Monday, May 4, 2009

Blue haze clouds life

Like many Australians, I have been fond of watching actor Rebecca Gibney throughout her career.

From The Flying Doctors, Come In Spinner, Halifax f.p. and more to the current hit series Packed to the Rafters, I've spent countless hours watching her on TV and admiring her work. So it was good to see her win Australia's biggest industry accolade - the Gold Logie - on Sunday night.

It's because of that I discovered I have some life experiences in common with her - depression and having a loved one suffering alcoholism.
To read what she said, see http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25425164-661,00.html

Among other things she said it was important to talk about mental health. So I will, briefly.

I first realised I was battling depression after a forced transfer at work in 2006. I was not happy about it at all and had trouble adjusting but it wasn't until a couple of months later I realised what I was experiencing was more than just the usual ups and downs of life. I did two counselling session organised through my employer's Employee Assistance Program and felt a little better, but after failing to make continued progress I sought out a psychologist with my GP's help.

My GP took time to assess my mental health and put together a mental health plan which qualified me for Medicare subsidy for a series of visits to a psychologist. I also started taking some medication.

I'm not feeling as low now as I was then, but have changed my career pathway and live in a different town to gain some work/life balance. I'm still taking medication but I got into a bit of a hole in the lead up to Christmas last year and I've started seeing a psychologist for another series of sessions and my mental wellbeing has improved.

Rebecca Gibney's experiences with her alcoholic father were also something I related to. In my case it was a former partner who I was with for some years.

We shared many wonderful times but there were also bad ones. It took me a while to really understand the grip that alcohol had on my partner - I never before experienced how alcohol can be such a devastating force in some people's lives. I had grown up with parents who enjoyed a social drink and as an adult I enjoyed it too but never to the point of dependence and where it impacted on my life in a negative way.

It was a hard life lesson for me to learn that you cannot help someone with an addiction unless they want to help themselves. In my case the alcohol won and I had to move on.

Like many of today's social ills, alcoholism is not talked about openly and its impact on the lives of the addict and the people in their lives are not widely understood.

Hopefully people in the public spotlight like Rebecca Gibney, in relating her experiences with depression and an alcoholic can help raise awareness in the community in some small way. It is important to talk to someone and get the help you need. A good place to start could be Beyond Blue: The National Depression Initiative on 1300 224636 or http://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or The Black Dog Institute at http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/











4 comments:

katiecrackernuts said...

Well done missy. I knew some of this and think it's great you're going on with it. It's a journey and one I hope is brighter, or not brighter, but more understood on the other side.

potty mouth mama said...

Thanks for this great post. A great link too, and very enlightening - I hope you're feeling good and strong, on a steady path. x

katiecrackernuts said...

Hey there. Thanks for the vote of support on the op shop challenge. I was thinking about you today. You mentioned you would be down this way again soon. Is it next month? This? Do tell. And, yes, country op shops, you'll find some good pieces I am sure.

Umatji said...

A great post. I have been on a similar journey in the past myself with the black dog. I find it amazing how many people when for some reason or other seek the support of a counsellor are amazed and revived by their support. Good on you for posting about it - always good to be encouraged to blog the tougher topics as they are often the ones that resonate the longest out in the world. Go well.

Things I like

  • Being eco-aware
  • Chocolate
  • Generosity
  • Good food and good wine
  • Kindness and courtesy
  • Laughing out loud
  • Openminded people
  • People who are true to themselves
  • Spending time with friends
  • Sunshine and blue skies

Things I don't like

  • Broken promises
  • Pointless arguments
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • War and conflict
  • Lightning and thunder
  • Small minded people
  • Discrimination on any basis
  • Over inflated egos
  • Mean-spirited people