When I hear stories about cancer or domestic abuse, my automatic response is to sweep my own struggles under the mat. Suddenly it feels like my problems are nothing in comparison. However, recently I have realised that we all deal with things differently. No persons story is insignificant. I want to share my story with you, more for my sake, so that I can let go of it.
I grew up in a Christian family, Mum and Dad were missionaries in PNG. When my Mum was pregnant with me, my family had to come back to Australia, so that I could be born in a healthy environment. When I was 6 months old, we moved to Tari- PNG, which is where we would live for 3 years before returning to Australia permanently. Although I have very little memories of PNG, I still remember coming home to Australia, and feeling out of place. I guess it was culture shock of some sort. I became very shy of my surroundings and of anyone that I didn't know. I had a few friends, but I still felt a sense of emptiness.
My uncle commited suicide when I was only 5 years old, and I didn't/couldn't understand why anyone would want to kill themselves. It wasn't until later in my life that I could relate. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of bigger issues.
I always felt like I didn't really belong anywhere. Of course I loved my friends and family, but I never felt completely connected to them. I was in a few special ed classes at school, and was always treated like I was the dumb kid. From my experience, the more you are treated dumb and useless, the more likely you are to believe it and act the way you are treated. I was slow to learn, and I didnt bother trying hard because I couldn't see the point in trying to do something that I clearly couldn't do.
When 9/11 happened, I was only 10 years old. A terrorist attack is strange thing for a 10 year old to have to watch, as it was plastered all over media. I remember everything clearly, about that day. This was the first time I had heard of terrorists. Why would people purposely crash into buildings?! From that moment on, I was terrified of airplanes to the point where I would duck every time a plane flew over head. As I watched the news more and more, I realised that our world isn't such a nice place to live in. From then on, I grew very afraid of anything and everything.
There were two boys in my class who liked to tease me. However it went too far when one of them told me that they were planning on holding the class up at gunpoint, and that they were going to strip everyone naked and tie us to the chairs, then take all our money. Of course, they were just tying to scare me, and it worked! I didn't want to go to school, as I was forced to sit with them every day. I would fake sick from school often, and in turn, I missed out on a lot of class work. I look back on all of this now, and wish I had the confidence to speak up. Thankfully, that's where my prayer life began. I had learnt in Sunday school that I could tell Jesus anything, and so I began to pray to him every night. My prayers were mainly made up of me begging God not to let harm come to my family. However, I wouldn't say that my life at home was exactly easy either. My brothers bullied me, and my Dad never really understood me. They didn't know that their lack of respect for me, would amount to me not respecting myself.
Then of course, high school happened! To cut a VERY long story short, I had a huge group of friends, which I slowly watched getting smaller and smaller, as one of my more dominant friends, decided who could stay and who could go. She was jealous of any friendship I had that wasn't her. I knew if I didn't agree with her, I would loose her, along with our long term friendship. We had known eachother since we were four years old, and I wasn't about to let that go. Along the way, I hurt a lot of people, including myself, and my relationship with Jesus. I had wonderful things like youth group and Smash camp, in which Jesus used to guide me in the right direction, but I constantly found myself going off track, tying to do my own thing. I'd like to say that after my Baptism in 2006 (I was 14), that Jesus and I were closer, but that didn't last long at all. A few years later I met Rob. I fell in love with him, and pursued him. He and I were by no means a perfect match, but we were good together. It was a chance for me to run away from the things that were making life hard. I knew he was the one for me. I would no longer have to worry about choosing the wrong boys to date. Before Rob, I had gone through eight boyfriends. Sexual abuse from other boys was no longer something to worry about. Rob became my best friend, and confidant. He knew everything about me, the good, the bad and the ugly, yet he still loved me.
After high school, I studied childcare, looked forward to a career and had plans to eventually marry Rob. Unfortunately it took a while to get there. This part of my life would be the hardest it has ever been. Everything became so unclear to me, and in turn, I messed up. I won't go into huge detail here (trust me, you don't want to know). I will tell you though, that for a long time I didn't want to live, I could barely breathe, and I wanted to die. I self harmed by cutting my thighs. Even though I was in love with Rob, I found myself very confused, and I started having feelings for other guys too, some who were older than me, and some who were younger. I craved attention. Rob still stayed with me, despite all the trouble I had caused. I would also freak out over my childcare assignments, and break down to the point where I couldn't stop crying for hours. For a while I was able to see a counsellor, and things started looking up in some respect, but I knew I needed to see a doctor about it. My doctor prescribed me with a small dose of anti-depressants. I was feeling a lot better once the meds kicked in, but I decided to talk to an online psychiatrist, for extra help. He diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Dissorder. BPD, is a Dissorder most common in teenagehood - young adulthood. This caused impulsive behaviour, self harming tendencies, and sudden uncontrollable anger. I had always known that there was something wrong with me, but no one except this psychiatrist believed me. I started to double my daily intake of pills, and then I eventually went back to my doctor to ask for a bigger dosage. I can't imagine my life without my Anti's now. There are some things that anti's will never do, I.e make me feel confident and pretty.... But they have certainly helped to put my mind In a more controllable state. I haven't self harmed for 4 years now.
I eventually graduated with my Diploma, and started looking for jobs in childcare. Rob and I got engaged during that time. I briefly worked as a relief worker at a childcare centre, but realised how much I hated working there, and eventually moved to another local childcare, who would employ me to work lunch relief hours (2 hours a day). I enjoyed working at the centre, but of course it had its ups and downs. Two years later, Rob and I finally got married, in hope that Rob would be able to get a full time job soon, as he was nearly finished his university degree. It has been a struggle to get by at times. Rob has graduated, but he has only currently got a casual job. I no longer work in childcare, as it has reeked havoc on my health. We still don't have our own house, we share a rental house with my parents.
I have many health problems, which I constantly wish would just disappear. I've had a sore throat for 5 years, Generalised Anxiety disorder, Sinus Tarsi syndrome, Tachycardia, Cystic ovarian syndrome, high cholesterol (passed down to me from my Dad), and I've had asthma since I was 5 years old. I've been overweight for 7 years now, which certainly hasn't helped in my health, however I have recently decided to do something about it.
As for my relationship with Jesus, it still needs work. I have found myself a bit closer to him lately, but I struggle to speak with him on a day to day basis.
I guess what I've learnt from all of my struggles is to keep going anyway. Sometimes my only ability is to live, and if that's how it has to be, then so be it.