I was 26 when my Dad died of suicide. He was the ‘strong’ one in our family, so who knows exactly how long he had been struggling for. I was so young when I had to deal with the funeral, emotions, lawyers and mortgages. After the shock had passed, I started to have regular panic attacks, I couldn’t sleep, I fought with my partner, drank too much and my work suffered.
I finally saw a psychiatrist after my anxiety manifested itself as severe hypochondria. She asked me to do 3 things. Cut down on alcohol, increase my exercise and spend time outside. Sobriety helped me so much. However, my anxiety was stronger and I finally decided I was ready for medication. I never want to go back to the way I was. I completely understand why people can’t function and end up taking their own lives. I just want to live; I did everything I could to stay alive.
I still fight it, almost every day. It’s like a small voice. Some days I’m stronger, other days she takes over. Wellness is possible but it takes a lot of work. There’s no magic pill but you can find a formula, a process and new skills to live a better life. It’s possible, I’m a living example of that.
#BeautifulMinds is a series of raw and honest stories from people sharing their lived experience with mental health in New Zealand. Published with permission. We hope these stories capture the diversity of how mental health affects different people and you can be inspired by their journey towards mental wellbeing. Clearhead’s mission is to destigmatise mental health through raising awareness and encouraging people to feel it is ok to seek help early by giving them the tools to do so. Sign up now to use the platform, it is free to do so!
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