Today is World Mental Health Day. We need to have a conversation about coping.

Step 4, as advocated by Chris and Lifeline. Learn from others.

We’ve come so far in our understanding of depression and anxiety yet, today, as every day, six Australians will take their own lives. Six. So many Australians simply aren’t coping.

If you’ve never experienced mental illness, it sucks. It sucks a hell of a lot. Forget about descriptions of dark clouds and black dogs; let’s talk about the adrenalin overload that literally makes your head spin. Let’s talk about the obsessive, racing thoughts that could outrun Usain Bolt. Let’s talk about how locking yourself in your own bedroom will help protect you from ‘out there’. Whatever the hell that means. But it feels just that little bit safer, so you keep doing it.

Depression isn’t a so-called “first world problem” or a bad case of the sads. It’s an illness. So too with anxiety - it’s not simply an overdose of nerves or an epic rush to beat the deadline. It makes your heart pump enough blood for three people a day and leaves you so tired that all the triple-scoop cups of Blend 43 in the country barely leave you awake.

So how do we cope? How do we find a way to get through, especially when our thoughts are rushing so hard and our mood so inexplicably low that we couldn’t grasp a rational thought if it smacked us in the jaw like a right hook from Danny Green?

We talk, we listen and we share. If you are struggling, don’t keep it to yourself. If your mate is starting to skip out on parties or snaps at you for making a harmless joke about his mum, he’s probably not OK. So ask him how he’s going. If you find that when it comes to the crunch, your ability to cope with day-to-day life slips through your fingers, then you need to prepare.

Lifeline today launched its Get Help section, aimed at helping people to get through tough times. What particularly excites me is their Coping Kit.

I was planning to tell you a story about how I cried in high school, had panic attacks during uni and thought I was going to be taken away by the Men In White Coats from my first office job (this sounds flippant, but I ACTUALLY thought that). I won’t bog you down in the details but the reality is, for eight years, I wasn’t coping. I needed help. I needed support and I needed to cope. Where do you start? How do you start?

Back to the Coping Kit. If you or someone you know is struggling, you need this kit. Fill out the form, print it out and stick it in your wallet. Because when the time comes and you start to panic, help is literally in your own back pocket.

As Lifeline told The Punch: “It’s hard to think clearly when you’re in a time of crisis. At times like this you need something to refer to, a reminder.

“Someone you can call, an activity you enjoy doing, whatever it is to help you.”

What else can you do? Here are four simple coping tips from The Punch. Share yours.

1) Pick up your phone: Call your best mate. Call your dad. Call a GP. If that seems too intimidating then start with someone you don’t know, especially if you’re worried about being judged, and call Lifeline. They’ll tell you where to go next;

2) Put down your phone: Once you’ve spoken to someone who can help you and put a plan in place, it’s time for you to get out of your head and into life. This starts with putting the phone away. You don’t need to respond to every text, Tweet and Facebook poke. You need to switch off before you can switch on. Go for a walk without your devices. Have dinner and actually taste the food on your plate. Watch a movie and remember every line without having to look it up on IMDB. Life, real life, can actually be pretty good;

3) Do what you love: If shopping for new camel chinos, wailing to Sympathy For The Devil on your air guitar, and nailing the hill climbs during spin class are things that get you going, then do those things. Do all of those things. In that order;

4) Learn from others: There’s nothing more inspiring than reading a success story. I spent three hours researching Mark Zuckerberg when I saw The Social Network, and Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope is putting pressure on James Bond and David Beckham at the top of CP’s man-crush file. Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech, Anh Do’s autobiography and the TED Talks archive are few places you could start.

Read more about Chris’s story here. You can also follow @christoforpaine on Twitter.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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    • Mentally Interesting says:

      02:28pm | 10/10/12

      Mine would be to remember that being mentally ill is not a character flaw. I’ m not bipolar because of a moral weakness. It is just because of the cards I was dealt. Sometimes it is hard dealing with the fact that that I am in my mid 20s and have to be on medication for the rest of my life, but it is much better than being dead.

