Understanding my story and who I am, begins with my childhood. I was born in India, and my mother at the time was in what they define in India as an illegal relationship, with my father. She was in a sexual relationship with someone she was not married too. When she became pregnant with me, she told my father and he immediately denied it and left her. My mother was left homeless, and she still was when I was born. I was only one year old when she passed me onto my grandfather who was also homeless as she was no longer able to take care of me. For two years I was living with my grandfather on the streets. When I was three he died. The police picked me up and put me into an orphanage. I weighed ten kilograms. I stayed in that orphanage until I was adopted by my Australian family at four years old. I then moved to Australia with my new family to start my new life. When I was younger I had a great relationship with my Australian family. I was their little girl and they were my loving parents, everything seemed normal. It wasn't until I was about fifteen that I started playing up. I wasn’t doing well in school and I stopped talking to my family more and more. I starting feeling very different about myself. I started isolating myself, hardly talking to anyone. Whenever my family tried to talk to me I shut them down. When they asked me questions about what was happening with my school and grades, I just froze and didn't say much. They tried desperately to talk to me and get me to open up, but for some reason I couldn't. I felt sad, I had no idea why. I couldn’t talk to anyone especially my family even though they were so open with me. I had trouble making friends and trusting people. I would also feel anxious in open spaces and find it difficult to relax in new environments. At sixteen my behaviour got even worse and I started skipping school, my grades dropped and I wasn't talking to my family as much. I was fighting a lot with my parents and running away from home. At the time, I didn't see anything wrong with me, I actually didn't even realise what I was doing. Deep down I was depressed, I was anxious, but being a teenager I didn't understand it all. My relationship with my family got worse over time. Our relationship got that bad that a youth worker had to get involved. I was put into a youth hostel where I started to use alcohol and drugs. I never ended up moving back with my family. I was depressed and I didn't know why I had decided to use substances to self-medicate.My family and I cut contact for five years, we didn't talk to each other. I was addicted to drugs and tried to kill myself a number of times. I started seeing counsellors and was put on medication for my depression. Now that I am older, I have started seeing a psychologist who has helped me understand that I was and am still suffering from a mental illnesses connected to my early adoption. For so much of my life I have never known who I really am. I have had a lost sense of identity my entire life. The pain of not knowing who my birth parents were, my culture, no knowledge of my heritage was hard on me, it still is. I felt lost. Who was I? Who am I? Who are my parents? What do they look like? Will I ever see them again? Do I have brothers and sisters? Are my parents alive? The list goes on, and it’s hard because I’ve never felt like I fit in. I really didn’t know who I was at a young age and I still don’t and that hurts me so much. I decided I needed answers so I went on a search for my parents. Unfortunately I didn’t find out much, as they could not find my birth parents. I found out my mother’s name and my grandfather’s name but that was all. When I was nineteen I fell pregnant and had a beautiful son named Xavier. He was really the turning point. I was a single mother but he changed my life completely. He was my only true blood in Australia and that felt amazing. I hadn’t talked to my parents for a couple of years. However, I began talking to them a bit when I was pregnant and when Xavier was born my relationship with them slowly rebuilt. It was my son that brought my family and me back together. I stopped using drugs and I started opening up more to my psychologist and started going to adoption and counseling groups. It was hard to open up about my childhood trauma but I couldn’t hold onto it any longer, it was affecting me mentally. Being separated from my mother then living with my grandfather homeless, to him dying in front of me really traumatised me as a child. Lots of psychologists told me that it’s normal for an adoptee that has a similar childhood like me to have behavioural and social problems in your teenage years. Not that this was any excuse for my behaviour but it did play a role in shaping who I am today. During my counseling sessions I was lucky enough to meet a lot of different people with different stories similar to mine. I met people with very sad stories that didn't even compare to mine. I learnt from them how they overcame their hurdles. I realised that if I was going to keep living my life the way it was then I would not have a life at all. I am now married with a gorgeous son. If it was not for being treated for my depression and going to counseling sessions and group therapy, my family, my husband and God, I would not be where I am today. Now that I am older I realised how unfairly I treated my family and wish I could go back in time and fix it. I took them for granted and I was so ungrateful. I've seen darkness and now I see light. I still have a loss of identity that I may never know but that is okay because God made it that way for a reason and it only makes me stronger. I am planning on finding my birth parents with the help of my own faith. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
To all the people out there suffering from mental illness, please seek help, we are all human.