Lisa Sansbury has never told her full traumatic story before.
Stolen from her parents when she was six, she carried the burden through her adult years, keeping it from her children.
Living in Ballarat, she's faced exceptionally hard times, but with extra support from community organisations like the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative and Grampians DisAbility Advocacy, she felt the time was right.
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The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability sought stories from people with a lived experience, and Ms Sansbury, an Adnyamathanha woman, told hers in the way that felt most comfortable for her - a detailed painting.
"The blackness represents my anxiety, my depression, my bipolar, my borderline schizophrenia - I was in a black place, I couldn't see a way out, I didn't see what was wrong with me, I thought I was going crazy until I went to BADAC," she said.
"Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today.
"The white represents me climbing the rope, getting medication, the help I need.
"I'm a better person, a happier person today."
The story of the painting was recorded in a short film, shared to encourage other First Nations people to share their own stories.
WATCH THE FILM BELOW
It's a heartbreaker - amid tears, she says in the video she never told her kids about her trauma, because "why should I make them hurt as much as me?"
"It's taken me a long, long time," Ms Sansbury said.
"I opened up and told my story, and I feel very happy that I've done it, and I'd encourage other brothers and sisters out there to come out and tell their story, so they too can heal.
"Get the help they need, talk about it, get the load off your shoulder, it's a healing process."
Assisted by GdA's Indigenous advocate Fiona Tipping, the film shows Ms Sansbury's journey, from the pain of the Stolen Generation, her breakdown after her sons left home, and her recovery.
Ms Tipping said it was a beneficial program - a culturally-sensitive way to make sure stories are told and heard.
"It's a trust-building exercise - I'm a member of BADAC, and people trust me, but people don't trust the Royal Commission, that's a barrier I had to get through again," she said.
"I think if the stories are told, then it's cemented, kind of like songlines - it's a story that's told, and eventually governments will get it right, do the right thing, and compensate people and make better changes."
The project was supported by the federal government - GdA's executive officer Deborah Verdon said in a media release there are concerns about low numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people engaging with the Royal Commission.
"(The Royal Commission and Department of Social Services) are aware that there are many relevant and powerful stories in the community that are not being told. As a result, DSS asked for ideas about how the work of the Commission could be better promoted in a culturally appropriate way," she said.
"This is where GdA and Lisa came up with the idea of a video that speaks to the community about how there are many safe ways to make a submission, and about how an advocate can provide the level of support needed to come forward and speak to the Royal Commission in the way that the person chooses."
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Filmmaker Michelle Dunn said it was a sensitive process, led by Ms Sansbury.
"I was really conscious, from the very beginning, of the weight of responsibility, I felt a huge sense of responsibility," she said.
"It's one thing to have it in you, it's another thing to let it out, and it's another thing again to reflect on the fact it's out in the public."
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support, phone Lifeline 13 11 14.
Help is also available, but not limited, via the following organisations. The key message is you are not alone.
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
Relationships Australia: 1800 050 321
Aboriginal crisis support: Yarning SafeNStrong, 1800 959 563 (24/7)
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