      If you even suspect that you have a mental illness, I strongly suggest getting help. I have had a difficult time finding the right medication but now I am able to get on with my life. smile

      And it’s OK to slip up sometimes, it’s OK to need help from your loved ones. It’s also OK to prioritise your mental health over things like money and career.

      Now to remember this stuff myself when I am feeling down… smile

    • Mik says:

      06:47pm | 10/10/12

      Mental illnesses are disorders of the the brain/distortions of the mind but definitely not a personal choice.
      Good luck, do all you can to build up your resilience. “An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Jamison is enlightening.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      02:50pm | 10/10/12

      I’m a 26 year old accountant who’s just about to become fully qualified. I’m just currently facing the fact that all the work/study I’ve done to get where I am has qualified me to spend the overwhelming majority of the rest of my life looking at excel spreadsheets, if that’s not depressing I don’t know what is. I’d contend a large slew of problems which were in the past called the normal struggles of life now come under the “depression” moniker. Certainly the stress of work demands (I’ve had work induced stress/panic) and the realisation that you are no different/more special than anyone else in the world and your dream life is in fact just a dream I’d say more education on the reality of the world in schools would be a good start instead of the whole you can do/have anything you want which seems to be the mentality of youth today.

      BD

    • amy says:

      03:12pm | 10/10/12

      whatever you do don’t tell highschoolers that its the best time of their life..you may as well be handing out razors

      but seriously thats a lie

    • Anna says:

      03:14pm | 10/10/12

      No, BD. There’s a difference between feeling down (fine, if you want to called it feeling ‘depressed’) because you hate your chosen career path and having depression. One is an effect of your situation or choices and one is a mental illness that doesn’t discriminate or care what your situation actually is. It is this kind of attitude that we need to erase if we’re going to stop degrading mental illnesses.

    • andrew says:

      03:29pm | 10/10/12

      I know the feeling BD , a “career ” can seem pretty similar to a 40 year + jail sentence at times. If it’s any consolation to you all the financial knowledge you gain could be quite useful to you should you decide one day to attempt to make a living for yourself through investments rather than turning up for the 9-5 mon - fri just to make someone else rich.

    • Christopher Haba says:

      03:32pm | 10/10/12

      Then that’s not depression. For other people that could be devastating. Everyone handles things differently.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      03:43pm | 10/10/12

      “One is an effect of your situation or choices”

      So…what you’re saying, is that BD should suck it up?  Stop being a pansy and just deal with it?  Huh…and I thought we weren’t supposed to do that.

    • Angela says:

      03:50pm | 10/10/12

      Dear BD,
      I would contend that you haven’t a clue about what depressed feels like. As an older member of society, I have not experienced the can/do have anything I like scenario, as you describe is the want of youth today (also questionable). However, I can assure you that depression is not just about feeling down and has little to do with not feeling special or realising one’s lack of individuality. It is an insidious mental illness which causes misery not only for the sufferer but also their family. Please educate yourself a little further before posting your ill informed opinions. Finally, I sincerely hope that you are never touched by this cruel illness and that you can continue your life in ignorant bliss.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      03:59pm | 10/10/12

      Anna, so you’re either born with depression, a medical symptom or you’re not? I understand there’s a difference between feeling down and depression but I’d argue life events (events pointed out in this article) can cause one to spiral into a severely depressed state. I’d also argue that one can be depressed without having a medical diagnosis and have the same requirement to address the issue at hand with potential for effects from it. I’m quite confident I don’t have a mental illness of any kind, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had doctors offer me anti-depressant medication previously.

      Furthermore can you please explain to me what is so degrading about suggesting education/treatment options about varying levels of depression. In my opinion there’s several degrees, just because someone isn’t bi-polar doesn’t mean they won’t make tragic decisions in times of despair. When then in your view does someone’s despair classify someone as mentally ill and thus worthy for adressing? When the doctor says so, when they first ask for help, after 6 months, when they take their own life?

      Unfortunately this isn’t a black and white issue and I find your point of view that only those who fit under a narrow nomenclature seem worthy for consideration much more damaging than the idea of preventative support for all comers I would be in favour of.

