I am not sure if I have ever mentioned this in my blog, but I suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are major issues, and affects so many individuals and families around the world. In light of the terrible passing of Charlotte Dawson, I thought it was high time I did my part to shedding light on depression.
I thought I would share my story in the hopes that others may help themselves understand that they are not alone. I am going to span it over a couple of weeks so I am not bombarding you with a wall of text to read. I hope that’s okay.
Please note, I don’t want these post to be a sad or ‘depressing’ posts. They’re happy. I am very much in control of my ‘black dog’ and he rarely visits anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way ‘cured’. I just feel much more secure and open about talking about these issues. And he still visits, although I’m happy to say that he doesn’t nearly affect me as much, and I can shoo him away fairly quickly and effectively.
I first came to realise that I might actually be depressed in 2012. I was finding myself crying, panicking and becoming reclusive, and not wanting to do anything. This went on for years (it’s scary to say that!) but thought this was normal ‘down days’ that everyone has. I think it began in 2008, when my beautiful, strong sister lost her baby at 38 weeks. The grief of that experience just never really went away. After four years, my (still current) partner of nine months said it probably wasn’t okay that I felt shit all the time, and suggested I talk to someone about it.
Once he said that, it kind of became clear. I was seriously not even aware that it could be a possibility. But it was. I will specify here that while I did suffer from panic attacks during times of stress, I relate more to being ‘depressed’ rather than anxious. I had spiralling down days, not able to get out of bed, not able to be motivated, and unfortunately, some thoughts of ending it. It’s not a great thing to talk about, and while I am not ashamed to say so, I am just so thankful for the help that I’ve had from friends and family.
After about a week of umm-ing and ahh-ing of seeing the doctor, I finally bit the bullet and booked myself in. I saw a lovely lady GP and poured my thoughts out to her. She was so understanding and was able to refer me to a psychologist, and started discussing the possibility of going on medication.
Taking this first step for me was crucial.
She gave me a lot of information to research, websites to do surveys on, and a trial of medication to try. She was very understanding, helpful and I believe that if I had not had such an awesome GP, I might not be here where I am today. In the past, some GPs have been … traumatising…to say the least. I owe a lot to this lady.
I am going to leave this post here, and reach out to those of you who suffer from depression, anxiety, or any kind of mental illness. I have to say, it wasn’t easy to put this in print. Although I am lucky to have so much support and nothing ‘bad’ essentially happened, it isn’t easy to put yourself out there!
Please leave a comment if you feel comfortable. I’ll be back later with a new post if you’d like to hear more about my journey, and what the next steps were.
If you need help right now, please call Beyond Blue.