By Sandra Madadiara

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I am in my forties and a single mother, and have struggled with unemployment many times over the years. Because I had to provide for my children on my own, to put food on the table I have done everything from working as a cashier at a bank to sweeping streets.

For the last 8 years, I have struggled with major depression, entertaining thoughts that told me I was worthless. The feelings that I was no good were amplified when my 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Knowing she was carrying my genes I felt that somehow it must be my fault.

While growing up, my father was always my best friend and confidant. When I was going through these difficulties, he tried to encourage me just as he had helped me through every difficulty I have gone through. When he died this January, I felt like it was all too much. I fell into a deep depression and tried to kill myself several times. I ended up in a coma for a month after my last suicide attempt, and when I woke up in hospital I was put into treatment for depression.

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Then I learned that my daughter, who is now 22, had another tumor and had to undergo another operation! My therapist told me that I needed to get involved in something new, learn a new skill, specifically something physical, working with my hands to keep my mind busy, and move forward in my life. He said that only by improving myself, believing in myself and proving it will I get out of this depression, so I signed up for this sewing course.

These classes have meant so much to me. I feel that God did not let me die because He loves me so much and that he did not want me to miss the opportunities to enjoy all the special things he has for me, like this course.

Here the teacher has been very encouraging and patient. All staff has been very kind to me. It’s helped to keep me busy, learning, and positive, which makes it easier for me to fight the negative self talk and depressing thoughts. Now I also know a new skill to support myself and my girls.

I can do it. I feel that my dad is watching me, helping me, and I'm going to keep fighting and learning for him, to make him proud.

Written by Sandra Madadiara, as contributed by Agueda Martin, Project Manager of FEDES, a FCF Project in Chile.