I am the "lazy" addict who survives on the dole. I am the one that the Government says it can cure by stripping me of control over my welfare payments.
But I am here to tell you it won't work. I believe I deserve more.
My community has dreams. We grew up wanting to be doctors, lawyers, firefighters and politicians.
Me? I dreamt of becoming a social policy researcher who could solve the "problem" of mental illness which affected so many I loved.
I planned to cure mum's mental illness which wrought havoc on us kids in terrifying and horrific ways.
This, compounded by postnatal depression, drove her to try to drown me in the bath. It ended in her losing custody.
So why hasn't my dream come true?
I lost my childhood to abuse
It is adversity, not drug addiction, that has prevented me from getting a job and pursuing my career.
I lost my childhood to abuse. The traumas I faced have followed me into adulthood.
I was abused by many different people by the time I turned 13.
When my mother lost custody, my father was supposed to take over but he couldn't cope with unruly teenagers and left me in the care of a man who became my final abuser.
My father had no idea this man was capable of sexual abuse. He assumed the best of people, a little too naively.
But, as I finally revealed to my devastated father many years later, instead of caring for me, the man who became my unofficial guardian groomed me for abuse.
He regularly fed me drugs and by the time I was a teenager, I had a drug dependence disorder.
Once addicted, I was easy to exploit. He insulted me and sexually abused me. Once, he beat me so badly he broke my front teeth.
At age 14 I would find myself in the house of other men who would want me to pose naked on their couch in exchange for the drugs I was now dependent on.
Even so, I struggled to leave him. Every time I tried, I went back.
I thought that if I went to detox and broke my addiction to the drugs he supplied me I would be able to leave him. But, even in the absence of addiction, I could not.
It wasn't until I was 17 that I looked for help and I was 20 before I found the strength to escape him.
I fight every day to overcome my past
It took me a long time to understand that it wasn't drugs that had kept me trapped in a nightmare, but the absence of community and social support.
The promise of family and someone to love me eventually helped me leave. Youth services gave me respite and helped me see I could have a better life.
I'm 32 now but I still fight every day, just like so many other young women, to overcome my past and make a better future a reality.
But my childhood experiences left me managing mental illness, as well as drug dependence and disorders caused by trauma.
Just as I learnt that addiction wasn't what kept me trapped with that monster, I also learnt that there was no magic bullet that would cure mental illness.
When I hear our Prime Minister suggest "being on drugs stops you getting a job", I wonder how much he understands about adversity and poverty.
For so many people like me, drug dependence disorders are not the cause of our problems — they are a symptom of it.
I could escape drugs, but the trauma of my childhood does not just go away "with a job".
I knew I was at risk but I couldn't find support
I needed help then and I still do. But when things fall apart, there is a lack of places to go for support.
A recent relapse occurred just as my career was taking off. I was earning good money in an industry I loved.
But then — not long after I watched my father die from cancer — I was summonsed to court to face one of the men who had abused me as a teenager.
I knew I was at risk. I could feel the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resurfacing and they included drug dependence.
I could not find help in time and it cost me my job.
Long waiting lists and a lack of services I am eligible to access often mean I am out of the workforce anywhere from a few months to a year.
The stigma of drug dependence, combined with lack of funding for support to overcome it, leaves those like me with very little chance to get ahead.
If I could stop the severest symptoms developing, I may be able prevent a relapse and get back on my feet and back into work faster.
I want to become everything I dream of being, but my career is often put on hold during my relapses. I feel like I am forever playing catch-up.
I want choices
To me, quarantining my welfare payments feels similar to the economic abuse I suffered in my violent relationships.
The bottom line is this: I feel vulnerable to exploitation.
A policy that requires me to pee in a cup, and puts me on a waiting list for under-resourced services, will not help me maintain my career. Just like going to detox to break my addiction did not help me leave my abuser.
Policies like this perpetuate a narrative that I value hedonistic pleasure over a fulfilling career and community connections.
The myth that "free money" is so attractive that we would prefer to languish at home rather than participating in fields we love is ludicrous.
It feels like the catchcry of tough love is a way to blame me for my own poverty and dependency disorder by taking away my economic independence.
I want choices.
Most importantly, I want the choice to be able to go to rehab or get treatment.
Maybe perpetuating the idea that those on welfare are deviants implies we are not worth compassion. Does this give the Government an opportunity to deflect from calls to raise welfare and health services?
Instead, psychiatric care for me looks like scripts of benzodiazepines (legal drugs) and wait lists of months to a year to get in to a dual diagnosis rehab — that means a place specialised in treating drug disorders that emerge after trauma.
Care groups specific to those of us with PTSD are scarce. The last one I enquired about did not have enough funding to go ahead.
While I wait, I swallow pills to keep the anxiety at bay, followed by another drug to relieve the depression.
Like the nursery rhyme about the woman who swallowed a spider to catch a fly, I am constantly medicating with various drugs to regulate my emotions and to make the world seem okay for an hour or two while I wait for better care.
'I self-medicate so I won't hurt myself'
I self-medicate because the alternatives are worse.
I have had 16 stiches from self-harm. My arms and legs covered in scars. Multiple suicide attempts. I self-medicate so I won't hurt myself.
Those with mental health issues are not cured by the absence of "drugs" (in fact, many are routinely medicated by prescription medication, which causes far more deaths than other drugs).
We have had a royal commission into mental health care, as we should, yet we are still failing to understand how and why drug disorders emerge and that drug disorders are mental health issues.
That is why you can find them listed in the DSM-V, the manual used for psychiatric diagnosis. They are listed alongside other mental disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
I mention OCD because from as young as five years old I was dealing with nightly panic attacks.
I trembled in fear and used a range of rituals to ward off impending doom: I checked every drawer and cupboard to ensure they were not open a crack. I made sure the curtains were fully closed. Everything had to be in its right place or waves of panic would paralyse me in my bed.
I would trace the outlines of objects with my fingers in bed and count in threes. I did not understand why but I felt compelled to do it and it kept the panic at bay.
When I became uncontrollably upset during the day I would self-harm and the relief was instant. My grief and anger poured from my body.
There was no one to tell me that the systematic abuse I faced throughout my childhood may be the reason for my uncontrollable chronic anxiety.
Soon enough, even these rituals were not enough to control it.
Self-medication or "drug abuse" became another compulsion.
I thought I had found a miracle cure
Discovering cannabis as a child was the start of my relationship with drug use.
I still remember the first night I was able to sleep alone, the curtains open, the drawers open, everything out of place, nothing compelling me to perform my usual rituals.
I fell into a peaceful slumber. It seemed like a miracle.
The cannabis was given to me by a man twice my age. Soon after it was a line of methamphetamine, then crystal methamphetamine, a cheaper version.
It is ironic that we treat people with mental illness by handing them drugs, at doctors' offices or psychiatrists, yet we persecute those who self-medicate.
Scott Morrison, I want a job. I don't just want to be working. I want to be working in volunteer roles, and I want to be in a paid job.
Help me get a job by doing your job.
Fund the treatment I actually need and you will see results within months. If I have a go, I'll get a go, right?
I want to have a go. I want to take on the world.
Follow Tara on Twitter @_Taraschultz.