      Regards

      BD.

    • Jeni says:

      04:00pm | 10/10/12

      While you are going cross-eyed from spreadsheets, just remember that each one contributes to your reasonably sized paycheck.

      I don’t know why you think that everyone is the same. You couldn’t be any more wrong there. Everyone IS different. Everything about us is. Hair, eye, skin colors, tone of voice, all the way down to the minuscule living beings that live within us. We are an ecosystem in our own right. Be happy for the little guys in there!

      If you want something bad enough, you CAN make it happen. Unhappy in your life? Get off yer bum and do something about it. Its that easy.

      =o)

    • marley says:

      04:18pm | 10/10/12

      I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like real depression to me.  That sounds like coming face to face with the reality that you may have made some choices you now regret. 

      But that doesn’t mean you can’t give up the spreadsheets and become a carpenter or a librarian or a lion tamer if that’s what you’d rather do.  Nor does it mean you can’t wrangle those spreadsheets 40 hours a week, and live the life you want to for the rest of the week with the money those spreadsheets pay you.

      All you’re seeing is that, as you mature, you choices narrow and they become harder.  And going back is harder still, but if you’re that unhappy, do it anyway. 

      But again, that’s not what I understand clinical depression to be.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      04:21pm | 10/10/12

      Angela,

      I would contend that there are those out there with severe mental illnesses who could claim to those with milder but still apparent symptoms can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to really feel depressed. As Tim the toolman so eloquently pointed out you’re only willing to accept a certain level of depression of criteria as worthy of concern. I’ve witnessed first hand the transformation of somebody from perfectly happy & normal to taking their own life, at what point would they have warranted worthiness of being classed as truly depressed to you? For this young man there is a possibility that perhaps help in the early stages could potentially have altered his course.

      So while you may like to play the experience card and throw out terms like ignorance I’d suggest you’d be better served by keeping your mind open to those that may have had alternate experiences to those of your own.

      BD

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      04:25pm | 10/10/12

      “Finally, I sincerely hope that you are never touched by this cruel illness and that you can continue your life in ignorant bliss.”

      Wow…nice.

      Did you perhaps consider that sometimes this might be how it starts.  Continual pressure, loss of confidence in ones future, feel of being unable to escape…no, those will have absolutely no negative impacts and everyone will have exactly the same reaction.

      Angela, consider perhaps that things have a genesis and that perhaps we should look for patterns that can lead to depression later on rather than only caring about people who are already eyeing off the razors or the train timetables.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      04:40pm | 10/10/12

      Marley, I fully accept that it’s not clinical depression. Is it depressing in the situational sense that you described, absolutely. I have a wonderful group of family and friends so i would never contend that I have any sort of problem. My contention would be that there are people out there who aren’t lucky enough to have this and in this case I truly think I’d be thinking “what is the point?” in this situation is the person clincally depressed? probably not, could this contribute to someone becoming clincally depressed, I believe so.

      It’s the people who seem to have such an issue with my stand point who want to classify and need a certain magnitude of depression before it seems worthy that I find truly concerning. Mainly based off prior experiences and I’m open to the fact my opinion is wrong but I’m yet to read any meaningful argument other than “you couldn’t possibly understand!” which would change my point of view.

      Depression is horrible and I don’t mean to degrade it in any way, shape or form. I truly believe my point of view is more sympathetic to those who may seriously be in need but I can appreciate the sensitivty of this issue so I apologise if I have offended any with this view.

      BD

    • Anna says:

      04:56pm | 10/10/12

      BD I am nowhere near saying that there aren’t degrees to any mental illness. I am also the first to advocate early prevention and intervention, and an understanding that help is available from the very first signs.

      However, you saying that depression is merely a modern interpretation of the “normal struggles of life’ is, as I said, degrading to the actual illness and its sufferers. You don’t offer treatment, you’re simply telling people to feel guilty for their illness because once upon a time, according to you, people just dealt with it. That is what I take offence to, NOT your claim that you feel down when thinking about your career.

