Surviving My Mental Health Struggles: A Personal Journey
I am starting this post with a few content and trigger warnings. This post discusses suicide, depression, anxiety, and other related mental health details. So if these things are triggers for you, it may be best to read with some support in place. I also want to set a few boundaries before I continue. This doesn’t affect the services I provide. I don’t want you to ask about my mental health during a session out of the blue, unless it organically comes up in our discussion. If you are looking for a listening ear, I am happy to be your listening ear. Please don’t offer me further advice as this is something I have been dealing with for many years, so I have my own mental health plan in place. But I am happy to guide you in getting the support you need if you need some friendly guidance.
I have had depression and anxiety since I was a child. Part of it is because of a chemical imbalance that I have and part of it is because of trauma I have experienced. As a child and teenager, I experienced bullying on a daily basis. I was considered different, and because of this, I got bullied daily. But I also made sure to have bullying redirected towards me to protect my best friend. As she would have experienced high levels of this bullying if I hadn’t made sure it was redirected towards myself. Because I figured I was already experiencing it, a little extra wouldn’t matter. And for many years afterward, I took that with me into adulthood.
As an adult, I also experienced a range of traumas, including sexual assault by someone I knew and worked with over a period of a few months. When I finally spoke up, I was dismissed and told to pretend it didn’t happen. So again, these are things I continued to carry with me.
There are many other factors to my depression and anxiety that are best not spoken about, at least for me. But these are the two main things that really contributed to my depression and anxiety. Over the course of my adult life, I have lived almost daily with the thoughts of hurting myself, taking my own life, ending it. I continue to have these thoughts every day.
You may ask if I have ever attempted to take my life. And the simple answer is yes, I have tried a number of times and been either unsuccessful or been stopped before I have actually tried. It is something I have to work through each day. And I have to fight these thoughts daily. They aren’t something you can just get rid of; it doesn’t work like that.
During my adulthood, I have developed PTSD from a few different traumas, and along with my depression and anxiety, these things lead me down the path of using alcohol to deal with it. I would drink just to get through each day. I would drink to cope, because to admit that I had these issues would have meant a stop in the career I had. There would be no further progression, and my career would have stopped dead in the water. So I drank. And I did for a very long time.
Thanks to my family, I ended up getting medical and psychological help to deal with my drinking. And through this help, I was able to also get help dealing with the range of traumas that lead me down this path. This isn’t to say that I am no longer feeling the things I do, it is not to say I no longer have depression, anxiety, or PTSD, but it is to say that 75% of the time, I am now able to deal and cope and live with them much better. It means I no longer drink to cope with these things. But it took many, many years before I got this help, and it took a long time for me to really open up and make
Some helpful resources
SWOP NSW Counselling – For Sex Workers
Need Help? Mental Health Australia – There is a great list of online and over-the-phone support listed here, which are great as a starting point.
Beyond Blue – On this page I have linked gives you a few pages that you can go to, to find a registered Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or social worker if you prefer
The Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 provides immediate support to anyone feeling suicidal. In addition, they can provide ongoing support with up to six 50-minute telephone counselling sessions that will provide you with longer-term support. The Suicide Call Back Service also offers online counselling.
MensLine Australia – Some great support for Men
1800 Respect – National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service
NewAccess is a free mental health coaching program
QLife 1800 184 527 3pm-12am – QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counseling and referral service for LGBTI people. The project provides nationwide, early intervention, peer-supported telephone and web-based services to diverse people of all ages experiencing poor mental health, psychological distress, social isolation, discrimination, experiences of being misgendered and/or other social determinants that impact on their health and wellbeing.