She stopped fearing life and began living it. Read how one girl found the self-belief to succeed.
There were times when I just wanted it all to end, but I feared death just as much as I feared life.
Growing up I was confused, depressed, had very low self-confidence and suffered from huge amounts of anxiety. I didn't do well at school because I couldn't concentrate long enough to study properly.
I worried about everything. I would dwell on the past and fear the future. I couldn't get on a train without first thinking "it's going to de-rail." Every night I would lie awake worrying that an intruder was going to break into the house and hurt my family.
Socially, I was overly shy and convinced that the world hated me. I always felt like the odd one out in my family and I had very few friends. One of my most vivid memories is from Year 7 when this guy in my grade said to me on the first morning I caught the school bus: "What are you doing? You don't belong here." I never caught that bus again. I hated myself and crying became a daily ritual. There were times when I just wanted it all to end, but I feared death just as much as I feared life.
Finding something good
One night I was on the internet and came across ReachOut.com. While on the site I read factsheets about anxiety and depression. I also read about the applications for the Reach Out Youth Ambassador program and I thought how good it would be to do something like that. I decided to apply and it was the best thing I ever did. About a month later I received an e-mail saying that I had been selected. I couldn't believe my eyes!
The end of my course was fast approaching. I applied for two jobs, both as a Trainee Secretary, and to my surprise I received two interviews. I put everything I could into preparing myself for the interviews. I practiced answering questions, studied the companies websites, planned what I was going to wear and spent hours perfecting my resume and portfolio. I asked my parents to drive me into the city and show me the buildings where the firms were located so I didn't need to worry about finding them on the day.
Both of the interviews went well and I scored myself a job. For once, things seemed to be going my way and I was beginning to feel happier. I had finished my term, just become a Youth Ambassador, and I had my new job to look forward to.
Facing daily challenges
My first year at work was full of challenges. I felt self conscious in meetings and the same old thoughts of not fitting in, not being good enough and nobody liking me still stuck in my mind. I worked for some really horrible people and would often go home in tears. At one stage I absolutely hated it and wanted to leave.
As the year went on, I began to make new friends at work. Some of these friends, the older ones, became my mentors. They encouraged me, taught me how to be a good secretary and offered me career advice. Slowly I was coming out of the shell that I had been hiding in for the past 19 years. I was gaining a lot of confidence and I began to believe in myself like I never had before.
ReachOut.com has definitely helped me as well. Being a Youth Ambassador has enabled me to do things I would have otherwise never had the opportunity to do. I also find it very rewarding and enjoyable contributing to a website that helps young people. The crew are so supportive and are always there when I need to chat because after all, like everybody I have days when I feel down and things don't go right.
I've come so far
Today I am armed with a positive attitude, motivation, direction and a happy outlook on life. I surround myself with people that have similar qualities and attitudes. I have heaps of friends and am constantly being invited out and I always accept! I try and think positively about everything I do, even if it's something boring. I have learnt that you have to believe in yourself and never underestimate your ability to succeed. If I can do it, I know you can too.