“My auntie died of breast cancer when I was 11. I was very close to her, she was like another mum. Months after her death I began to get sick, constantly vomiting and developing new pains and symptoms. After many visits to the doctors, I was told I just had a bug. Every few weeks I would be vomiting for at least three days and would spend a lot of my time in bed. It hurt to move as my stomach muscles had become so sore from vomiting. This continued for 10 years, and doctors could not understand what was wrong. Food and weight became an issue as I was afraid to eat in case I got sick. My life stopped and everyone else’s continued. I watched family and friends grow and change from my bedside. I missed out on my teenage years. At night, I would pray that I would die because I didn’t want to go through another day of being so sick. I remember sitting crying one day because I got so frustrated not knowing or understanding what was wrong that I wished I had cancer because then I would know what it was.
A doctor in the Mater Hospital looked over my file and after many appointments and referrals, he finally found out what was wrong. When my auntie died I never cried because I didn’t want to upset anyone else. I never grieved. I bottled everything up and never accepted her death. I began CBT treatment which changed my life for the better. The hardest part of everything was changing my thinking and accepting the fact that she was gone. Those nights that I used to cry myself to sleep I held onto one thing; I held onto hope. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the pain and sickness to go away.
Now I volunteer with The Andy Morgan Foundation Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Awareness. I’ve seen the devastating effects that suicide has on families left behind but I also understand when someone is in so much pain, mind and body, that letting go seems like the only way things will get better. I’m grateful for my life and I wouldn’t change a thing because it made me who I am today. To those reading this I hope you take my story as a sign to keep going no matter how hard things seem, it gets better. I’m living proof. I held onto hope and you can too.”