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My life has been a journey, one I wish no one else would ever have to go through and yet wouldn’t exchange for the world. I have trekked through some of the most inhospitable recesses of the soul and come out on top. After two decades of Bi-Polar Manic Depression and many failed attempts at traditional therapies, I found Life Alignment.

My story begins at 16 years old, not only was I an insecure teenager and on the verge of manic depression. I was a girl who on the outside, seemed to have everything together. I apparently put that message out to everybody; but fell apart at home. In retrospect I know how extreme I was constantly bouncing from one wall to the next. Everything in my life was all or nothing, so if I decided to go on diet I would stop eating or when I put on weight I would gain 20-30kg at a time. There was no logic; everything was out of proportion.

I always felt inadequate and never felt understood, I was convinced I was different and often felt completely isolated and alone. In hindsight I realize I am simply one of our indigo ‘special emotional needs’ kind of girl. During my high school years I became addicted to laxatives and had my first nervous breakdown at 19. My suicide attempt followed shortly, I hated myself.

Diagnosed with Bi-Polar Manic Depression I was placed on a slew of medication including anti-depressants, Lithium, Risperdal and underwent severe psychotherapy. Two years later I took myself off the medication – not such a great idea! I then spent the majority of my twenties oscillating between periods of intense mania and chronic depression. I was completely mad at times! At the height of my manic episodes I felt like I could do anything. I’d stay up all night making music or painting. I took in a destitute bergie because I felt sorry for him.

When I sensed the depression coming on, I would go manic to avoid the troubled emotions. I was spinning between working at the coffee shop I owned and battling with my illness. I really was not coping. I lived the extremities of bi-polar for nine years, avoiding the meds, eventually leading to my second breakdown.

In 1997 under this confluence of stressors, something snapped, I had a cataclysmic meltdown and landed up in hospital. I knew something was wrong and actually booked myself in. When I awoke, I was very confused; my brain had been completely slowed by the medicines given to me. I was finished, I could not even co-ordinate brushing my teeth. The psychiatrist put me on so much medication that they practically switched off my brain. I was like a zombie!

Once out of hospital, I went back to psychotherapy, but was disillusioned with my treatment. I believed that my psychiatrist was playing God with my life. She broke me down whenever I was doing well. She wouldn’t even hear about diminishing my dosages. Things went on like this for five years and it wasn’t helping. I thought I had no options.

My turning point came in 2002 when my husband and I decided to have a child. In order to conceive, I would have to go off my medication. My psychiatrist painted a bleak picture, saying I might need to abort the child if things went awry, I could have breakdown leagues worse than the last and suffer severe post-natal depression. But I braved this prognosis and halted all medication completely. After praying for help I was led to an amazing homeopath, Dr Digby, who had extensive training working with mood disorders and I simultaneously discovered Life Alignment.

Initially I suffered withdrawal symptoms as my psychiatrist had taken me cold turkey off my medication, which I had been on for five years solid. The homeopathic remedies took care of that side of things and Life Alignment took care of the rest. I had no money and needed some form of healing. Tracey Farndell, a Life Alignment practitioner, offered to take me on as a case study, not charging me initially – until I could afford to pay her. I see this as a pivotal change in my life and will never forget this particular generous moment. The very next month I fell pregnant.

In my first session with Tracey, I had the most remarkable and unbelievable shifts. In one and a half hours we shifted my separation anxiety, 35 years of constipation and unearthed why I felt I didn’t have a place in this world. My life changed, never to return to the same place.

It was the first time I had left a therapy session in a better place. Life Alignment gets straight to the core of the problem peeling off the layers one at a time, like peeling an onion. You see the issue is in the tissue. The body chooses its own priorities. You’re completely in control and there is no manipulation by the practitioner who works to the clients highest good. You come out feeling totally empowered and lighter after each session.

I was overwhelmed with positivity. I spent two and a half years going to weekly sessions first with Tracey and then with Tanya Harris. These sessions were instrumental in my healing and helped me deal with further tribulations, including my husband losing his business and attempting suicide. My eighteen-month-old son also underwent extremely high-risk neurological surgery the month before. I would never have coped if I were still on the medication. Life Alignment helped keep me focused.

I know how much I have overcome; I still hit my rough patches, but am now empowered to cope with them and know exactly how to shift my issues. My lifestyle has changed. When I have periods of extreme stress, I recognise this and manage these issues as they arise. I also make sure I sleep and eat well. I lean on my support system and have learnt that it is ok to say no.

I believe in Life Alignment and have gone on to qualify as a level two Life Alignment therapist and am now a special needs facilitator at St Cyprians, as well as a mother to a healthy four-year-old son. I want to offer light to people who sit in darkness; so I started writing a book and songs about my experiences. The words say it all. I need people to hear my message; you have to love yourself, respect who you are and know your boundaries. If people cannot accept that, it becomes their problem, not yours!

I have evolved, expanded and grown on so many different levels that I amaze myself at times. I’ve discovered the very core of my being, made peace with my demons and worked through so much stuff. My relationship with my husband has reached many new heights. I am now able to recognise my gifts and give thanks for all my blessings, with a real feeling that I deserve all the good in my life. I also know that whatever challenges come along are ultimately just learning experiences.

Sometimes people are their own worst enemies, pushing themselves to levels and extremes that no one else would expect from them. I did this to myself for years. I now respect myself. I believe I have self-worth and value myself tremendously. I wouldn’t change one part of my life. It’s made me who I am today. I love this girl I have become; I believe I can do anything I choose to do.