost anymore...
THIS IS AN EXCERPT OF ASHLEY DUNN'S STORY, to read more look out for our Made Beautiful by Scars book coming out soon!. Sign up below to hear when the book is available and to read more powerful stories like this!
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