Kate remembers she was 10 years old when she decided she would one day compete in a marathon after being glued to the TV watching the marathon at the LA Olympics in 1984.
Even back then she had high expectations of herself. Growing up in a “hostile and uncaring home”, by age 14 Kate was desperately unhappy, lost the compulsion to eat and was diagnosed with anorexia. The lack of support and her family’s mistreatment led to continued issues with eating habits and began Kate’s 20 or so year battle with bulimia and binge eating.
Despite these troubles, Kate was an exceptional student. She won a scholarship to University where she completed a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Exercise Science. She graduated at the top of her class with first class honours and was then offered a further scholarship to study for her PhD at the Australian Institute of Sport. Unfortunately due to her declining mental health she wasn’t able to accept the offer. It was around this time that Kate was diagnosed with severe depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. Kate’s ability to function ‘normally’ rapidly declined. She describes her depression as involving more than just a lot of crying and feeling down. Kate felt chronically fatigued to the point even showering or having a bath was a real battle. She lost all her friends and her anxiety was extreme. Minor things would turn into major stresses. Sleeping was sporadic at best and she quickly became addicted to sedatives. On a few occasions she attempted suicide.
Kate tried many different types of treatment, few with little success: medications, different therapies, months of hospitalisation (sometimes locked up) and many episodes of electric shock therapy (ECT). After a 3-month stay in hospital it became apparent that Kate had lost much of her memory. She couldn’t remember her age, recognise her home, and despite having her license for 12 years, she couldn’t remember how to drive. She forgot how to spell even the most basic of words, but most frustrating of all to Kate was that she had forgotten all knowledge and skills related to her degree.
Through community support and her own determination, Kate became involved with services like Out Doors Inc. and has completed many outdoor programs with us, relearning and developing the skills she once had. Among her achievements is the 26-day Summit to Sea Program she completed with Outward Bound supported by Out Doors. She completed a Diploma in Community Services and one of her major projects was about Out Doors. Kate has been very proactive in her search for employment – writing letters to people she knows, volunteering, studying etc. She has started a Heart Foundation Walking group and coordinates the group, which walks every week.