A parent was exposed to our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program when her daughter submitted a story for publishing in The #writeforthesilent Project with Global Community Partner Stand for the Silent. She has seen the impact of our program as a parent and believes that youth everywhere in Australia should have access to Writing for the Soul Workshop™ and she shared her story with us:
In May 2011, I was at work when the phone rang and my mum told me the unbelievable sad news that my dad passed away. A heart attack ripped my dad out of our lives so fast.
My daughter Zarah and I were always very close to him. He was Zarah’s rock. A dark cloud started to build upon us. It’s always hard to deal with the loss of a loved one, and only people who have experienced this for themselves can relate to this pain. Zarah was very good how she dealt with my dad’s passing (that’s what I thought), she was my rock. It felt like a blanket was put over my head and I concentrated on work to escape and to turn the switch off from any sadness.
That was my biggest mistake.
What I did not realize was how unwell my beautiful daughter had become. How sad she was, and how much pain she carried inside her. It happened around the same time she’d gotten bullied very badly. She went through hell every day, and out of her concern for me -she did not want to worry me. So she hid it behind a fake smile and kept her battle and pain inside her. Her grief was and still is today very present. My dad was her best friend. Where was I in her darkest hours, when she needed me most?
She went through so much agony inside her soul. So much pain that she felt there was no way out and she struggled to find peace. In September 2013 she planned her very last day. She said goodbye to everyone. She was ready to return to heaven. But it was not meant to be.
Everyday I am so grateful that she did not succeed.
(These sentences took a lot of tears to write.)
I feel like I left her alone when she needed me most. I am so angry with myself for not being able to protect her from all this. Each time I see new cuts on her wrist, thighs, belly or chest …I’m lost. I feel like I failed because I was not able to protect her from her pain. Will I ever be able to forgive myself? Not sure, but I hope what’s more important is that she can forgive me.
I quit my Job and focused on her, trying wherever I could to help her recovery. It is still present. It happens that one day at school, they watched the movie” Bully” and in this movie (she related very much to) she came across the organization ” Stand for the Silent “. She liked them on Facebook. They had a project running with TGIM to submit “their story” for publishing in The Bully Diaries, I did not know Zarah submitted her story until I received an e-mail from TGIM Digital Publishing saying that Zarah’s story had been chosen to be published. Once the The Bully Diaries was released, Zarah shared her story and promoted the book at an anti-bullying seminar in Perth.
Wow! You cannot imagine how proud I was and still am. When I read her story my heart ripped apart. Never ever had I imagined the pain she carried inside.
As time goes by, Zarah is slowly getting better every day. We hold on to every baby step forward. Her wounds in her soul are deep and the scars on her body will be left forever …but she has a story to tell. A story so deep and meaningful that it will help others to survive and find hope.
I witnessed one of the most horrible things a parent can ever go through: the suicide attempt of my own child. It has changed a lot for me.
Every one deserves to be happy, to be recognized and to be someone. To be heard when spoken. The silence has been far too long. I’ve found strength and I want to break this silence. Through all my experiences with Zarah, I saw how writing can heal. I decided in my heart to fight for the ones who are still invisible and to offer them a place to be seen, understand, heard and welcomed.
I want to raise awareness and to fight the stigmatism of mental health and suicide. I want to do everything possible in my life to help to reduce children and teen suicide. No child or teen, nor anyone else deserves to carry so much pain in their soul. It’s time to be free. -Caroline Nowotny
Chances are that you experienced bullying in your life. Whether your experience was as a victim, a bystander, or the bully, if you search your memories, you will probably find instances when bullying was a part of your life. For many of us, these experiences have defined us and shaped us. Our experiences made us stronger, and helped us become who we are today.
When you are being bullied, it is hard to think about much more than getting through today. For others, there is no today. Their experience being bullied was too overwhelming, and drove them to a devastating and permanent solution to the temporary pain.
Will you contribute your story to our #Writeforthesilent Project? Who knows …perhaps YOUR story just may prevent another young person from being another victim of bullycides. Use the form below to submit your story.
More about Writing for the Soul Workshop™
As you can see, Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is a proven and viable tool for any school, or youth mentoring organization. What’s more exciting is that the youth also benefit in multiple ways. Writing for the Soul Workshop™ differs from other “writing as therapy” type programs because our participants have the opportunity to become published authors, and earn an income based on a self created marketing strategy with expert advice. This long term financial opportunity for participants creates a strong desire to continue moving forward towards their dreams.
Our core program philosophy is based on the fact that powerful emotions have a powerful voice; and that when we get what is on the inside out, we take control of those feelings, and make smarter behavior choices as a result. Our workshops offer participants the opportunity to put their learning into action, and build their financial independence. The flexibility of our program means that any school or organization can benefit from our curriculum, and positively impact the academic success of their students. Our program offers adaptations for Individuals with Differential Abilities, focused on what they can accomplish, not their “special needs.”
Our workshop addresses not just educational outcomes, but emotional and physical needs as well. Here are the wow factors experienced by participants in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ :
· Experience writing as therapy
· Access to counseling
· Nutritious meals and snacks
· Lasting, positive friends and mentors creating an ongoing network of support
· Increased proficiency in both reading and writing
· Participants become published Authors, and can promote that skill on every future resume and job application
· Participants earn royalties based on individual book sales
· Participants establish strong accomplishments that will help with future entry into colleges and the job market
These unique wow factors go beyond helping participants develop a love of writing; they produce long term behavioral changes and helps participants make positive life choices. While it may seem incredible that a writing workshop can impact behavior so dramatically, Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is more than just a writing workshop, it is an opportunity for individuals to see a different perspective, to interact with others that truly care about them and their story, and to know that telling their story opens up new opportunities.
Want to test our program in your community? Complete the Contact Form below to find out how to book an Expo, or how to make Writing for the Soul Workshop™ a viable component to what your organization already has in place.