I’m going to have a crack at having that awkward conversation with you. As much as I feel ready to have this conversation I’m going to choose to stay anonymous, for now anyway, baby steps, right? I guess I’ll start with a bit about why I believe this is such an important movement. To be completely honest with you, for me at the start I didn’t quite realize that I had depression and anxiety It was only when I started talking to a couple of close friends and sometimes a few of my co-workers that it dawned on me. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to figure it out, I wasn’t stoked on the fact that I had depression and anxiety but at least now I knew what was going on with me. In a way it was comforting knowing that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling or going through.
Looking back, there was one year (It could have been longer) where all I did was sleep and work I had withdrawn myself from not only most of my friends but also my family I felt isolated and alone. I felt like I was stuck in such a rut, I would lose myself deep within incredibly dangerously dark and hopeless thoughts. It was strange, I was miserable and knew I couldn’t go on like that, yet I felt like I couldn’t do anything to fix it and it was like a ton of weight bringing me down whenever I tried. I felt helpless and exhausted. I can’t remember when exactly it was, but something inside me snapped. This wasn’t the life I imagined and it definitely wasn’t the life I wanted, it was as if I had given myself a big mental slap in the face.
That year with the support of my partner I enrolled myself into a TAFE course within a creative industry. Something I was always a little bit interested in but I’d never thought I’d actually enroll into, not to mention it was very different to my previous business marketing diploma. Although it was part of my plan to “get out there” It was going great, I really was quite proud of myself. As you could imagine at the time it was a pretty big deal for me to go out and do that. The thing is I was doing the course whilst I was still working fulltime, within a high volume and demanding management position. So my life went from just working fulltime and sleeping to fulltime work and fulltime TAFE. Don’t get me wrong I’m incredibly happy and proud that I completed my course, and lucky enough to be currently working within the industry. But I’ve learnt and cannot emphasis enough you truly need to look after your mental health. I went from one extreme to the other, I’d tell people “It’s okay I can do it” but just because you can doesn’t always necessarily mean you should.
I’m going to wrap this post up by saying how proud I am of Whitney for starting this blog it’s not easy putting your thoughts and feeling out there and owning it but also encouraging others to have that awkward conversation. As you had read, for me having that awkward conversation opened my eyes to the fact that I’m not alone in what I’m going through and even if you, yourself aren’t going through a mental illness like anxiety or depression there’s a very high chance that someone close to you is, and I can’t stress enough that you never know what having that awkward conversation will mean to them.