Lewelin

I wanted so desperately to be loved and accepted and to have someone who cared about me. I’ve always felt like this in relationships, and so I sacrifice myself, I give and give and give and people take and take and take.

My name is Lewelin* and I am a member of the LGBTQAI community.

I was on the verge of losing it all, my problems had gotten the best of me, to the point that even those around me were noticing my change in attitude and behaviours.  I noticed the change within me, but I didn’t have energy to do anything, everything had become meaningless. I was having suicidal thoughts at the time and death seemed like it was the only and rather a welcoming option, there really was nothing much to live for- nothing I could see at least.

All my romantic relationships had failed, l thought and felt like people were only using me, maybe I let them, I wanted so desperately to be loved and accepted and to have someone who cared about me. I’ve always felt like this in relationships, and so I sacrifice myself, I give and give and give and people take and take and take. l had to prove something, l needed to be the strong one, l had to be there for everyone, but one day I realised no one was there for me and that knocked me, I became dark with resentment. The weight of other people was affecting me so much that l ended up having personality issues. A friend of mine decided to talk to me about how my attitude and behaviour had changed and if l continued with this bitterness l was going to lose everyone l love. How could l agree with him when l thought my friends were the centre of my problems!? This same friend gave me something that l am forever grateful for – the Friendship Bench number!

He told me to get in touch with them – you will thank me later he said. At first l did not want to contact them as l believed that doing therapy was some white thing. However, one day when l felt l needed answers for why certain things were happening to me l thought let me contact them, what did I have to lose I asked myself. I WhatsApp-ed to book an appointment and not long after the peer counsellor contacted me. On the very first day l had said everything l was feeling inside, and I was listened to, for once I wasn’t the one doing the listening- this already was amazing to me! As I shared we worked to outline all the problems I was facing and then specified which ones I felt were important for me to work on to make the changes I needed, and was relieved to hear we only work one at a time, I couldn’t have done more than one by one they felt so big.

The counsellor started asking me some questions to help me open up and start formulating a way forward out of the struggle I was in. We came up with something – a workable manageable action plan- that l had to do in our various sessions, this helped a lot; working in steps that is, and knowing that the support was there as I went through them. Going through these sessions was the best thing l did, l felt like a heavy load was taken off my shoulders and I realised that I can be the strong one but also be a human being who needs to be heard and needed to learn what healthy boundaries looked like!

*Names are changed to respect clients privacy

Author: Friendship Bench Zimbabwe

The Friendship Bench provides sustainable community based psychological interventions that are evidence based, accessible and scalable. OUR MISSION: Creating Safe Spaces and a Sense of Belonging in Communities to Enhance Quality of Life ​OUR VISION: A Friendship Bench Within Walking Distance For All OUR VALUES: Empathy & Connection; Anchored in Research

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