I don’t want this to be one of those pity pages. I’m posting this for me. There are things that I need to get out. Things that I need to say. I know I haven’t gone through as much as some people have, but so many things have happened in my life. I put on such a huge facade and people think I’m happy, and that I’ve had a great life… they have no idea. I’ve gone through so much pain, and so much loss, and it’s time I just get it all out.
I was born on January the 25th, 1993. I had a mum, a dad, an older half brother and an older sister. My dad’s mother died before I was born, as did my mum’s mother. My mum’s father wasn’t a huge part of her life, so I never knew him growing up.
When I was 3 years old, my uncle’s partner Debbie, my baby cousin’s mother, was murdered by her ex boyfriend. My cousin was in the room next to her. He was 6 months old. She was gone.
When I was 4 years old, dad’s father, Jim, passed away of cancer. I adored him so much, and at four years old, he was gone. I don’t even remember him anymore. I have photos and videos, but I don’t remember anything about him other than what I’ve been told.
When I was 5 years old, I started primary school. My best friend was a boy named Lennon. One day that year, I was told that he was gone. He and his father were on a motorbike (they loved their bike, they were on it all the time; Lennon in the little side car thing) and crashed in to a tree and both died instantly. He was gone.
I became friends that year with a girl in my grade named Karee. She instantly became my best friend. I was with her all the time. Then one day, in grade one, she didn’t come to school. She didn’t come the next day, or the next. Somehow we found out that they had moved away to Queensland without telling anyone. She was gone.
When I was in grade 2, one day my parents told me that my dad’s aunty, Val, had passed away. I didn’t see her that often, but the times I did see her were great. We were pretty close. But now she, too, was gone.
When I was in grade 5, I was pretty happy. I had a great group of friends. We weren’t popular, but we weren’t unpopular. Family life was great. My brother was happy. My sister was happy. My mum and dad were happy. Or so I thought. I remember one day mum told me that her and dad were fighting. Dad planned to move a few hours away, to Moe, with his brother for awhile. He packed almost all his clothes, and most of his important belongings. The day he left, I was on the phone to him. I was telling him to come back, and that I’d be better so him and mum didn’t have anything to fight about anymore. He was telling me it wasn’t my fault, and that he loved me. Both of us were crying. He told me he loved me and then hung up. The next day, I woke up and saw my aunty running past my bedroom window. She was wearing blue trackie pants and a red jumper with Winnie the Pooh on it. I got up and saw mum, Aunty Al, my brother Matt and two policeman sitting in my lounge room. I got embarrassed and went back to do my hair before I went out. My brother came in and asked me if I was okay. I thought that was a bit weird, and said yes. He told me to stay in there until someone came in to get me. I was so confused, but stayed in there, sitting on the bed. A little while later, another aunty of mine came in to the bedroom, took me by the hand and walked me to my sister’s room. Kayla sat on Aunty Wendy’s knee and I stood there. Aunty Wendy told us dad had been in an accident, and that he was gone. Kayla ran to mum bawling. I was in shock, and slowly walked back out. By now there were a few people there, and they were all crying. I didn’t know what to do. I hugged mum and started crying. After half an hour or so, I stopped myself. I knew I had to be strong and hold it all in for my family’s sake. Over the next two weeks, we had a full house. Family and friends wouldn’t let us stay alone. Eventually they all stopped. The funeral was horrible. I had still only cried that first day. I couldn’t let my weakness show. I was holding the family together. The day we were due to go back to school, 3 weeks after his death, mum spoke to Kayla and me. She told us that it wasn’t an accident. Kayla understood, but I wasn’t sure what she meant. That day at school, one of my best friends Kate asked me if I knew how he died. I told her I knew it wasn’t an accident but I wasn’t sure. She asked me if I wanted to know, and I said yes. She told me that he had killed himself. I said okay. I didn’t show any emotion. I didn’t feel like I could. I had to stay strong. But that was it. He was gone.
About 4 weeks after his death, my aunty emailed me abusing me. Mum emailed her back telling her not to treat me like that, to which she responded telling mum that she “dribbles shit and that’s why she’s alone”. She was telling mum that it was all her fault that my father killed himself. A few years earlier, one of our dogs Max was playing with a new born kitten and he had gotten to rough for it and killed it. Marlene, the aunty, was babysitting the dog and gave him away. Our dog. We had only just forgiven her for that when this happened. So this was strike number two. We didn’t speak to her for years.
