Category Archives: Depression

The Wheel

So here you are again

The wheel has fully turned

Now it’s time to make a choice

About what you have learned


Do you let it go another round

And repeat it all again?

Or have you finally reached a point 

Knowing it will never end?


The wheel will keep on turning

The past will still repeat

Until you make a conscious choice:

Is this it what you really need? 


It’s like you’re stuck in motion

Not knowing how to stop

Asking why nothing changes 

Or why you feel so blocked 


It doesn’t have to be this way

But something has to change 

Will you jump off the wheel

Or go around again?

You CAN get out 

Depression – I’ve been there. 

Post natal depression- been there too. 

Anxiety- yep, I know all about it.

Almost my entire life, I’ve been exposed to the realities of mental illness. I’ve supported and lived with loved ones suffering a range of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Some of them have overcome their illness, some are on their way, some haven’t reached the point of acknowledgement yet, and sadly, I have lost one to suicide.

More importantly though, and the reason why I feel I can speak honestly on the matter, is that I’ve also been the one with mental illness. I’ve been the one who needed patience and support from others while I worked through those struggles myself. I’ve been in that place where I was so low and lacking motivation that I felt as though I’d never come unstuck. I’ve had the manic episodes where I was careless with my own well being, and at the same time, felt so very alone. I know what it’s like to have an anxiety attack and feel as though you you’re genuinely going to die, and no one would be there to help you. I’ve worried over things that were never really happening in reality, and cried so much it made me feel physically sick. I’ve also felt so numb that I couldn’t possibly face the world, let alone socialise. The incessant worrying, the unprecedented thoughts, the sadness, the anger, the numbness, the loneliness, the sporadic highs and lows…I know how it feels firsthand.

But I also know how it feels to overcome it.

If I was given the choice to go back and not experience anxiety and depression, you know what? I wouldn’t. I have learned so much about myself and others, that I am grateful for having lived through it. I am thankful that I am now able to truly empathise with others who experience similar challenges, and as a parent, I am better equipped to support and guide my children with their own mental health. I am grateful for having a much better understanding of life and of who I really am. Nope, I wouldn’t take it back.

Unfortunately you can become so stuck in a depressive state that it can just feel easier to stay there. It feels safe. It feels familiar. Even though part of you knows that you don’t want to be living like that, and that it can be overcome, it just all seems too hard. Loved ones may ask you to get help, or it may even take a big, sometimes painful, ‘wake up call’ (like a relationship breakdown or loss of some kind) for you to finally realise it’s time to reach out and get help.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to reach a catastrophic moment to recognise I needed help; I was just lucky I was open enough to listen to my loved ones, as well as my own heart when they brought it to my awareness. I’m glad I did too, because I was then better prepared and in a much healthier6d0cae2f35046d4c78ea1a448747786d place when it came time to face some of the toughest experiences of my life. If I hadn’t made the effort to begin the healing process when I did, I might very well still be suffering to this day, and would likely be in a much darker place than I was initially.

No matter how deep your depression has gotten; whether you’ve felt this way for a few months or several years, you
can get out. Not only have I done it myself, but I’ve seen others who were in a much darker place than myself do it too. But first, you have to want to get better, and to do that – to be in that mindset in the first place – you have to acknowledge you are depressed.

Among many helpful tools such as reading up on mindfulness techniques, cognitive behaviour therapy, medication, and the support of my psychologist and loved ones, the most important part of my healing was allowing myself to feel, and then, to express those feelings. So, if you’re in a place right now where you’ve been able to take that first courageous step of acknowledging you need help, my suggestion to you is this:

Feeling your emotions 

Allow whatever feelings arise to flow naturally. Whether it’s anger, sadness, disappointment, guilt, jealousy, or even rage, allow yourself to feel it. Don’t keep trying to push those feelings aside because the more you bottle them up, the harder they are to manage when they eventually resurface again (and they will resurface-even if it’s years down the track). It’s much safer and healthier to cry, yell, sob, or throw punches at a punching bag than it is to get to the point where these feelings may come out in other ways (such as violence, self-harm or addiction). 8ae5f3198179e992f7020a77b0e9fab5

As difficult as it is to believe that really feeling these emotions could be helpful, I promise you, it is. They’re obviously not nice feelings to be experiencing, but they are there for a reason, and that reason is to be feltYou will quickly start noticing just how different you feel afterwards; how much lighter you feel, and what a relief it is to have finally let it out.

This is a huge part of the healing process and is called releasing or letting go. Once you’ve been able to do that things will start getting easier. You will have made room in your heart and mind for more positivity to enter.

Expression

Another very helpful thing to do when processing your emotions is to express them in other ways, such as writing or speaking about them with someone you trust. Until you’ve done it, you will not believe just how therapeutic this is. Again, it may bring on tears or feelings of anger or sadness, but being able to express your innermost thoughts in this way gives you a more ‘concrete’ way to further release them through the use of words (eg. on paper, on a computer, or by speaking).

A great way to think of this process is that once you’ve released these feelings by turning them into words, you no longer own them. They are no longer intoxicating your thoughts, your heart, or your mind. This again, leaves a much bigger space for you to start the road to healing.

