As told to Shona Hendley.
When I was younger, I had a completely naïve belief about what having a family would offer me.
I simply thought I had to get married and have kids in order to be fulfilled. So, that's what I did.
I married my husband, Ron* over 30 years ago and we had kids quite quickly, a girl, Sara*, and a boy, Tom*.
Watch: Be a good mum. Post continues below.
Motherhood certainly wasn't a breeze but for the first 12 years or so, I absolutely adored my kids and being a mum.
But by the time my daughter hit her teens, that all changed.
Initially, I had thought it was just adolescence, and all the emotional and hormonal changes that come with it.
But then her behaviour started to become more worrisome. She started to act out at school.
Given she used to be a star pupil, this was a big concern.
Sara became a regular truant, missing classes she used to enjoy. She started hanging out with ‘the wrong crowd’, smoking, going to parties, even her music tastes changed.
Ron and I tried talking to her so many times I lost count, but nothing made any difference.
School intervention didn’t assist either, it just made Sara lash out even more. Age 15 she refused to go to school completely.
This was when she began sleeping all day, going out all night, drinking and taking drugs regularly.
She was always in a low mood and she said how tired she was all the time. We took her to doctor after doctor in an attempt to address this, as well as her drug and drinking habits.
She was diagnosed with everything from chronic fatigue, depression, bi-polar, anxiety and more. But no matter what medication or treatment she was put on, it never seemed to make much difference to her energy, her motivation, or her behaviour.
Sara’s behaviour had escalated so much we would often get calls from the police about her.
She couldn’t hold down a job and ended up qualifying for a disability pension due to her ongoing mental health issues, which I think just fuelled the problem more.
After years of this, Ron was at the end of his rope.
He and Sara, who was now in her twenties, would often butt heads. He had much less tolerance for her behaviour than I did.