Depression… I never really believed it to be an illness or acknowledged it as one until I experienced it. The first time was in 2006, I locked myself in my bathroom. My boyfriend had just left to go home, and I didn’t want him to leave. I freaked out, I cried, I was scared and I didn’t know or understand why, I could only feel. My mum tried to help me, but I didn’t want anyone but him. It was then that I first felt the real feeling of the “black hole”.
I felt like I was stuck down a well and I couldn’t climb out, and I couldn’t scream for help, I was mute, I was helpless.
It felt like hell. I didn’t really experience another “episode” like this until about two years later. But in that time I endured a physically and emotionally abusive relationship which lasted two years. I’d also injured my back at work, three times in a matter of a few weeks. Looking back now I feel this may have been the catalyst of my depression. The trigger that started it all.
It was a muscular injury so while nothing too serious, I’d never had an injury before. I couldn’t sit for long or stand for long without it hurting and my work duties got cut right down to basically sitting at a desk. I had to do endless physio, hydrotherapy and eventually rehabilitating pilates. My back has never been the same. Not only could I not do a lot of every day tasks without pain, I had to rely on other people to help me do things.
After a stable period I then fell in a hole again and I started seeing a psychologist. And I really wanted to find a group of people who knew to some degree what I was going through, so I wouldn’t feel alone anymore.
I then came across GenWHY, emailed Amanda, and found out the times and went to the next session. I didn’t know what to expect, but at this stage I was desperate. I thought I had tried everything so far that I could think of and this was my last resort to help improve my sanity. It was totally not what I expected. Everyone was so young, and healthy looking. People smiled, if I’d seen them in the street there is no way I would’ve thought they were depressed. I came to realise
Wow, these people are just like me, they want to be happy but they’re struggling too
They understood. They just got everything I said, everyone was nodding and mmming and it felt so good. I felt liberated! Now I go to every meeting I can, I’ve learnt my strengths and weaknesses and I’ve ultimately learnt to put myself first, and I’ve found out exactly what I want.
I now go to the gym 3-5 times a week, walk my dog most days, and just have more motivation to LIVE. Part of me does wonder if I’ll have depression for the rest of my life. Maybe I will maybe I won’t I guess no one can tell me that. All I know now is with the help of my psychologist and my friends, family, boyfriend, and GenWHY, I can now proudly say that I have my depression under control.
I first attended the Bluebird support group in 2014 after experiencing depression and anxiety for around 10 years following a workplace injury and subsequent issues with chronic pain. I have learned over the years to manage my mental health issues using pain management techniques, counselling and medication, but found that attending the support group provided me with a safe place to discuss my experiences without fear of judgement. I have continued to learn from attending the group and the organised activities, and feel like I have contributed to helping other people through the group discussions. I hope that as an ambassador for Bluebird I can contribute to the group continuing to provide support to people like myself.