For Mental Health Awareness Week I wanted to share some of my story with you. In part because I believe it’s important to talk about our mental health; it’s something that just still isn’t talked about openly enough, or enough at all. But I also want to share my story as a reminder that no matter how tough things are, or how impossible it may seem, you can take back control of your finances and thrive financially.
From a young age my relationship with money was a fractured one. My parents divorced when I was small, and the contrast between the financial positions of my mother whom I lived with full time, and my father when we went to visit, was vast. My Dad was an ambitious entrepreneur, while my Mum held a part-time job and devoted her time to raising myself and my three siblings. I recall feeling very acutely that money was something I wanted to be in control of for myself. I did not want to be dependent upon anyone else for money, and I also had a strong sense of what was mine; if I had money it was going to be me who spent it.
Aged 15, that feeling of needing to be in control became something that would drastically shape my life, at least for the foreseeable future. Both my father and twin brother emigrated to Australia, leaving me with an utter feeling of emptiness. Two very important people had been uncontrollably torn from my life, and I began to control the only thing I felt I had any power left over; food. It consumed me, quite literally. And alongside came a new feeling of being out of control, one which was related to the way that I looked and appeared on the outside. No matter how much I meticulously controlled the food that I put into my body, I never quite felt good enough. I wasn’t slim enough or pretty enough, my clothes weren’t good enough or at least not on me.