Amanda Greham finds peace in her relationship with God.
I was raised in a small town in the northwest of Western Australia. My parents always said we were Christians, but we didn’t regularly attend church.
Every year we went to Perth for the Christmas holidays to visit our extended family. My favourite part of the trip was going into the city. There is a lovely old church in the middle of Perth, with stained glass windows and I loved to go inside and just sit. It was so peaceful.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 18, and put on medication—this started a dark period of my life when I spent a lot of time and money on alcohol.
I went out every night and sent my parents crazy with worry. I was put on anti-depressants and sent to weekly visits with a psychologist. Unfortunately, every time the anti-depressants kicked in I thought I was well enough to go off them, which resulted in me hitting rock bottom on a regular basis.
Just after I turned 20 I met my husband, Kieran. I think that was the most scared I have ever been because I knew that he was going to change my life. We were engaged within months, and soon after moved away from my home town.
Over the next 10 years, I got married, gave birth to three daughters, and we moved a few times. I kept going on and off the anti-depressants and, after the birth of my third daughter, started struggling with panic attacks and anxiety. I found it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning to get the kids ready for school.
In 2010 we moved to Mackay (Qld), and I struggled to cope while my husband working away from home for six weeks at a time. I was lonely and back on my anti-depressants, but felt they weren’t working.
I had always hated taking medication on a daily basis, and didn’t believe that I should need medication just to be able to get out of bed every day.
Around this time, I took my children to the mainly music program (a music program for children) at the Mackay Salvation Army, and loved it. The ladies were all so kind and genuine; they went out of their way to be helpful and nice to me. When I left after the weekly session I felt relaxed and calmer than I had in a long time.
I had been thinking about going to church on Sundays for a while, but had not wanted to do so without Kieran. One night I spent some time in prayer and realised that I could do this, I didn’t have to wait for the next time Kieran was home.
I started attending the Mackay Salvos’ church regularly and felt a peace that I hadn’t had in a long time. Within a month of going to church I gave up my anti-depressants again. I learned to turn to God to keep me calm, and give me strength to get through the days.
After a while I became a soldier (member) and began volunteering as an assistant in programs such as, ‘mainly music’, JAM (Sunday school), ladies pamper nights and then welfare.
In May 2013 I was blessed to become the admin assistant and community welfare worker at Mackay Salvos. It has now been three years since I have taken my anti-depressants, and although life is not perfect, I now know that I can turn to God to help me any time I need it.