One day when I was in grade 6, I arrived at school and found out a girl who was good friends with my sister had been in a car accident with her family except for one sister. None of them made it.
I was at home one day that year with my mum and aunty. I was wearing a skirt and a t shirt, and my aunty told me that I looked fat. I ran to my room and did nothing but cry. I thought about suicide. I thought about how no one liked me. I am lucky that my mum walked in to tell me that my aunty didn’t mean it. I don’t know what I would’ve done. I was 11 years old and thought suicide was an option for me.
And then in 2005, I started high school. I was bullied daily because of the way I dressed. My hair looked stupid. I was fat. My skirt was too short. I was ugly. I was a loser. The most common one, though, was that I was a slut because I liked to wear my skirt short. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great school. I didn’t get tormented all the time, but it was enough to make me unhappy.
One day that year, I was sitting next to one of my friends. She found a badge and took it to her wrist. It was lucky that I saw her out the corner of my eye. I leaned over and took it from her hand. I told our homeroom teacher who took us both out of the classroom to talk about it. My friend was so angry at me, but I knew I had done the right thing. Everyone thought I was happy.
Year 8 was good. I made new friends and it was an okay year. I became really good friends with a girl I met on myspace called Kelly. There will be more on her later. The most significant thing I remember about that year was a pen I bought just before father’s day. I bought a pen that said I Love You Dad on it, so that he could be with me. So that I could look at it and think of him and smile. One day in my Home Ec class, a boy asked me why I had it, not my dad. I didn’t know what to say. I was taken aback. He had no idea, but it hurt me so bad. The only thing I could say was “because I have it.”
In year 9, things started to change. I drifted away from all of my primary school friends. I became a lot closer to a girl who caught my bus, called Rhiannon. We started doing everything together and she was my best friend. That year, my mum’s father came back in to our life. I visited him twice that year (he lived 4 hours away, so we didn’t get to visit often). He ended up being moved to Bendigo to be closer to his family. His partner, Joan, also came to Bendigo with him, but they were in different Old Peoples homes. I got so close to them both. We would visit them both at least twice a week. They became such a huge part of my life. After a month or two, Joan got transferred to the same home as him. They were in rooms across the hall from each other. It made them both so much happier, and also meant that we got to visit them twice as often. One day, toward the end of the year, we got a phone call in the morning before school. Grandad had suffered a heart attack while he was asleep and died. He went peacefully. Kayla wasn’t quite as close to him as I was, and she still wanted to go to school. I couldn’t do it though. Matt and I dropped Kayla at school then went to the home to meet mum, Joan and other family members there. They asked if we wanted to see him. Mum didn’t want me to, but I felt I had to. I saw him laying there on his bed. He looked so peaceful. The people had placed a single red rose in his hands. He looked like he was sleeping. I couldn’t touch him, though. I wanted to, but I couldn’t do it. I stood there looking at him, bawling my eyes out. I’m so lucky Matt was with me. I would’ve broken down if he wasn’t holding me up. I went back to school the next day only to have some of the people in my homeroom picking on me for not being there the day before. They had no idea. But grandad was gone.
Just before the end of the year, we had our year 9 formal. Rhiannon and I spent the whole night together, just dancing and having fun. We were right up the front, right next to the speakers and right under the smoke machine. Everything was great, but then Rhiannon started having a coughing fit and couldn’t breathe. We were moving out of the crowd and all of a sudden I blacked out. Somehow I was still upright and walking out of the crowd, but I was losing consciousness. I told Rhiannon I needed air. The next thing I remember is sitting outside of the gymnasium not able to breathe properly. I had completely blacked out but my body kept going. My mind was completely turned off. I stayed outside with Rhiannon for the rest of the night. She was absolutely fine. Eventually mum came to pick me up and we went home. The next day was orientation day for year 10, and I was fine. I went there and had a great time and met a boy called Rupert. He and I became good friends after that thanks to myspace.
