Amanda Ray shares her tumultuous journey with us, and explains how she worked through her difficulties on her own and achieved everything that she has to date. She has so many exciting goals and plans for the future still to come!
Name: Amanda Ray
Social Media: Twitter
What is the biggest obstacle you have faced in life & how did it impact you?
At the age of 17 I was raped. I felt it was my fault, so I stuffed the emotional trauma down. And, told myself it didn't happen. For the next couple of years, I turned to drinking and using laxatives. I felt unloved and unworthy of love. Believing it was behind me, when I met a wonderful man, whom I later married. But the thing about unresolved traumas and feelings, is they don't go away, they are still there waiting to explode.
And explode they did. After a long complicated labor, which resulted in 3 major operations within the first year of my daughter’s life. I suffered clinical depression. All those unresolved feelings came out and I suffered a complete emotional breakdown. Resulting in hospitalisation. Regrettably, our marriage didn't survive. I found myself a single mother of a 2 year old. Trying to rebuild my life, look for employment and care for my daughter. Not the life I expected.
My self esteem was low as I coped to keep everything together. Not surprisingly, a couple of years later I attracted an abusive partner. But that's another story... it is my belief that the rape was the start of a long journey to rebuilding my self esteem, self love and worth. During that journey (since my marriage broke down) I have survived a 10 year DV relationship, relocated interstate, periods of unemployment, attracted another toxic relationship, moved to Sydney with him. When his drinking became unbearable, I moved back to Brisbane.
A year after returning to Brisbane I was diagnosed with breast cancer, lost my contract job a week later, struggled financially while coping with cancer, operations and treatment. In the last 6 years I have been made redundant 3 times. Been diagnosed with early onset of Parkinson's and autoimmune cirrhosis of the liver.
What would you say are your greatest achievements in life thus far?
Raising an emotionally balanced, independent, confident daughter. She is my pride and joy. And, a wonderful legacy to leave the world when my time comes.
How did you work through your struggles to achieve the success you have today?
Medication to help with the flashbacks, meditation/mindfulness and I kept continually challenging myself. Questioning myself and looking deep within to understand who I was as a person.
Self acceptance and forgiveness for my mistakes. I also had a deep unwavering belief in myself, even during the dark times, that I would be able to inspire and help others. I didn't understand that belief or how I would make a difference. But it kept me going, kept me learning and growing as a person.
What is one tip you have for keeping motivated?
To believe in something or someone whether it’s God, Buddha or the Universe. It will give you a purpose to keep moving forward. And, help you focus on something other than yourself.
Who is someone that helped you on your journey from struggle to success?
No one, I did it by myself. The long hard way, which I don't recommend to others. But my determination to ensure my daughter grew into an independent, strong woman kept me going.
What qualities do you think are essential in a person in order to be successful?
A strong belief in themselves, self awareness and acceptance of who they are as a person. And, above all to never stop learning, growing and moving forward.
Do you think there are benefits to going through hardships before achieving your goals?
Yes, I can honestly say that I don't regret any of my mistakes or challenges. It has given me an appreciation for life. And, to realise that we are all here to learn and grow through helping and inspiring others.
What are some plans and goals you have for the future?
Continue with my humanitarian work. To be the voice for the people society has forgotten. To raise social consciousness.
Conduct workshops for survivors of DV in Mindfulness and Budgeting 101, a course I created based on my own experience as a struggling single mother.
Finish writing my book and to continue writing articles and quotes. I also want to expand on my speaking engagements. And, to seek sponsorship or be associated/affiliated with a charity organisation or foundation. This will enable me to continue my work and offer workshops for a small fee.
Lastly, what is one piece of advice you have for others to overcome difficulty and achieve success?
Learn from my mistakes. If you have suffered a traumatic event then seek professional and medical assistance. Do not stuff your feelings down, accept it happened, no denial and importantly don't blame yourself.
Amanda’s advice to seek help when you need it is definitely a key step in moving from struggle to success!