My story begins with my wedding day in 2007. The happiest day of my life was the day I realised something was very wrong, something was taking over my body and my mind. Everyone told me that it was just nerves, but to me this was a feeling that would never leave me. I loved my wedding day; I loved everything I had organised and most importantly I was marrying my partner, my best friend, and my everything, but I couldn’t escape these warning signs going on inside me. These continued on throughout my honeymoon, and even back to normal everyday living. In fact it got worse; to the point I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, leave the house.
My husband accompanied me to my ﬁrst therapist appointment, which was a massive step for me. I grew up in small town where you had to be and act in a certain way, and to show anyone you were less than perfect was just not an option. Now I finally understood what I had been feeling and living with, not only for the last couple of weeks, but mostly likely since my early teenage years. I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder. I cried and cried I didn’t want to have this, I didn’t even truly know at this point what I had. The guilt was just sitting with me, how was my husband going to deal with me like this?
I spent many sessions talking, learning, crying and understanding what I had, what I could do about it and how to cope with it. I spent months implementing my therapist’s coping strategies, having medication to help even out the balance within in my head, and a lot of me time to feel my way back into society again. It took a good 12 months of hard work to what I thought was recovery from it. Between 2008-2012 I was not medicated, back at work, had two kids and had bad days here and there, but I was never worried enough to say something. Six months after having my second bubba the bad days became every day. I realised that it was back, the depression and the anxiety was all there in a new way, and that ﬁst to the stomach was back.
I started my medication straight away again and thought that would be enough. It helped, but being a mum you lose sight of looking after yourself very quickly. Fast forward to my current, and I have had several more wake-up calls since then. Thoughts of suicide, living with endless amounts of guilt because I would feel I’m not enough, panic attacks, sicknesses, hospitalised, you name it; it was all happening, whilst trying to be a mum and a wife.
2016 for me has been my year of clarity. I started therapy sessions again and I work closely with a naturopath. I’m still on my medication but the really big thing for me is that I’m starting to share my story. I’m not ashamed of what I live with anymore, I’m not embarrassed by what people think when I tell them. I’m finally being honest and the weight that lifted off me was surprising. Simple acts of kindness have show me that people care, people want to help and it’s ok to let them.
I still have bad days, and days where I think it’s all going to come crashing down. My husband is my rock and has lived through every day of this with me, if not for him and my two amazing kids I may not be here. They remind me to fight for every moment, but the simple fact is that I have depression and an anxiety disorder. It’s a part of me the struggle is real, but it’s manageable. You are never alone, keep fighting to become your real self again. It’s there, it just takes time.