      Certainly life events can and do trigger downward spirals and depression in many people, but as we’re learning it’s so much more than that. It upsets me to hear that people still think it’s just an effect of one’s situations, as you seem to, when even at the peak of my life I struggle to get by. I would not be free from my illness if I had my dream career, as you seem to suggest. In fact, it is the illness that keeps me from getting it.

      If we’re going to really try to understand mental illness we can’t just overlook it like that. It doesn’t help anyone, and it oversimplifies terrible and complicated illnesses. That’s why people don’t get help, that’s why they end up taking their lives. They think it’s just them that can’t cope or won’t cope with what you call “the reality of the world” when they are actually in the clutches of a illness that has treatments and can be eased. Let’s give them the chance to do that without belittling them. Please.

    • ByStealth says:

      05:11pm | 10/10/12

      I’ve witnessed first hand the transformation of somebody from perfectly happy & normal to taking their own life, at what point would they have warranted worthiness of being classed as truly depressed to you?

      Exactly. At what point should he seek treatment or be worthy of support?

      Or is this just a suffering olympics point?

      I’ve suffered acute depression, have family members who suffer from chronic depression and have found a friend’s corpse after he commited suicide due to depression. I think BD should go seek help, because I’ve seen that the downward spiral can start with a situation like he is in.

      Best to work at getting yourself into a happier place sooner rather than later if you can.

    • marley says:

      06:08pm | 10/10/12

      @BD - I think what I’m trying to say is, that for you, in your current state of mind, there are options that you can think through, work out.  You are still in control. 

      Those who suffer from what I understand to be clinical depression, are no longer in control.  I think there’s a difference.  One might spiral into the other, or not.  Right now you have choices. 

      But everyone, whether clinically or situationally depressed, is worthy of support. I’m just saying that you’re young enough to get out of the situation that’s depressing you if you really think its the situation that’s causing it.

    • Living in the Present says:

      03:13pm | 10/10/12

      Explore mindfulness and meditation. There is a lot of material available from books, to videos, to your local meditation or Buddhist centre.

      A great place to start is to search for Jon Kabat-Zinn on Youtube.

      If anyone with depression or anxiety is reading this, I hope it helps you move to a path of less suffering.

    • Grateful for the experience says:

      04:04pm | 10/10/12

      I agree.

      I was dealing with depression for about 4 years until one day, I literally just collapsed and was subsequently bundled off to hospital.  While frightening at the time, that was THE best thing that happened to me.  Not only did it bring everything to a head but it put me in a place where I got real, focussed help, realised there were others who were worse off then me and taught me skills to live in the present and not to get caught up in the sadness of the past and the anxiety of the future.  As time went on I integrated these skills into my everyday being.

      It’s interesting to note that the traditional western psychology of delving and dwelling into events of the past is now being largely debunked as bad practice (in that it only validates for the patient that there’s something to be depressed about) that and is being replaced by the 2,500 year old Buddhist practice of mindfulness.  It certainly worked for me in that it got me out of the swamp of the past.

      I’d recommend attending a mindfulness course and regularly listening to (and participating in) the guided meditation CDs produced by Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness.

    • the sixth sense says:

      04:25pm | 10/10/12

      well said, Mindfulness was the only thing that helped me escape the anxiety. It is so empowering being able reagin control of your thoughts and the emotions attached with those thoughts.

      I have now learnt that this is a not weakness, If i had been born before civilisation I would have fit in fine. I’m always the first to spot danger or here sounds from far away as i am constantly am on high alert. This is extremely helpful when reading people as I can spot their microreactions quite easy.

      I can say, that with the help of mindfulness I have come out a much stronger through these experiences.

    • Jimbob says:

      03:16pm | 10/10/12

      Can anyone explain something to me I’ve never understood.

      When we talk about clinical depression, we talk about a biological change in the brain. With that in mind, a lot of cases of clinical depression are brought about by externalities, such as cancer diagnosis, loss of loved ones, etc etc.

      So assuming the externalities cause the clinical depression, would the clinical depression still have occurred without those externalities?If not, has any scientists determined any physiological mechanism to determine that an external event directly leads changes in the brain chemistry?

