Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What it's like to suffer from Depression.

Me with my favourite cocktail, a Pina Colarda, up in Far North Queensland!

I have suffered from Depression.

I never thought that it would happen to me. I thought I was invincible. I was so naive. I thought it only happened to people who were sad, to people with financial difficulties, or people who were going through a divorce, or who were abused, or were struggling with grief and other major troubles and difficulties in their life, OR to people who were pessimists or people who didn't like themselves. Not people like me.

I never took a step back to look at my lifestyle, my personality and my family history to realise that I was a train wreck ready to happen. 

Beyond Blue: what puts a person at risk?


My calender was booked for months in advance. Not just weekends but every night of the week. Sport, catch ups, meetings. You name it. I had it on my plate. I also work full time. I never gave my body the chance to just relax. To do nothing.


I have a long family history of mental health. Grandparents, parents, uncles, aunties. But I didn't think that it would affect me. I still felt as though I was "stronger". I felt as though I could prevent Depression from happening through my diet, exercise and attitude. I was so wrong.


My personality pre-Depression ticked all of the boxes for "at risk". The below dot points are taken from the Beyond Blue website. Peole "at risk" include:
  • A lifelong worrier
  • A perfectionist
  • Sensitive to personal criticism
  • Unassertive
  • Self-critical and negative
  • Shy, socially anxious and having low self-esteem.


 At the time we were buying a house and I was changing roles after winning a secondment. I didn't realise just how stressed I was, nor how tired and rundown my body was. I just thought that I was stressed because work was busy and that it was normal to feel anxious about starting a new job.

I knew things weren't quite right when I couldn't sleep. Then I couldn't eat (when normally I am an eating machine). I started losing weight. Then I started losing interest in things. I didn't want to be around people (and that's a HUGE thing for me because I'm such a people person). I started doubting my ability at work. I would second guess everything I said. I started thinking negatively about everything. I couldn't concentrate.

I went and saw my doctor. He diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety. I told my Manager. My work mates were so supportive.

Things didn't improve though. I felt like I was carrying a huge weight on my shoulders. I withdrew from everything. I lost interest in everything. I felt numb.

I had to have two months away from work.

I was hospitalised.

I could not get out of bed. I was a different person. I didn't even recognise myself, nor did I want to. 

It was scary. Not only for me, but for the people around me. 

The fun loving, outgoing, full of energy, life loving girl that they knew disappeared. One of my friends told me that they thought they had lost me.

It still brings tears to my eyes. 

I was talking to my mum about what it felt like the other day. I could only describe it as though someone else had taken over my body. I didn't have any control. I felt weak. I felt like there was a great weight on my shoulders. I didn't even have the energy to put one foot in front of the other. It felt like something had control over my brain. Like someone had flicked the positive switch to negative and it couldn't be reversed no matter how hard I tried.

It was like a living hell.

It saddens me to think that so many people suffer from Depression yet it's still such a taboo topic. That we can talk openly, and feel sympathetic towards Cancer patients and Heart Disease yet Mental Health is kept quiet and people often question, poke fun at, tell people to "snap out of it" and just don't seem to accept that it is a serious illness just like any other.

Is depression common?

"Very common. Around one million Australian adults and 100,000 young people live with Depression each year. On average, one in six people will experience Depression in their lifetime - one in five females and one in eight males."

This is by far the hardest post that I have written. I wipe tears away from my eyes as I think back a year ago, only a year ago, to what it was like and where I was at with Depression. So many people wouldn't even know how sick I was. They would've just assumed that I was busy or had other things on my plate, and that is why I wasn't "around" for a couple of months.

I am writing this post to create awareness about Mental Health. To show that Mental Health can happen to anyone, at anytime. You don't have to be unhappy. Depression does not discriminate against race, age, class or anything.

It angers me that it has taken me this long to talk openly about it because I almost felt ashamed of suffering from it. I didn't think people would understand. I thought people would think that I was weak, and insane. But I now know that I should give people the benefit of the doubt.

If I can help just one person to accept that they have suffered or are suffering from a Mental Health illness, if I can help just one person go and get the help that they need, if I can save just one life, then admitting openly to everyone that I have suffered from Depression is worth it to me.

Help me to create awareness about Mental Health. Create a status on Facebook about Mental Health to help spread the word.

You just never know who it might affect next.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

Who to contact for help?

Your local GP.

A Psychologist.



Elise Collins said...

Its a beautiful thing when I read your posts, because I can tell that they come from a place of genuineness and honesty. I think it is healing for others to read your thoughts on a subject that is shrouded with so much social stigma, yet becomes the reality for so many people! Thank you Kirsty. I know that finding a way out from Mental Health Illnesses is deeply personal and the time and process is very different for each person. I thought, since people who read your blog might also be interested in others, I would share my favourite blog that has helped me feel less alone and 'destuckify', as she so cutely puts it :) http://www.fluentself.com/

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