My name is Shani. When I was 11 I lost my dad to suicide – two days after Christmas in 2009. Since then, I’ve developed generalised anxiety and document my journey on the Instagram account @timemademestronger.
I do not feel that there is enough conversation around what it is to suffer from bereavement when you are only a child. There is so little guidance about how to cope when you lose someone so important to you before you’ve even reached adolescence.
My aim to start that conversation. I speak about how my bereavement affected me both then and how it affects me now. The after effects of losing my dad are often found in even the smallest and most unlikely things. I just want to make people feel less alone if they’ve been through anything remotely similar. If I can be the person I needed when I was 11/a young teenager for just one person then I think I’ve done a good thing.
I realise that this is a bold aim but helping others is something that I can remember being very important to me – even before my dad died. If I let this huge, tragic event and the after effects of that event consume me (as I quite easily could at times) then I feel like I would be doing myself and others a disservice. As much as this loss was so painful, I have a reason to carry on, a purpose in life. It’s what my dad would have wanted and it’s what I want for myself.
I didn’t want my Instagram to be a page about one specific thing so I’ve posted about everything from getting through uni with a mental health condition to my story itself (see my bio for a link to my first ever post which details my story a little more!). Life after a bereavement, especially suffering one so young, takes directions that I would never have anticipated. But I know that I’m not the only one, and if that helps me cope then I know that it will help others cope too. Honesty and transparency is what I pride myself on. Breaking stigma and taboo around such issues as mental health is paramount to all I stand for. My blog is a place for openness and reflection and often helps me process my own thoughts and feelings as well as helping others along the way. I am so proud of how much my space has grown in the last year and a half!
Thank you for reading/following my journey. I hope it helped some of you – feel free to reach out as I am very responsive on my posts etc.
Thank you for reading!