While suffering from depression or any other mental illness isn’t easy, it can be overcome, and ultimately, will make you that much stronger and wiser as you make your way through it. Life does get easier, the days will be brighter, and you will know again what it’s like to feel joy. This is in no uncertain terms, the absolute truth, and believe me, I know, because I am now in that place. No matter how long you’ve been there, or how deep or dark a place you are in right now, you CAN get out.

“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” – Doe Zantamata

If you are feeling depressed, or know someone who is, there are many support networks out there, as well as useful information available, with just some of them listed below. If you are ever in a place where you feel like harming yourself or others, please reach out to someone you trust and contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Emergency 000 or 112 from your mobile phone. You can also contact the Crisis Support Chat online.

Beyond Blue  1300 22 4636

Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation  1800 650 890

Black Dog Institute Information on symptoms, treatment and prevention of depression and bipolar disorder.

Kids Helpline A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.  1800 55 1800

MensLine Australia A telephone and online support, information and referral service, helping men to deal with relationship problems in a practical and effective way. 1300 78 99 78

MindSpot Clinic An online and telephone clinic providing free assessment and treatment services for Australian adults with anxiety or depression. 1800 61 44 34

SANE Australia Helpline Information about mental illness, treatments, where to go for support and help carers. 1800 18 7263

Make me a promise, son 

My eldest son is twelve years old and he in his first year of high school this year. While his childhood has been prodominently happy and full of love, he has not been without some tough times either. 

He was a victim of bullying in his later primary school years, and has dealt with his fair share of change from moving house and schools several times. He has experienced some challenges, including adjusting to having his Dad living interstate and only seeing him a couple of times a year, and losing one of the closest men in his life; his great grandfather, when he was eight. He has also experienced the reality of the effects of mental health issues with watching his Mum suffer and overcome anxiety and depression, as well adapting to life with his stepdad who has lived with PTSD and depression for ten years. 

In spite of all of this however, his resilience never ceases to amaze me. He is a sensitive young man who never shys away from expressing his emotions, and I am often in awe of his very kind heart.

So, to all you young men who may be struggling with understanding who you are or why you’ve been faced with challenges so early in life, please know you’re not alone. 

To all you boys who aren’t afraid to show your feelings, good on you! You may get told you’re acting like a ‘girl’ or a ‘sook’, or that you shouldn’t be so emotional; don’t listen to it because that’s rubbish. Emotions are a natural and necessary part of being human. You’re much better off talking about your feelings than bottling them up; that’s how you keep your mind healthy.

Anyway, my hope is that you might take something away from this letter, just as I hope my own son does. 

Make me a promise son; a promise to always be you.

You may have had your tough times throughout life so far, but you are such a strong person already because of your experiences. 

Because you’ve been a victim of bullying, you can put yourself in others’ shoes who might be experiencing the same thing. You can truly empathise with them and support someone in need. You never judge others based on their appearance, race, abilities or sex. You embrace everyone for who they are. This is a beautiful trait to have, ang this makes me extremely proud.

Through your experience of not having your Dad around all the time, while I know it’s been hard, you’ve learnt to truly appreciate the time that you do get to spend with him. You aren’t concerned at all about what he can buy you, the places he could take you, and all the materialistic things; you simply enjoy being with your Dad and the relationship you have with him. This experience has also helped you to form closer and more meaningful relationships with the family members who are close by. I know what it’s like not to have my Dad in my life, as you know, and the fact that you cherish that very special relationship with your father warms my heart.

When Pa passed away, I know it was hard on you, and that you still miss him terribly. You are very lucky however, that you were able to spend eight wonderful years getting to know such a special man, as many children don’t ever get to meet their great grandparents. I know you appreciate having him in your life, even if it wasn’t for a very long time, but always remember just how much he loved you and how he adored his first born great grandchild. Experiencing loss and grief through losing such a close loved one for the first time in your life allowed you to broaden your awareness of what really happens after our physical body dies, and has also helped you to embrace your spirituality.

Living with two parents who have suffered from mental illness hasn’t been easy, I know. Our little family has had our fair share of challenges, to say the least, and I appreciate just how much of an effect it has had on you over the years. Even though at times, this has placed you in a position where things are unfair or upsetting for you, you still manage to have such compassion and understanding, that it overwhelms me. Your patience and resilience is astounding, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. I have no doubt that you have learned an entire lifetime of lessons from this, and that you not only support and ground me, your mother, but you’ll likely do the very same for many more people in future (whether you do so intentionally or not).

Let me tell you that we need more young men in the world that are just like you. Men who treat women with the utmost respect and aren’t afraid to show affection. Men who openly talk about their feelings and cry when they feel the need to. Real men who don’t feel the need to be violent towards others in order to let out their feelings, because they can do it so much better with words. That is a true sign of strength. 

You are an amazing young man, and I am truly honoured to be your Mum. Never feel the need to change who you are, or apologise for being yourself, because that’s what makes you so special. Always live your truth and do so with the utmost confidence. I love you and I will always be right there to support you. All I ask of you is one thing:

Make me a promise son; a promise to always be you.