Over the next couple of weeks, weird things kept on happening to me. Whenever we were anywhere but home, my head would be “doing weird things” as I would say every time. I wasn’t sure what was happening. Every time it happened I would have to sit down before I passed out, my heart would race, I would hear all these weird sounds and I would need to go to the toilet. It eventually got me so scared that I wouldn’t leave my house. On my 15th birthday almost all of my family were over at the same time to see me. I sat in the corner of the lounge room with 2 of my friends and one cousin, with a bucket on my knee, throwing up. Everyone must’ve felt so awkward and so bad, but I couldn’t help it. Things got worse. I couldn’t stand at my front door. I couldn’t have a window open. I couldn’t have people over except for Rhiannon. One night I was sitting there watching tv and a friend of mine called me to tell me that a girl in our year was in hospital. She said she had a headache and went in, and they discovered two tumours in her brain. She wasn’t expected to make it through the night. The next morning, she was gone.
Things just escalated, and they escalated so quickly. Mum spent her free time on the internet trying to see if she could figure out what was wrong with me. She thought it was agoraphobia but we weren’t self-diagnosing. She wanted me to see someone, but I couldn’t go anywhere even if I wanted to. She wanted someone to see me, but I didn’t want anyone over. One day she ended up going behind my back and calling the welfare team from my school (at this stage I hadn’t been to school at all and it was a month and a half in to the school year). The lady she spoke to was a family friend, we had gone to primary school with all her children. She showed up one day and asked me if I knew she was coming, but I had no clue and told her that. She ended up coming to see me every Wednesday, bringing me homework, telling me what was going on at school, just keeping me up to date. She recommended a place called CAMHS. CAMHS is the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. They are a free organisation who specifically tend to those under 18 years of age. I was freaking out about it, but somehow Amanda (the welfare lady) convinced me to let someone come see me. It was so lucky that they did home visits. My psychologist was a lady named Donna. The first few times she came over, it was only for 10 minutes because I would be in tears and throwing up. After 3 weeks, I was getting used to her; I’d run away to have a shower one during her weekly visits because a shower somehow calmed me down. I had stopped putting in any effort with myself. I wasn’t washing my hair. I wasn’t brushing my hair. I wasn’t wearing make up. I wasn’t eating. I was wasting away. Over the next few months, she helped me quite a bit. She gave me techniques to use to try to help. I could have a window open. I could go near the door. I could go to sleep without laying there for hours on end. She introduced me to a program called NETschool. NETschool is run through another school in my town. It is for students who are studying VCE but can’t attend mainstream schooling for whatever reason. There are teen mums, people with depression, people with anxiety, people with anger issues, people who have ADD, all different sorts of people. They get you to do projects throughout the year to cover all the aspects of VCE that you need to complete, as well as 2 showcase nights a year. They have centre based students and home based students. I was still enrolled at my school, CCB, but we looked in to it. The principal of the school, Julie, came to see me after a few months. We spoke about everything that was happening. She was so understanding. She spoke to Bendigo Senior (the school NETschool is run through), and Amanda spoke to CCB. Donna spoke with both of them. Bendigo Senior is a school for years 11 and 12, but they wanted to help me so they let me enrol. CCB unenrolled me but told me that as soon as I was ready, I would be reenrolled. I started NETschool as a home based student. Donna still came to see me every week, and so did Julie. Eventually, though, we knew I would have to get over my agoraphobia (by now I had been diagnosed with it). I had a doctor through CAMHS who had put me on anti anxiety medication. I had a timeline. If I didn’t make it to the CAMHS facility, they were going to put me in a mental institution in Melbourne. I knew I couldn’t do that. Melbourne is a 2 hour drive away, and I couldn’t even deal with standing under my front porch! Over the next few weeks, Donna, Julie, Amanda, my family and I all started working toward it. It started off with me taking one step out the door. Then two. Then three. Then running to my letterbox. Then running to my next door neighbour’s house (she was one of my best friends). Touching my car. Sitting in my car. Sitting in the car with it turned on. Driving half way down my driveway. Every day I would do each thing a few times. Every second day, I would do something more. Eventually, on the exact 2 month mark, I made it. I got to Donna’s office. She was so happy, and so proud. And so was I. I had done it. It was still going to be hard work, but I had done that. I became a centre based student at NETschool. I would go there from 9 until 3.30 every day. On Wednesdays I would go to CCB and spend the day there. Everyone had changed so much, and was so supportive of me. NETschool literally saved my life.
