…….’The Heal For Life Foundation-Hennessy House has given me a second chance at life. Before I went I was falling apart, I didn’t want to live, I didn’t understand and no one around me understood. It was amazing to see other people like me and that there was hope. The carers guided me through coping techniques and ways to stop triggers. It was very confronting bringing up the past, the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I wouldn’t be alive if I hadn’t gone to Hennessy House and got the help I truly needed! I am very appreciative for the help I was given. I would definitely recommend giving The Heal for Life Foundation a go. It is the best thing I have done.’
…….The two week Heal for Life program I attended mid way through 2013 was the best, most incredibly rewarding and beneficial experience of my life. Before attending the program, I was lost, frequently self harming, unable to work and had no hopes for my future. Since I have completed the program I have applied and been accepted into university, I have stopped self harming and I am so much more self confident. I attribute this all to Heal for Life. Without this program I would still be lost, depressed and frequently thinking of suicide.The carers at the program are incredibly sensitive and caring, they have a genuine love for what they do. They help you work through the trauma of your past and give you tools to deal with
everyday life. Please if you are a survivor of any kind of abuse or trauma, contact heal for life, it WILL change your life!
…….My name is Anna and I’m 25 years old. I Have done two Hennessy House Programs and plan to do one more before I age out at 26. Heal for Life and the Carers at Hennessy House changed my life. Seriously, they’re basically all volunteers, and have done a heal for life program themselves, so they were constant role models and really tried to understand everyone in the program, they are such brave and courageous people. They taught me it was okay to feel, the good, bad and ugly.
The first time i felt angry, it terrified me, and a carer came up and asked me how I wanted to express those feelings? Well I didn’t want to make any mess or noise or upset anyone, so we got a whole bad of ice cubes, wrapped them up in a towel then I smashed them to bits with a hammer, then once it had turned to mush, we let it fall over the driveway and watched it evaporate. By the time that process was over those feelings dissipated. They helped me start to express my emotions in a healthier way than just keeping them inside.
I got more out of 3 weeks there than 3 years of therapy, because i feel like no matter how much I fell, there would always be someone to catch me.
…….After completing an Hennessy House program in early 2012 I felt like I was able to take the skills I learnt and really live, rather than survive. This was the first place I was acknowledged, validated and seen for much more than what I thought I was, an abused child unworthy of life. I am of the firm belief it takes someone with lived experience to be able to help guide and understand others, and this is what I received from the peer support volunteers at heal for life, nobody downplayed my abuse or told me to get over it, or wrote in a little notepad, these people really understood, really listened instead of formulating responses in their heads and waiting for their turn to speak. It was the validation and safety that was offered to me that helped me gain the courage to begin my healing journey, and it’s the skills and techniques I learnt in workshops that has helped me to stay on it. This program really works if you are ready to make the choice to heal.
…….”My three week healing program in Hennessy House at Heal for Life was a life changing experience when I was just 16! I learned that the abuse I had encountered in my life is not my fault and I never did anything to encourage it. I was taught to release my anger in ways I would never have felt comfortable with until then. Such as screaming into a pillow or at waves at the beach. Hennessy House was the only place I had ever felt I was truly loved and accepted at that point in my life, and still to this day I see it as my second home. All the carers I met on my healing program were amazing, along with the other guests. Everything the carers do at Heal for Life makes you feel so welcome and like you are not alone. Because you’re NOT ALONE! It is a beautiful place, and if you feel like you need a place of acceptance to get through any abuse you have been through, I highly recommend this amazing organisation! Everything I learned at Heal for Life has stayed with me for the past 2 years, and has let me live my life to the fullest extent! I could never thank these beautiful people enough.
