Sunday Stories is a weekly segment where I interview people who have overcome obstacles in their life, offering inspiration and motivation. I ask 5 questions and let them tell their story how they feel. We have started with women who have been nominated for Lifeline’s Woman of Spirit of Rising Woman of Spirit Awards.
This week we have Rachel Stevens, who has overcome growing up in a broken home, anorexia and depression and is now an author and speaker. You can check out here site here.
1.) Why were you nominated for the Woman of Spirit award?
I was nominated by a friend because I use my personal story of overcoming mental illness to inspire courage in young people. I grew up in a broken home and suffered anorexia and depression from a young age. During late 2014 I released my first novel “The Skeleton Diaries”. It’s my journey of surviving and recovering from a severe eating disorder. I share my story in high schools and encourage young people that no obstacle is too difficult to overcome.
2.) What are your top 5 tips to anyone overcoming obstacles/facing challenges?
My top 5 tips for those facing challenges would be:
1. Persevere – Perseverance builds character and strength, it can carry you through the hard times.
2. Reach out – Ask people for help and support before you reach crisis. We don’t have to do life alone.
3. Be grateful – Gratefulness grows in the shadows of hardship and adversity. It re orientates your focus onto what is good.
4. Be kind to yourself – Don’t be too hard on yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and respect.
5. Give – Use what you have overcome to help others. Make it a beacon of hope for people suffering in similar situations.
3.) What is your favourite motivational quote (or quotes if you have a few)?
– “The urge to quit is strongest just before breakthroughs occur. Those are the times when it’s most important to stay focused and committed. You will encounter the urge to quit many times. Get over it. Quitting is not an option; always be prepared to give it one more day.” – Matthew Barnett
– “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” – Romans 5:3
4.) What book would you recommend everyone read/what book changed your life and why?
Rick Warren’s – The Purpose Driven Life. This book really helped to give me clarity about my purpose. Warren writes “The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.” This book challenged and inspired me to live a life that was about serving, caring for, helping and inspiring others. I would recommend it everyone as it subverts the general ideas in life that happiness is about ourselves. It shows that true happiness and fulfilment comes from living out your purpose, which means living a life that is all about love for others.
5.) What would you like people to learn from your experience?
I would like people to learn from my experiences that they can recover from mental health issues. Not only that, but they can live an incredible and enriching life that helps and inspires people. In my book The Skeleton Diaries I wrote “Light eats away at the darkness that enslaves and torments us. Love conquers self-hatred, fear and doubt”.
I want people to see that love is greater than fear, doubt and pain.