I am honoured to take part and share my story
I am a TV presenter and radio announcer, and have been for 21 years / I’ve experienced mental health issues in my early 30’s when I had a panic attack. I didn’t know what it was. Terrified and not knowing what was happening I had 6 weeks off work.
A two year journey to psychiatrist’s and therapists and taking medication I was becoming quiet frantic as I am a bit of a control freak; and just wanted to know what was going on.
I wanted to know what was happening / what’s wrong with me / am I ok? I eventually learnt that nothing was wrong with me. I had what a lot of people have.. and live with every day – A form of manic depression and anxiety. I am happy and glad today to not reply on or have any medication – not that there is anything bad with having medication, in fact my mum is on antidepressants and has been for many years and will most probably be for the rest of her life to combat her bipolar disorder.
To be honest I found that they didn’t work that much for me; so I manage my condition with self-talk – I say to myself “come on you can beat this” I’m not going to let it win. I’m sometimes in a funny state of denial. I keep busy with my job, my friends / I also started a mental health awareness page on Instagram called @anxietyfree / currently at just over 24,000 followers. I just share my honest journey on that page and I believe it’s connected with a lot of people. The aim is to help other people feel less alone – let them know that they’re not going crazy, that they’re not weak or pathetic. I just want to encourage the sharing and talking about it. That is my goal – I know from the incredible support I am getting from people and the beautiful support I am receiving is that I am doing that, I am touching people. It just goes to show how easy it is to reach out and help somebody – it’s just an Instagram page, but how powerful is it that it’s making people feel less alone.
I’m now an ambassador for R U OK day which I’m stoked about because we need to ask “ R U OK”
I don’t ask it enough of people around me.
We need to start that conversation; and not just start it, we need to keep it going. You can’t just say to someone in your work place, if you think they’re struggling – Are you ok? You need to follow it up a day later with How are you going? – are you feeling a bit better? You know, give some advice / maybe we need to back off the alcohol a bit, or do some more exercise, do some yoga / all great advice – I’m great a giving it, not so great at taking it I guess. Seriously I think the more we can raise awareness the more we can ignite a conversation in a way that doesn’t have that stigma attached to it.
I think that’s so important – Things have changed so much in the past 5 years in a positive way, that now we are actually about it. When I first started talking about mental health – people were like hmmm, should you be admitting that?? I was like – yeaah I should be and I’m going to. I’m lucky I have a platform of a job where I can discuss it and my boss doesn’t really have a problem with it because Im a performer, an entertainer and show off, so for what I do as living requires being a little bit of creative genius and being a bit of a nutbag I think J I’m lucky that the job I have allows me the platform to be able to talk about it.
You know, a lot of people don’t feel that they can do this – I totally understand that and absolutely get it – telling people within your work place that you have mental health issues is not always met with empathy and understanding. It’s insane, not everyone is suicidal but purely looking to be understood and herd.
The irony is that on my productive days I can probably get more done in one day or two days than most people can do in 10 days. I am so hard on myself, I am a control freak – I like to know that I achieved every day / achieve achieve achieve – the one thing I think that is good about sharing is saying “hey .. you don’t have to achieve every day” a great quote is “you don’t have to slay the dragon every day” There are days you can just hide in your cave and cook a soup and hide from everyone – you know what, that’s ok as well.
This is me sharing my journey – I am happy people are coming on this journey with me, with R U OK day (September 8th) / please show your support and most importantly – ask someone if they’re ok.