“Through healing I’ve learnt the abuse was never my fault. I was just a child; innocent in every way”
“Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It takes amazing courage and we do deserve all the help we can get”
“Drugs, alcohol, cutting, starving, purging, suicide attempts, serious mental health issues, years of hospitalisation, such extreme self-hate and loathing. No one ever thought it would end. I was told I’d never get any better. I felt I was a waste of time, space and energy…. But today I now know different. I am much stronger than I or anyone ever thought. All I needed to begin to see it was somewhere that could offer me support, understanding, love, non-judgement, a safe place to feel and a way through the pain. This is what the Heal For Life Foundation offers. Nothing can ever change what I’ve been through but now I know I can change who I become.”
“I know that with my extreme determination and drive, combined with the priceless lessons I have acquired here, I can conquer any mountain”
“Hennessy House is the best thing that ever happened to me. If it wasn’t for the beautiful, caring, loving people here I honestly wouldn’t be here today to enjoy life”
“I was in and out of hospital for over three years dealing with the psychological effects that my abuse was having on me. I was ready to give up because nothing was helping me and nobody understood. But then I found Heal for Life Foundation. By the end of the program I had dreams and wanted to live again. The change in me was unbelievable.”
“This seemed to be what I was searching for; a place where it was OK to feel how I felt, get angry, cry, say what I wanted without fear. I began to understand myself and my worth and in turn I was understood and loved.”
“I am a survivor of child abuse and can say I have had my life turned upside down because of how much pain I kept inside of me for so long. I was so misunderstood and turned to many different coping mechanisms during my struggle; it was the only way I knew how to survive. No body seemed to understand. I spent years holding onto my feelings of anger, sadness, betrayal, shame, isolation and fear. No one could help me…. When I finally discovered Heal for Life Foundation I had almost totally gave in to the nightmares of my past and the damaging effects it was having on me. One more try I said to myself….and I am so glad I found the strength to do it. At Hennessy House I wasn’t looked at like I was someone who was crazy or a freak. I wasn’t fed medication to make me better and wasn’t told to “get over it”. It made so much difference being supported by other survivors who understood why I was the way I was. They were proof that it was possible to change your life around. They actually cared about me and my healing. I was given the respect and validation I had never had before and the information I got from the workshops was invaluable. Heal for Life Foundation is such a beautiful peaceful place filled with so much love and hope. I remember at the end of my program I was crying because I wanted to live and I believed that it was possible. I hadn’t felt that in such a long time. Today I am becoming someone who I never could have imagined was possible. And I owe that to the help of Heal for Life Foundation. If it wasn’t for all the support and encouragement I received there, I would sadly have to say that I probably wouldn’t be here today. Yes, it was scary and hard work (it still is) but what other choice did I have? I wasn’t going to let my past defeat me.”
“The traumatic and abusive experiences of childhood can’t be forgotten. They can’t be cut out with a razor, they can’t be washed away with a bottle of vodka, they can’t be dulled with medication, can’t be minimized, ignored, repressed or suppressed by anything. I know because I wasted years trying to do just that. Trying desperately and failing spectacularly. I couldn’t make any of it stop, not the feelings of hatred and despair, not the nightmares and flashbacks, not the constant thoughts of if this is life, I don’t want it anymore. When I turned eighteen and realised that finally being considered an adult solved none of my problems I came to Hennessy House as a last resort. I had every intention of committing suicide at the end of the program if nothing changed. Clearly, I did not kill myself. Because at the end of the program I had changed. I could bore you with the details of my transformation but all the words in the world couldn’t explain how I benefited from Hennessy House. It’s such a personal experience and different for everyone. All I can say is that I stopped being a victim of child abuse and became a survivor.”
The following testimonial was received from Cree at Youth Express in Maitland about two young ladies she referred to the Hennessy House program at Heal for Life.
Dear Liz and the Heal for Life staff,
Youth Express was recently given the opportunity to refer two young ladies from local high schools in the Hunter, who had experienced child hood trauma to your program. The two students chosen both came from broken families and were disengaging from education. When I approached the students and their parents with this opportunity they were both excited and nervous about attending…. Read the full testimonial