My concentration at work began to wane in late 2013. I was getting tired easily and the quality of my work decreased.
I began to put on weight and my personal behaviours became erratic.
I was self-medicating, not exercising and had a poor diet. I became confused and irritable. I didn’t know how to fix things and simply put my mood swings down to having a bit of an off period.
In early 2014 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety and Co-Morbid Depression. At first, learning this was somewhat distressing, but as time went on it provided clarity around my situation and became the first building block towards good management of my conditions.
Since then, it has been a long and slow journey, but getting a good management plan in place with the right support team has been vital. It took me number of consultations with different GP’s until I found the right one for me, who seemed to genuinely care about me and my well-being.
Now, my holistic plan includes medication, exercise, improved diet and ongoing cognitive therapy.
I’ve tried a few different strategies over the years but I’m really comfortable with how I approach my mental health now. I’ve got a good team around me and my balance is right. I am now able to function positively and make a valuable contribution to society in this space.
In saying this, my depression never goes away. It requires ongoing management and attention. If, for some reason, I have a period of variance it can really create some difficulties.
When I face these challenges, adherence to the general principles of having a balance of everything allows me to remain well. Self-education and increased understanding and awareness have also aided my ongoing recovery.
My ability now to openly discuss my journey within the community has been cathartic as well.
Through the Black Dog Institute, I am giving back to society and I really value that. I have a story to tell and truly believe that I can make an impact in people’s lives through my experiences.
For others that might be experiencing a similar situation my advice is:
- Get to your GP as quickly as possible
- Surround yourself with good people who care about you
- Be totally honest in your approach. Have no secrets.
I hope to continue assisting where I can and am always available to tell my story if it can help.