Today is Blue Day or World Mental Health day. Many bloggers and twitterers out there have decided to promote blue day by changing their avatars, blogging about their experiences or attending events. I’m doing the first two. 🙂
18 months ago my only experience of depression was that I’d heard that (Hawthorn and later North Melbourne) footballer Nathan Thompson suffered from depression. It was a big story and I recognised that he must have been having a tough time but didn’t really know how hard it can make life.
At the time I had been with my fiancé (then girlfriend) for about 6 months, she was a passionate energetic, enthusiastic and vibrant woman, she worked hard and was always up for an adventure. Unfortunately in March last year her body decided that it was not going to tolerate this lifestyle and stopped her in her tracks. This started on a normal weekday evening, she stopped off at the local supermarket to pick up some stuff for dinner. On the surface this was like any other day yet once inside the shop she found herself hardly able to breathe, stand up or see. This was terrifying for her, she grabbed a bottle of orange juice thinking that maybe her blood sugar was low; it didn’t help.
She struggled through the register and out to her car. She managed to drive the 800 or so meters to get home and crawled into bed. She didn’t know what was happening to her, she had been feeling pretty tired but this was like nothing she had experienced before. She tried to call me, unfortunately I was in the process of buying a new mobile phone so couldn’t answer her call. She called her dad who lives half an hour a way. He got in his car and made his way down to her place.
Ros meanwhile lay in an empty house convinced she was going to die in her bed, alone.
Ros didn’t die, and after many doctors appointments, theories and miss-information we found that this incident was, in fact a panic attack sparked by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or as you may know it Chronic Fatigue syndrome. Since that day she has battled a host of totally debilitating ME symptoms, combined with anxiety and depression.
I’m lucky enough that I have never suffered from anxiety or depression, but I watch the love of my life battle her way through extraordinary fear, sadness and loneliness all the while questioning the value of her existence.
Ros and everyone else who suffers from Anxiety and Depression are truly remarkable people who carry a burden the rest of us will never fully understand. All we can do for them is try to be there to help lighten the load even just a little bit.
Good Stuff to look at.
If you are suffering from anything like this please get in contact with some of the people below. There are lots of good people out there who can help. It took us a while to find many of them but we are very grateful that we did.
Ros’ Blog – Ros has not been updating her blog much lately but check it out anyway.
ADAVIC – Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria, run some great support groups that can be very helpful.
Beyond Blue – The National Depression Initiative
LifeLine Australia – Speak to someone who cares
Stuff about ME / CFS (Please read this too if you have time)