The next year, I was back at CCB as a full time student. I would go to visit NETschool at least twice a month. That February, though, something else happened. The Black Saturday fires. Mum, Kayla and I were sitting in the couch watching a movie. We didn’t know anything was wrong. All of a sudden my aunty called my mum asking her to meet her at her house because there was a fire. There had been a few fires over the years across the road from her house so we didn’t think anything of it. Mum went over. I was next door at Tegan’s when Kayla came over to tell me that Aunty Al’s house had burned down, and that the fire was heading our way. At this point mum was in Aunty Al’s car, not hers. Kayla and I started packing photos and any other important things in the car. I was freaking out because I thought I would be stuck and not able to leave if the fire did come. I still hadn’t been in the car more than 20 minutes since my anxiety. Kayla calmed me down, and then I went in to emergency mode. I’m good when there’s a problem. I knew people would be showing up at our house, as Aunty Al and her partner Paul were going to stay with us (that was sorted out straight away) if our house didn’t go. I got eskies, drink bottles, cups, everything I could and filled them up with water. I knew people would be dehydrated. I got out food so they’d have energy. I got blankets in case they were in shock. I did everything I could. Luckily the fires didn’t hit out house. But my aunty’s house was gone. Luckily they got their two pets out just before it went up in flames. Paul got to his car, realised he didn’t have his keys, ran back in to the house and grabbed them, his phone and his wallet, ran out, got to the car and turned back to the ouse and it exploded. He was that close to being gone. It was a horrible ordeal and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Her dog ended up having to get put down because it was all so much for him. I had grown up with that dog. He was almost as old as me.
That year, I became good friends with my friend Kate (the one who told me how dad died)’s ex boyfriend. I asked him to be my deb partner, and he said yes. He and I got a lot closer. We were best friends. Of course I developed a huge crush on him. The feelings weren’t mutual but he said it wouldn’t change anything. He lied. Everything became awkward. We didn’t speak at deb practice. We barely spoke at school. It was horrible. He started dating a girl named Taylah, who was beautiful. The day of the deb I was freaking out. I managed to get through it, though. I did all the dances. I did everything. But after we were presented and had done all the obligations, I wanted to leave. Jacob told me I had to stay, for him. So I did. And it was one of the best days of my life. About a month later, it was exams. I was at school and saw Jacob and Tay so went up to introduce myself to her. She was awkward, he barely spoke, so I left. That night I saw Rhiannon talking to Tay on myspace. She had said that Jacob didn’t like me and didn’t want to talk to me. I was shattered. There was another of my closest friends gone. Eventually Tay and Jacob broke up and somehow Tay and I started talking. She is now my best friend, and I am so lucky to have her. She is one of the best people I know.
Later on that year, we got a phone call to say Joan had passed away. She had become an incredibly huge part of my life. She was the only grandmother I really had. We had a bond that I didn’t have with anyone else. And now she was gone.
In year 12, majority of my “friends” were constantly excluding me. I sat with one group of girls every day; Rhiannon, Ange, Kate, Kate, Haylee, Emma and Melissa. Melissa and Emma hated me. I could tell. I ended up sitting there every day not saying anything at all because every time I did, they would shut me down and make out like I was worthless. I felt like I was, and they made it worse. Kate started dating a guy in the year below us, and Emma and Melissa virtually kicked her out of the group. I was the only one who stood up for her, because I had been friends with her for so long. Toward the end of the year I started becoming friends with different people in my year. One of those was Ben. He and I got incredibly close thanks to Facebook. My anxiety got worse, though, and I ended up not being at school for the last week. I missed out on all of the celebrations. No one except Ben and Rhiannon seemed to care. Ben and I both developed feelings for each other. We started dating and everything was great. I didn’t have to deal with all the shitty people anymore. School was over. Ben helped me more than he could imagine. We started going in to town together all the time with his friends. It was great. But he had to move to Melbourne. One day, he called me up and told me we had to end things. It was on our 3 week anniversary. But he assured me we would still be friends. I’m lucky he kept his word, because he is one of the best people I know. His “father”, if you can call him that, was a part of Hells Angels. There was an episode of Underbelly about him and his mum and dad, if you ever watched that. Ben’s mother was murdered by his father whilst Ben slept in the bed next to her. About a month later, I started dating Jacob. Things with us were great.
