It all began 4 days after Christmas in 1992.
At 9:42, I squeezed out of my mums belly and I became Bethany.
My mum took me home with her and I lived in a big house with my two older brothers, my sister, my parents, and various animals including cats, dogs, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits and fish.
I had such a great childhood.
It was filled with lovely people such as my three nanas, my grandad and my huge families including numerous cousins and aunties and uncles.
My brothers, sister and I were always outside, creating mischief wherever we went, although there were the odd days when we would sit down and make perfumes from cold rain water and flower petals, or daisy chains from the green outside our front door.
We were always getting into trouble and often we would get punished for it.
I remember that I once took a bracelet from a store where my older brother had been to get new shoes.
Yup, I got smacked that evening.
But us kids were happy together and we had so much fun.
When I was nine, things started to go wrong and my dad flipped out and went totally crazy on us all.
I won’t go into too much detail but let’s just say, my siblings and I were made victims to the onslaught.
For years, the fighting and the arguing went on between us all and it saw my parents split and my childhood home vanish from our hands into the hands of strangers.
My achievements at school had gone from good to bad to worse. The girls I went to school with began to make fun of me and the problems I was having at home and at the age of 13, I dropped out of school altogether.
My mum, my siblings and I had moved several times since our parents split and we had found it extremely hard to make ends meet.
Some days we struggled to eat and struggled to keep warm. My mum told me that if I wanted a new coat for the snow, bearing in mind I didn’t have one, then I had to get a job and pay for it myself.
Even when the lock on our front door broke and we couldn’t afford to get it fixed, we had to leave the door hanging on the latch and my brothers would make sure no one would come in whilst we were sleeping in the night.
During this period of our lives, my mum had another baby.
My little brother Leo, who I adore with my entire being.
About that time, I started running off to London for weeks at a time, to escape the pain I was feeling at home. My sister was bullying me and my dad kept coming back to our home to threaten and hurt our mum.
I would meet strangers on the street and they would become friends.
I had a different boyfriend every two weeks and I rarely ate any food.
I was 14 years old.
On my final evening in London, I had been locked up in a house by a “friend”. She had left me there with two adult guys.
One of them threatened to take my belongings and force me to perform a sexual act on him at knifepoint.
Luckily though, the other male saved me from this ordeal and managed to get me out of the house and to the nearest bus stop for me to get back to where I was staying.
The next day, stunned at the event of the previous evening, I decided enough was enough, and I went back to my mums house.
I lolled for months.
By this time I was 15.
I didn’t get a job, I ate so much junk food, never exercised, watched tv all day and cried about how crappy life was for me.
When I turned 16, I was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
My spleen had spontaneously ruptured and I was dying from internal bleeding.
Somehow, by pure miracle and lots of amazing life saving people working in the hospital, I lived to tell the story.
It took a long time for me to get over the trauma of the event but eventually, I started to build a life for myself.
I learned new things, got myself a job, cared more about other people, made friends,
And I even got to travel to a few cool places like Italy.
The one thing that held me down though, was the fact that I had by then, developed a severe eating disorder.
After a couple of years, I was on the road to recovery and was aiming higher and higher and achieving more and more. My future looked bright. I was happy and healthy.
Then came the next blow.
My aunt, who had previously won a battle against ovarian cancer, had learned that the cancer had come back and this time, there was too little time to save her.
She went into a hospice and I remember our final meeting there.
I don’t want to go into any further detail from here.
I went to her funeral. I cried.
I still don’t feel like I have grieved enough for her but that will come in time.
Around that time, anorexia had relapsed within me and I began to control my food intake and exercise again, this time even more so severely.
I met a man named Lewis and about a month after we had begun dating, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
I said yes.
Almost two years later and we have had so many ups and downs but our relationship is definitely worth fighting for.
In recent months, I have been diagnosed with severe clinical depression and given medication to take for it.
I quit the job I was unhappy in and now I have no income.
I am happier.
But I am seeking a new life for myself.
I am seeking something better for myself.
To be continued…