I didn't have the most secure childhood. Mum was mentally ill. Manic depression they called it then. Dad did his best but his main priority was keeping the family financially secure, so everyone and his dog had a hand in taking care of me and my brother. I was mostly looked after by my Grandparents whose old fashioned ways and strict upbringing I resented greatly.

I was insecure as a child and I couldn't stand up to the kids at school who bullied me. I was desperate for attention from my peers and was overjoyed when I was accepted as part of a group of 'friends'. It didn't matter that I had to shop lift to stay on side, or smash down that old lady's fence to look cool. I was moving up in the world. By age 12, I could even blow smoke rings with my cigarette!

One day it all changed. I was angry and bitter that my Mum was so crazy and couldn't be a 'proper' mum to me. I sounded off to our local minister and was really surprised at his reaction. He was great and really understanding. He never judged me, even when I told him about the things I shouldn't have been doing. I joined a Christian youth club and the other kids, my 'friends' didn't want to know me when I was a 'Bible Basher'. It didn't matter though. We did a lot of good in that youth club, raising money for charity and helping challenge third world debt to name but a few. It made me feel great to finally be part of something positive and I did make new friends.

I enrolled on a hairdressing course at college and was really proud when I got asked to do friends and relatives hair. It really helped with my self confidence, but then my world came crashing down again. My Nan who I loved and who had helped to raise me, became ill and eventually died. I lost faith in the church and the youth club.

I fell into an abusive relationship because I was too weak to realise what was happening and I broke away from the support of my family. Luckily my brother 'interfered' and put an end to that relationship and he helped me move back in with my parents. By this time my mum had found a cure from the manic depression but my relationship with her was still at an all time low.

I realised I had been pregnant, which resulted in a miscarriage. I was heart broken but couldn't confide in my mum or anyone for support. I dealt with it the only way I knew how, shut it out and pretend it hadn't happened. I became very moody and depressed, blotting things out by food, alcohol, cigarettes and the occasional joint.

My parents gave me an ultimatum, sort myself out, get a job or leave. It was a big risk but one that paid off. I got a job. Supporting adults with learning and physical difficulties. It was supposed to be a stop gap until I could get a hairdressing job but I realised I loved it. I helped them and unwittingly, they helped me too. I felt inspired as I watched them struggle to do everyday things, cope with intense pain everyday and yet never give up. I started to realise my life wasn't so bad after all. I did this for ten years at two different residential homes before meeting my Husband in 2004.

We married in 2006 and I consider myself extremely lucky. I have found my soul mate. I have so much love and respect for my Husband and am very proud to call myself his wife. Life for me is getting better every day and these days it is what you might call idyllic. I am loved and cherished by my Husband and have a really nice home which we have 'done up' together. I have a close network of friends I met at work and I know they will always be there for me.

I feel I have a debt to pay back to society. We foster children because I know more than most, that not everyone has a perfect start in life. I really want to help if I can. I try to think positively and remember that my experiences have helped to make me a better foster carer and in fact, we are now in the process of adopting two of our foster children. I've been very lucky considering. Everyday I thank God for my blessings.
RobertaSunset RobertaSunset
36-40, F
1 Response Aug 6, 2010

Thanks justme. I've read a lot on here about people who are having a real hard time. There was a time that I really thought that I would be better off dead but I got through it ok. I don't think I'm especially strong or anything, quite the opposite if the truth be told. I really hope that by sharing my story, it can be an inspiration to other people who are suffering and that they will find some strength to believe that things do come right in the end.