Then came January of 2011. Do you remember me mentioning Kelly, earlier? The one from myspace? We planned for her to come to Bendigo for my 18th. Her nanna lives here so she was going to stay with her, but spend almost all of her time with me. Kelly got here a day early as a surprise for me. She was completely different in real life to who she was on the internet. I had known her for 6 years. She was my best friend. But once I met her, she wasn’t the girl I knew. All she cared about was boys and partying. She was constantly putting down me, my friends and my family. Then one night, her and Jacob were both staying over. Somehow they ended up on the couch together and left me on a chair by myself. My best friend and my boyfriend. Jacob fell asleep and Kelly and I sat there talking. She was trying to get me to leave so she could sleep there with Jacob (they were spooning and such), but I wasn’t leaving. Mum was getting angry because it was late, and somehow I got her to go on the other couch. But mum wasn’t happy with them both being in the same room, because she knows Kelly’s type. I came up to tell Kelly she had to sleep on the fold up bed in Kayla’s room. We’ve had that bed for years. People sleep on it all the time, and no one has ever complained about it. Kelly absolutely cracked the shits. She refused to sleep. She shone the light from her phone in Kayla’s face while she was sleeping. She sat up tweeting about how she couldn’t sleep. She woke up literally every single person in my house at the time. We ended up having to wake up Jacob so that she could have the couch, and he slept on the fold up bed in Kayla’s room. The next morning she kept having a go at mum, and trying to make out like she was better than us. Jacob has a flirty personality so there was nothing weird about what he was doing, but she was doing it to try to take him from me. That night, she went out with Jacob and got drunk. She ended up staying at his house that night. She didn’t even tell me that they went out together, he did. She tried to hide it. I spoke to her and told her I wasn’t comfortable with her coming in to my home and acting like that, for going out with Jacob, for putting my family and friends down. She tried to put the blame on me, and tell me that I was in the wrong. She stopped talking. I haven’t heard from her or seen her since. She didn’t even speak to me or see me on my birthday. She was gone.
Then on myself and Jacob’s 5 month anniversary in April that year, he broke up with me over the phone. Things were incredibly awkward for awhile but eventually we became friends again. He’s one of my best friends to this day. My anxiety got really bad again, and I fell in to a depression.
In July, I started talking to someone online called Josh. I had known him when we were younger, but we hadn’t spoken to each other or seen each other in 15 years. We developed feelings for each other and were unofficially seeing each other. My anxiety and depression both got better because of him. He told me the date that he planned on asking me out officially. Instead though, that day, our 3 month “anniversary”, he texted me telling me he was ending things. Two days later he was dating one of my best friends. They were gone, along with all of our mutual friends.
And since then, my depression and anxiety have only gotten worse. Their friends have spoken about me behind my back numerous times. They’ve gone off at me to my face. They’ve threatened me. They’ve stolen from me. They’ve abused me. They’ve done everything in their power to make me more miserable.
Also about 3 months ago, Marlene started taking more digs at my immediate family. She constantly put us down. She told us we were poor, that we weren’t as good as her, that we were shit. I got sick of it all one day when she started saying it on Facebook where everyone else could see it. I mean yeah we’re not well off, but we are better people than she is. I started standing up for us, and she went crazy and started calling me names. I haven’t spoken to her since. Three strikes and you’re out, right? That was her third strike. I am never going to forgive her this time. She isn’t going to be there when I get married one day. She isn’t going to be there when I have children. She isn’t going to be there when anything happens in my life. She isn’t family to me anymore. She is nothing.
A couple of months ago, a girl who was basically my cousin committed suicide. I didn’t know there was anything wrong. Just like with dad. It still hasn’t really sunk in yet, though, so I don’t know what’s going to happen. I hope I’ll be okay.
The people in my life right now are fantastic. I don’t have many friends, but the ones I do have are incredible. They stick by me through thick and thin, and I know that nothing could ever tear us apart. As cliché as that is, it’s the truth. My family are incredible. I’m in a pretty good place right now, as far as my depression goes. I’ve been stuck indoors for almost 12 months again, but not to the extent it was last time. I can go for little walks. I can have people come over. I put in effort with things. I know that I can get through this again, just like I did last time. I just have to keep working at it. I have been through so much. But I’m a battler. Life always has it’s struggles, and I’ve had my fair share of them. I know there are people worse off than me, but that doesn’t mean that my problems are just as hard. I have my moments where I feel like life’s too hard, but the people around me help me more than they know. They don’t even realise how many times they’ve saved my life.
Life’s a climb, but the view is great.