Tracey Stevens

I am First Nations, originating from Gamillaray Country, now living and working Gubbi Gubbi. My immense passion for supportive mental health and suicide prevention/awareness/postvention stems from my lived experience and runs deep. My mother’s suicide when she was 59. As a result of my life, I have C-PTSD, anxiety, MDD and have survived several major traumas in my life stemming from the suicide of my mother, domestic violence (exposure as a child and as a survivor), physical/emotional/sexual abuse from the age of 5 years old, neglect, my own suicide attempts, homelessness, and a genuine fear for my life growing up. My mother was diagnosed with Munchausen by-proxy, bipolar and one of my sister’s, schizophrenia – another sister I had lost at a young age. Raised by our abusive, single mother. Assaulted by her future boyfriends.  As I grown woman now, I have a mature understanding of my mother’s own struggles with her mental health. She just slept for days – suffering migraines I thought, hoping I would never get them. She was absent. I grew up in foster homes that changed daily sometimes, often barely not going to school, not being able to make friends, establish a home. We moved so much, I never knew what a stable, loving home or life was. I never felt loved. My mother was battling something I was too young to comprehend.  I just recall that I felt rejected, unloved, and being the eldest of my siblings, I knew I had to ensure they were as safe as I could help them to be in an environment that terrified me – let alone them. Moving forward – I was kicked out of home at 16, which meant I had to leave my siblings behind, the youngest was 4. I enrolled in Tafe and started working, trying to make something of my life and myself, despite the memories of being told “you will never be anything”. I had a growth mindset from a young age. I needed to break this curse of trauma that inflicted my family. So, every day … I fight. Harder and harder. For my children and for myself. Despite this summary of my life, and if you have stuck with me this far, I thank you, cause maybe you have lived experience too? Or know of someone who is? If so, I applaud you for hanging in there and staying with us. You’re a fighter. You have spirit! We’re all here for you.