    • Dan says:

      03:38pm | 10/10/12

      Hi Jimbob, I’ll have a crack at answering your question but I’m not an expert. As I understand it, brain cells can change the way they connect to the cells around them. Through this re-wiring we remember things and together they represent the way we think - our personality if you like.

      In your example the rewiring has caused the depression and it would not have happened without the events. I have heard people say that three bad events in succession can trigger depression in most people. Anyway thats the way I understand it.

    • Ash says:

      03:57pm | 10/10/12

      As Bob (below) says, when depression is a response to external stimuli, that is called situational depression (also commonly known as reactive depression). If this persists despite treatment (or ‘recurs’ a number of times) this can become clinical depression.  Clinical depression (known by other names, including major depressive disorder) is basically when the depression is more serious, stable and basically meets “clinical” definitions of symptomatology.  So this can come about from situational depression, or from depression that is seemingly ‘out of the blue’.

    • Myewerk says:

      04:14pm | 10/10/12

      Hi Jimbob.  Regarding clinical depression, it can occur with or without an external stressful event.  However, stressful events can often precipitate depression in people without any biological predisposition to it and certainly for people with a predisposition to it.  There are a number of neurochemical changes that are associated with depression.  However, to date we cannot directly test brain chemistry or even do a blood test in clinical practice to ascertain whether someone is depressed or whether a external event directly leads to changes in brain chemistry.  BTW, by stressful event I am not talking about physical changes to the brain such as post head injury, dementia, brain lesions - which can affect areas of the brain that are directly linked with causing depression.

    • Alex says:

      04:39pm | 10/10/12

      Agree with what Ash has said.  I’ve had situational depression before which I’ve managed to get a handle on without medication and through making various changes in my life.  It was not pleasant at all, but I’m glad I was one of those people who can do it without medication. Some can’t (including people close to me).  I do currently suffer from bouts of anxiety, and there is definitely nothing in my life right now that are a definite reason for it.  It’s not pleasant, and is even less pleasant when you can’t work out why it is happening to you.  Thankfully I have an amazing support group of friends and family who I can call or get in touch with any time I feel I am not coping.  And I make use of this support group and I make sure they know they can make use of me for support any time, any day.  Unfortunately many people are not as lucky as I am.

    • Ash says:

      05:33pm | 10/10/12

      Great demonstration of situational depression Alex (and well done on being able to stabilise it so effectively). I suffered my first depressive episode completely without any obvious external stimuli; it occurred at a time when everything was going wonderfully and when I had minimal stress. My first ‘episode’ ended up as major depressive disorder (MDD) and I ended up effectively ‘out of action’ for 3 years, and really struggled for anther few years after that. I can definitely attest to the effectiveness of a good combination of medication, counselling and other forms of psychotherapy. I have been off active treatment now for a few years, but I still identify as having depression and anxiety - and approach every life change as having the potential to cause an exacerbation. This has happened a few times, but due to being taught warning signs and coping mechanisms by my psychiatrist and clinical psychologist, these have been managed and dealt with.  So although my MDD was also called ‘clinical depression’, I have been fortunate enough that it hasn’t resulted in lifelong medication / psychotherapy, just a bit of vigilance and awareness of brain chemistry, and how I respond to particular stresses.

    • Bob the builder says:

      03:26pm | 10/10/12

      Thats called situational depression, where you are depressed due to your current situation

    • Corner room says:

      03:27pm | 10/10/12

      Thanks Chris, but while your tips are regarded, Iits not ideal in a working environment and I find that for the most part , friends and family cant deal with it. Certainly not on a year in year out basis. So you don’t ‘call’ them in those moments.
      Therapists alike , they get tired of it and Ive been to many.  While most of us practice the good diet and regular exercise along with medication as I have , its still a daily battle and there are days when you don’t want to push through it , consequently we lose jobs and fail relationships.
      My heartfelt compassion for other sufferers.

    • Matchofbris says:

      04:58pm | 10/10/12

      Whaaaa? If your therapist isn’t willing to support you, even if that means taking a spontaneous phone call while going loopy on the train home at 5pm, you probably need a new therapist.

