Verbally abused as a child and into her teens, the Ballajura resident started believing what the bullies said.
Now she is determined to help others in a similar position.
‘I was bullied for being shy, a redhead, for having freckles and acne, and for being fat, but in hindsight, I wasn’t fat,’ Ms Ripper said. ‘It was verbal bullying and behind-the-back stuff; gossiping, sabotaging any self-confidence I had.’
The bullies damaged Ms Ripper’s psyche so much, she began a path to self-destruction and was diagnosed with depression.
‘I believed I was ugly and fat, and the solution was to lose weight to be skinny,’ she said. ‘I started binge drinking at 15, which lasted on and off into my early 30s.
‘I also had spates where I became obsessed with exercise. It was such a vicious circle of self-confidence issues; I hated the way I looked and who I was.’
The 36-year-old said she ended up bullying herself with negativity.
‘I spiralled deeper and deeper down into the black hole of anxiety, panic attacks and depression,’ Ms Ripper said.
‘Because I hated myself and because I believed the words I was told in school by kids and teachers, I believed that I was not good enough and that I couldn’t pursue my dream.’
Lost, self-destructive and anxiety-riddled, Ms Ripper managed to break free from her depressive state and travelled the world. On returning home with a newfound confidence, she excelled as a management consultant in the corporate world.
‘At one stage, I was a very successful project manager, winning awards in project management,’ Ms Ripper said.
‘But it nearly destroyed me, both physically and mentally.
‘I was a wreck, constantly stressed, working long hours, fatigued all of the time, subject to workplace gossip because of my success and in the end I quit because I felt like I was having a breakdown.’
Ms Ripper said she had turned her life around and had her depression under control. She was now helping others suffering depression and axiety as a life coach.
‘It’s such a buzz to finally be doing something that I have been meaning to do for a few years now,’ she said.
‘I have to keep pinching myself to believe I am doing it.
‘I’m not saying it’s an easy journey, but it’s definitely worth it and it feels right and I believe I can do anything now.’
Anyone dealing with depression should call beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or go to www.beyondblue.org.au