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.

Monday, 1 October 2012

How Depression Changed My Life...


Did you know that this week is mental health week in Australia? Mental health week is all about destigmatising mental health illnesses so that people can talk openly about their struggles without feeling judged, weak or like it's all in their head. Hopefully forums like my blog, will help people to accept, deal with and move on from their suffering so that they can enjoy a happy and healthy life.


This time last year I had only just returned to full time work after battling with Depression. I had been in and out of hospitals, had hit rock bottom and couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. The bright, bubbly, life loving girl had disappeared deep inside of me. I was left deflated, with little self confidence, no energy and dreading the day ahead.

Fast forward a year and I am engaged, working full time, writing a blog, renovating, travelling to Fiji and standing by my sisters side on her wedding day. But what is most important to me is that I am healthy and happy and those are two things that I will never ever take for granted.

Wow what a difference a year can make!

While I wouldn't wish Depression on anyone, I am grateful for the lessons that I have learnt through my experience.

I thought I would share them with you :)

1. Know your limits.

I know this sounds silly but I didn’t know or listen to my body and it’s limitations before I was sick with Depression. I was just go go go all of the time. My calender would be booked for months in advance, and not just on weekends. Every night of the week I had a meeting or I was catching up with a friend or I was playing sport. My body never got any down time. Even when it was screaming at me through bags under my eyes and ulcers in my mouth, I didn’t listen. So know your limitations and listen to your body. I now know that I have to spend at least 3 nights a week at home mellowing out on the couch to give my body the down time that it needs.

2. It’s okay to say no.

 Why is it that as kids we constantly say no but as we get older it’s so much harder? I was the yes girl. Yes I can do that for you. Yes I can add something on to my already full plate to keep you happy. Yes I will spend the only night that I have home this week catching up with you so that we don’t lose contact. Yes, yes, yes. But at what cost? It cost me my health that’s what cost. Something that I no longer take for granted. It’s okay to say no. The person will just ask the next person down their list who might be in a position to say yes. Only say yes if your gut is telling you to. If your gut says no, verbalise this. You’ll feel much better for it.


3. Take each day is it comes.

 I always used to worry about things that I had done and said in the past and I would look too far into the future, now I have learnt to just take each day as it comes. While it’s good to keep the future in mind when making decisions, don't let it control your feelings and thoughts in the now. It’s much more manageable to wake up and think positively about the day ahead, getting through work, getting home, cooking tea and chilling on the couch rather then what’s going on every weekend for the rest of the year.


4. Depression is frightening.
I was so naive before I had Depression. I used to think that exercise, eating healthily and a positive attitude can stop Depression. These things can certainly help to prevent it, but sometimes your brains chemicals become unbalanced, and that’s when Depression can occur. I now have the greatest level of respect, understanding and time for people suffering from Depression. It’s tough. Very tough. It’s a daily struggle to face the world. It’s a daily struggle to get the energy to get out of bed. It’s an illness that’s still surrounded by stigma and that kills me. It affects so many people. It’s not a sign of weakness or insanity. It happens to everyday people like you and me. It’s an illness like any other that just needs time, help, support and sometimes medication to get through.


5. How Depression impacts those around you.

 It’s crazy, I can openly admit and accept that I have suffered from Depression; that I am that 1 in 3 that suffer from a mental health issue. But I struggle to accept, deal with and move on from how my illness affected the people closest to me. I pushed them away. Far away. I couldn’t reply to messages, I didn’t want to see anyone, and my friends and family saw things that I wished that they never had to see. It was hard on me, but it was so hard for them to watch someone that they cared about hit rock bottom. I am just so grateful that they stood by me during my time of need.


It’s definitely made me realise that it’s also important to ask the friends and family of the sufferer how they are coping as well. They need time out too and a huge hug and someone to tell them that it will be okay. Depression isn’t permanent, no matter how permanent it feels for the sufferer. It just takes time, understanding and support from friends, family and professionals to get through. It takes time for the sufferer to accept that they are sick and to work out to deal with the emotions that they are feeling. I am glad that I have suffered from Depression because it has made me a better, stronger, more understanding and assertive person. It has helped me to put things in to perspective. As long as I’m healthy and happy and the people around me are healthy and happy then that’s all that I can ask for. Anything on top of that is a bonus.

Everyday this week i have guest bloggers on to share their experience with mental health. Please join me in welcoming them to my blog; it takes a lot of courage to speak up and I am so grateful for their contributions.

 Look after yourself and those around you,



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