    • Amie says:

      03:33pm | 10/10/12

      sometimes, it just gets to much. it just take one little thing and all hell break lose. For me, it was gradual and then one day i was not coping. i could not leave the house, could not contemplating talking to people. Talking to someone who does not know you like a clinical psychologist helps. They are there to listen and to support. nothing you say is wrong, how you feel is not wrong. Just learning to take one day at a time and learning to like what you use to like helps

    • Troppo says:

      03:47pm | 10/10/12

      “If a mate starts skipping parties or snaps at you for making harmless jokes about his mum, he’s probably not OK.”

      The mate could be skipping parties for all sorts of reasons other than mental illness. There are no harmless ‘jokes’ or remarks about someone’s parents. The person who resorts to making what they think are ‘jokes’ about someone’s parents are probably not OK.

      The thing is that if people are being encouraged to become amateur psychologists and start trying to analyse and interpret every behaviour that seems ‘abnormal’ or out of place or out of character, they can do more harm than good.

      Even mental health professionals have difficulty diagnosing mental illness. Several years ago I was referred by a GP to a psychiatrist who concluded that I was suffering from a certain condition. She prescribed medication and arranged a follow up.

      Because I was concerned about the side effects of the medication, I sought a second opinion. The second psychiatrist concluded that I was not suffering from the condition which the first one said I was and recommended a counsellor to help me cope with various stressful issues I was facing at the time. I told this psychiatrist what the first one had diagnosed. He explained why he thought she might have arrived at her diagnosis and that her diagnosis might be possible, but very unlikely. He said he preferred not to prescribe medication unless other forms of treatment / help did not succeed.

      I took the advice of the second psychiatrist, but I did go to the follow up session with the first one during which I told her what the second one said. She became quite defensive and bordered on calling the second one incompetent and not taking certain factors into account. When I tried to outline the second one’s reasons for not agreeing with her diagnosis she would not hear of it and concluded the session, basically saying that if I didn’t agree with her diagnosis and follow her recommended course of action (ie pop some pills) I would get worse.

      So, what’s a person supposed to do if they two people with plenty of qualifications and many years experience don’t agree about the condition, nor the course of action to take?

      It’s not like a suspected broken bone where a simple X-ray can determine whether it is broken with certainty.

    • Matchofbris says:

      03:54pm | 10/10/12

      Already prepared for a long list of offensive and dismissive comments from people with either no sense of empathy, or who are plain ignorant.

      I’m glad for initiatives like this, and days like R U OK? Day etc etc but after the steady increase in awareness over the last decade it’s as though we’ve made no progress. No change. The majority of people are still willing to disparage or hide from a conversation about mental illness.

      The silence is deadly.

    • marley says:

      06:13pm | 10/10/12

      @Matchofbris - I would say that this is a struggle, like any other, to change mindsets.  How long did it take the world to recognize that slavery and the slave trade were wrong?  How long to understand that women were perfectly capable of casting a vote?  Or that gays had a right to a peaceful existence?  This is another struggle, and it won’t be won in a day or a decade.  That’s no reason not to keep hammering away at it.

    • Kate73 says:

      04:10pm | 10/10/12

      The problem that I have found with depression is that before diagnosis most people don’t realise they are suffering with the illness. I was at my lowest ever, battling to cope, and went to the GP upon advice of family members. Medication and psychotherapy helped tremendously, and I learnt as much as I could about depression.  Unfortunately for me it gets worse when I have had major crisis to deal with such as cancer and relationship breakdowns, and I had the occasional panic attack when it was all too much to deal with. But I know how to spot when it starts creeping back, and try hard to identify the emotions I am feeling so that I can try and focus on positive ones and drown out the negative or false ones. So the first step in dealing with depression is to get help - drag your friends and accompany them to the GP or therapy if you need to, because my experience is that most sufferers don’t realise the extent of their depression and its dangers.

