Women’s Vulnerability Series: A woman who overcame her mental illness

Ever since I was a young child I have endured years of domestic violence, bullying, learning disabilities, and illnesses which led to depression and PTSD.  Over the past year and a half, I have overcome most of this.  It has been an emotional but amazing journey.  I have made great strides in my life.  I am in a season of living it up and thinking positively.

I will start from the beginning.  At age four I was diagnosed with ADHD.  At that time my mom was told that I would never graduate from high school or even go to university/college.  My mom refused to believe what was said, so she started coaching me.  She worked with me for many years.  Due to an illness, I didn’t finish high school.  In 2004 I started to upgrade my education.  While doing my high school upgrading, I was on the Honor Roll twice.  In June 2006, I graduated from high school.  In September of that year I started the office administration program.  At this time I was involved in the Student Association.  First as Vice president of Student Life and then as President.  I had an instructor tell me that I would fail the program.  I managed to keep my marks between 85-90% and do my job as President.  Being president required chair  ing and attending meetings, writing up by-laws, and procedures for the Annual General Meeting.  At the end of my program, the instructor said she was sorry and she misjudged me.  Now I am applying at University in September to take Youth Ministry.  My mom was basically told I wouldn’t amount to anything.  Boy, were they wrong.

It’s sad to say that domestic violence has been a major part of my life.  When I was a baby my biological father was an alcoholic.  He was abusive to my mom and put alcohol in my baby bottle.  She finally left him.  She had a few boyfriends off and on.  When I was 8 years old, one of her live in boyfriends abused me.  Mom was working late and I had friends over after school, which I wasn’t supposed to.  Phil, (mom’s boyfriend) came home and caught my friends in the house.  He sent all of them home.  While I was in the bathroom he came in and started hitting me on my neck, then he sent me to bed.  I didn’t see my mom that night and was sent to school with bruises all over my neck.  She kicked him out that day after the school called her.  When I was nine mom got married to someone who I thought was good.  I watched him abuse my mom for years.  When I was twelve he started physically but mostly emotionally abusing me.  They finally got divorced when I was 15.  Mom remarried when I was 16 to my current step-dad.  Although he’s better than most of the men in my past, he can still at times be emotionally abusive towards me.  Because of all of these men and the abuse I suffered, I had such a hatred towards all men.  I wouldn’t have anything to do with them.  Trust was the biggest issue for me.  I thought that they were all like that.

When I was 16 I was diagnosed with bone cancer in my left leg. After I was diagnosed I lost my faith in God.  I was so young and so confused.  During the treatment and surgeries, I met friends that were going through similar things.  I was already emotionally fragile and quite a few of these friends past away.  This was the time the depression took hold and I changed from a happy girl to a miserable teenager and woman.

Over the past year and a half I have become happier.  I feel accepted for the first time in my life.  I have friends and go out with them.  I am not isolated anymore. My faith has given me strength and I found community and family in the church I attend.  I enjoy talking to everyone, including men.  I can even give and receive hugs from them.  I went to my first super bowl party and enjoyed myself. I can’t wait to help youth with their self-esteem problems and know that they are loved no matter what.  I believe that telling my struggles can help other and this makes all the difference.

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