Renee's story

I’m 30 years old. I’ve suffered with anxiety pretty much my entire life. I remember as a child, school was a horrible place for me, not because of the teachers (although there were some that really shouldn’t have been teaching young children!) but, because kids used to constantly make fun of my weight and the way I looked. I felt like I was constantly wanting to be accepted by the “normal” kids but was always outcasted. It got to a point where I saw the school counsellor where we would play Uno, but now as an adult, I figured out that was her way of getting me to talk to her about how I was feeling without knowing it because I was focusing on the game.

From here it got worse. I would scratch my legs until they bled, they formed scabs, which I would keep picking at. My mum ended up making me a bracelet with beads to fiddle with to distract myself whenever I felt anxious. As I grew older, in to my senior years of primary school, it got worse. I would isolate myself in class, whenever the teacher asked for people to voice ideas or answer questions I would always go to the toilet or look away to pretend I wasn’t listening. The sores on my legs got worse and I had to wear stockings or put calamine lotion on them in Summer. Kids would ask what was with my legs and I would just answer “mozzie bites”. When I reached high school, my weight increased even more, the bullying got worse, boys would push in front of me in the canteen line and say “oh but you’ll let me in hey Renee” then turn to their mates and say “Oi, she doesn’t care, just jump in here”… Meanwhile 10 of his mates would push in and by the time I would get to the front of the line, the bell would go and I would have to wait until lunch. I HATED PE lessons because that meant getting changed in front of the other girls, who to me had the perfectly flat stomachs and toned legs… I would wait and wait until a toilet became available so I could change behind closed doors.

Then, because I was so crappy at EVERY sport, I would schedule my music lessons during this time as my escape route. It was the only thing I was good at (or that’s the way I felt anyway).  I remember one week, my music teacher was away and I HAD to go to sport. I STILL remember to this day my female sport teacher taking the role and I replied “here”. Her response was “oh, no music lesson today, you’ll actually have to do some sport”. I even remember the way she looked at me… I graduated from highschool, eventually stopped scratching my legs and ventured to University. At this point in time I did what every 18 year old was doing, drinking heavily, dating, finding friendship groups etc. I had my second longest serious relationship during my first year of Uni. It didn’t last long and it ended extremely nasty, to the point where I tried taking my own life. During my recovery, I promised my family I would never attempt anything like an overdose again.

There’s only been one other time recently where I wanted to, tried and was saved by my now husband who I have also promised I would never hurt myself again.

I reflect on all these things that have happened during my life. Falling in and out of friendships, lovers, relationships, jobs… And at the age of 30, I feel like I'm still trying to “find myself”. Who are my real friends? Am I making the right life choices? Why do I make so many mistakes with friendships? Will I find the answer to these questions. I am not quite sure…

At the moment I am trying to surround myself with people that will give me a sense of direction and positivity.

Thank you for reading my story, I hope that it reassures you and others that this “journey” of ours is never ending.

 Renee x

Sam Frost