Amber’s struggles with her weight were spawned from a teenage fight with chronic asthma. Before then, she was at an average weight. But through a combination of medications that caused weight gain and a spiraling depression, she began to put on the pounds – 100 pounds throughout her high school years to be exact.
The depression worsened as she dealt with the senseless cruelty that teenagers are capable of inflicting on people who are different than the ideal. Amber’s asthma made any hopes of turning things around even more difficult since she couldn’t participate in school sports or other activities.
Unfortunately, activities could not be avoided during gym class, when Amber was forced to run the track. She struggled as kids teased her. She even felt little support from her gym teachers, who she thought looked down on her as lazy.
While Amber continued to struggle with her weight after high school, things did get a little better. She met and married a very supportive husband, and the couple had a daughter together.
But the respite was short-lived, as Amber gained more weight after having her daughter and she fell further into the depths of depression. What made matters worse is she picked up smoking, not caring whether she lived or died.
Then hope arrived unexpectedly in the form of a job as a nursing assistant for a hospice agency. Taking care of terminally ill patients gave new meaning to Amber’s life, as she began to realize a purpose.
“These people needed me and I was able to provide comfort and love to them and their family,” Amber told us. “It was a wonderfully rewarding feeling. The feeling of gratefulness that people had for me started to make me appreciate myself.”
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