My childhood was chaotic and marked by emotional and physical abuse. My father was unpredictable and controlling. I was a lonely child and would spend hours dressing up and pretending to be someone else. Unable to physically escape the instability of my home life I created an imaginary world where I was safe, happy and free.
At 16 I was struggling with depression and battling an eating disorder. By the time I was 19 my battle with anorexia was out of control and I had been hospitalised multiple times in an attempt to stop me from starving myself to death. That same year my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died within 3 months of diagnosis. He was only 46 years old.
For the next five years I struggled to numb the pain in my life the only way I knew how. Anorexia gave me a distorted but temporary sense of control over a life that was spiralling out of control and I smoked pot on a daily basis to further numb the relentless pain in my heart. I bounced between part time jobs, home and hospital with no sense of purpose or joy. For much of the eight years I was in and out of the Eating Disorders Unit at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) I was tube fed, it was the only way my body received any nutrition. I felt so detached from my own body; it had no value to me. I was slowly and methodically destroying my life.
I was 24 years old when, In a final attempt to save me from myself my mum forced me to go back to RPA and begged me to stay long enough to get well. I was a walking skeleton, my hair was falling out but I was in denial as to how bad things really were. The hospital gave me an ultimatum. I could stay only if I committed to do whatever it took to get better. They had been down this road with me too many times before and had a long waiting list of others who also needed their help. I remember looking in the mirror that day in the hospital and finally seeing myself as I really was. They forced me to confront the truth and for the first time I didn’t run away. I had been so reckless with my life but I realised that I didn’t want to die; I wanted to live.
After six months of counselling, a very strict diet, exercise & behaviour management program I returned home, healthy and free from drugs for the first time in eight years. I got a part time job, started a TAFE course & slowly began to rebuild my relationship with my family. It was during my studies at TAFE that I met Bianca. It was so refreshing to have a normal friendship. One weekend Bianca invited me to come to church with her. I had always believed in God but my father was aggressively anti Christian and so I had had little exposure to church growing up. My uncle had recently become a Christian however and I knew that he was praying for me. His prayers were answered that weekend. I went to the service with Bianca and within moments it felt like the love of God physically collided with me. The feeling of being loved, accepted and safe was so intense it brought me to tears.
I am so grateful for my friend Bianca, she not only made me aware of God but she told me how to get to know Him. She told me it was not enough to just feel Gods love but that I actually had to make a decision to accept his love through a relationship with Jesus Christ. One week after going to church I made the decision to accept Jesus Christ and become a Christian. That was almost ten years ago. I am now married to an amazing Christian man and the mother of three incredible sons.
My life is not perfect but it is filled with love, purpose and joy. I thank God everyday that I was given a second chance.