    • Ash says:

      06:21pm | 10/10/12

      I’m glad you had people to help you Kate. I only acknowledged my condition, sought treatment and began the long recovery process after my then-boyfriend told my dad and they effectively held an ‘intervention’ for me. It is hard as you may not recognise it in yourself and there can be a stigma attached (better now than in the past, but it is still hard… I was a Medicine student and felt too embarrassed to admit to my condition!). Glad you have learned the warning signs too - wish you all the best.

    • Kerryn says:

      04:26pm | 10/10/12

      I once looked at my now ex partner just after I’d finished a panic attack.  Fear, confusion, sadness.  How the hell are we supposed to talk about something we have no clue on?  Have a cold?  Have two panadol and a lie down.  Have a broken bone?  Cast on for a few weeks.  Have a mental illness?  Er…..

      We love to be able to fix things.  Mental illness just isn’t fixable.  It’s something you have to live with.  That’s pretty confronting for anyone.

    • Lonely says:

      04:50pm | 10/10/12

      I hate tips like what has been offered. I have anxiety and depression (quite a common combo!), social anxiety means I can’t go out… It’s rare when the meds work but even then it’s a short lived journey. Years of depression have made people leave so there is no way I’ll be trusting anyone to stick around long enough these days to tell them what’s happening. And when life is crashing, who has motivation to make themselves better? You increasingly rely on yourself because there is no one else and even medically speaking, you can have psych’s, therapists, counsellors and doctors leave you high and dry- they move, they change locations so you can’t afford it. I’ll even had a counsellor never arrive for their appointment which does NOT go towards building and maintaining trust. Mental health is painfully complicated, painful every day and yes everyone is so different! I can hate my life every damn day, I can be down every damn second of that day and I can be so alone I can’t bear it anymore… But where others give up, I’m still here. I can’t explain that and wouldn’t dare to try. 

    • Myewerk says:

      06:29pm | 10/10/12

      Dear Lonely,  If you live in the outer metropolitan or rural areas, you may be able to access telepsychiatry services which are often bulkbilled.  Ask you GP about them.  They are ideal for social anxiety and for those who live in areas poorly serviced by psychiatrists.  If you live in the inner suburbs, this is not an option unfortunately.

    • Mal says:

      05:07pm | 10/10/12

      Depression is a mental illness. After suffering for a number of years, I sought help and found out that I had bipolar disorder. Now that I am on daily mood stabilisers, I have no problems with depression. It just went away thank god.

    • seline says:

      05:09pm | 10/10/12

      Its easy to say we have come so far when it comes to mental illness.  But those who suffer are still outcast.

      I have asperger’s syndrome.  I have depression.  I have anxiety.  The last two at levels that are nearly crippling.  I have an almost paralyzing fear of talking to another human being.  And that last one comes not from any of the previous conditions but because the rest of the world has judged me to be a rude, nasty snob of a person.  The depression and anxiety are because of this judgement.

      That is what asperger’s people get judged as.  They aren’t that.  Most asperger’s people are honest, loyal people who give their hearts to easily.  Instead of being able to process social interaction instantaneously, it takes a few minutes.  So what you see as an asperger’s person being a horrible person is probably them trying to be cope the best they can in that situation. 

      This misperception leads an asperger’s person to have terrible anxiety and depression because they are often punished for getting it wrong.  All caused because accepting someone for who they are, looking past the exterior, that just doesn’t happen.  That is the illusion.  Those nasty quips you spit out at someone ... you could be doing them harm that you can’t comprehend because one of the things you take for granted (social interaction) is something another person’s brain is not wired to do. 

      Any mental illness starts with acceptance.  Acceptance is what we all need in this world yet it is the thing least given.  Accepting that mental illness is not a first world problem but a problem.  I feel isolated because the world has judged me harshly.  I give without asking for reward and still the world judges me.  And I will struggle day after day because so few people can accept that I won’t get it right all the time.

      Mental illness is caused by ignorance just as much as chemical imbalance.  So next time you think about being a smartass and having a go at someone with mental illness, put yourself in their shoes.  Show some kindness by accepting someone as they are.  All I need to start feeling better is acceptance.  And that is what the world is so short on.

 

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