I would have been eight when I decided I wanted to be a doctor. No one in my family had finished high school, let alone university, so I can’t say it came from that. Health always held a fascination for me. Whenever someone said that they were unwell, I wanted to know why they were unwell, how they got unwell and how to make them feel better. Even when I had to leave home and school at 16, I didn’t lose that dream. I worked wherever I could to support myself, doing mainly hospitality work, but also ceramic tiling, industrial cleaning, tobacco picking and lychee packing. When I went back to high school I was 23, and a single mum with a toddler and a six-month-old baby to look after. During my lunch breaks, I would use the cleaner’s room for expressing breastmilk and I’d do my assignments in my spare time, so that at the end of the school day I could spend time being a mum. Routine and discipline kept me going. I got accepted into a few medical programs and decided on Monash University’s and, in 2005, my medical education began. One of my pre-intern rotations was to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in 2009. I was there at the time of the Black Saturday bushfires and was involved in victim identification. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, later on post-traumatic stress disorder affected me greatly, leading to mental health issues. Now, I’m a GP in a country practice, and while I still see a psychiatrist regularly, I am in a better place. I am raising my two teenaged boys and know that I have to balance my work with time for myself and my passions. I am sharing my story because I’m passionate about mental health, and because my experiences might help someone else see there is no barrier to following your dreams.