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Bronte: "I can't express my gratitude enough"

My early childhood years were picture perfect.

I grew up in a lovely home and had support from my family and friends. Entering high school was when I first noticed my mental illness symptoms surfacing. I was struggling with being bullied and not feeling like I belonged anywhere.

After being sexually assaulted for the first time at 13 years old my mental health took a turn for the worse. I started cutting myself daily and restricting my food intake, I also attempted suicide multiple times in my teenage years.

When I got into year 11, my girlfriend at the time was a big drinker and she smoked cannabis. She introduced me to pot and I began smoking daily for two years. It was very hard to keep up with school and my addiction at the same time, so I dropped out of school to become a hairdresser. I loved the job but I experienced a lot of workplace bullying and was eventually fired from that job as they no longer needed an apprentice.

Desperate for money, I started doing sex work to earn cash for drugs and food. My mum found out and kicked me out of home. I had to then work fulltime in a brothel for 6 months to be able to pay rent for an apartment that didn’t even have a kitchen and to support my cannabis and alcohol abuse. After 6 months of doing this I was emotionally and physically worn out. I called my mum and she picked me up in the middle of the night and brought me home. Her only condition for me retuning to live with her was if I went to a long-term rehab and got off the drugs.

That’s where Triple Care Farm comes into the picture. I was put on a waiting list for roughly 3 months. In that waiting period I did a short three week stay at a private hospital but the facilities were horrible and the addicts there were a lot older than me and the nursing staff weren’t helpful in the slightest. After getting away from that hospital I went to daily Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings until it was time to be admitted to the farm. The drive to the farm was long and I was so nervous to go but I knew it was what I needed to get my life on track. The staff at the farm were very friendly and were there 24/7 to help with any crisis I had during my three months stay there. The accommodation was a lot more comfortable and homely which was something I really needed as I was very isolated in the months leading up to my stay.

Because I have severe depression, I had lost all my passions that I once had. But at the farm I could reconnect with my love of making music and to find new skills such as agriculture and wood work production.

The education program is also fantastic as I got my first aid certificate and was inspired to go onto further studies.

Since graduating from Triple Care Farm at the end of 2016, I have been on two trips overseas, and am enrolled in TAFE to complete my year 12 studies, which so far I’ve received top marks in all my subjects.

I have reconnected with my family and friends and am feeling more hopeful and positive for the future than I ever have. But most importantly I am now over a year clean off drugs and I’m not looking back.

Thank you to all the staff at Triple Care Farm and Sir David Martin Foundation for all the help and support you have given me to recover and move forward with my life. Thank you anyone who reads this, your continued support towards Triple Care Farm, making a safe place for young adults to receive drug and alcohol rehabilitation is an amazing thing and I can’t express my gratitude enough.

Thank you for reading my story.

*Name changed to protect privacy; stock image used.