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Going Through Tough Times

— By 27 February 2012
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When I was younger, I would often feel quite sad and lonely. But it wasn’t until a few years ago when something happened that made me realise I couldn’t go on like this.

I’d always had frequent conflicts with my Mum. We never saw eye to eye and our personalities clashed. She often verbally abused me and made me feel worthless. However there was one incident that was the final straw.

My Mum accused me of bashing my niece. Obviously this is something I would never do or have done. She then told my sister (niece’s Mum) who automatically took my Mum’s side.

I can’t remember the exact details but I do recall there were a lot of tears and arguing. I also remember the way it made me feel. I felt furious, angry, depressed and sad. Like I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.

That’s when I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I rang my friend who contacted her Mum. She then called me and we talked on the phone for a bit. She was calm and asked me if I needed somewhere to stay.

She also referred me to headspace where her daughter Jennifer worked. I was a bit hesitant at the time because I didn’t know what to expect.
My first experience with headspace was when Jennifer took me to see the headspace doctor. Sitting in the waiting room wasn’t what I expected. I remember thinking ‘why are there murals on the walls, toys, and computers and all that?’ It wasn’t like a typical doctor’s waiting room at all.

At first, I was reluctant to open up to the doctor as I have trust issues. But having Jennifer there made it easier. I also got a good vibe from the doctor and from then on, I felt comfortable talking to her.

The doctor assessed my mental health and the diagnosis was that I had depression. My initial reaction was ‘now what?’ The doctor suggested ways to cope with my situation. These suggestions included regular exercise, establishing support networks and getting counselling.

I didn’t tell anyone straight away because I was afraid of being judged. When I did eventually open up to some people about what was happening, they were very supportive.

Even to this day, I still suffer from depression. I know for me it’s not something that will ever disappear, but I’ll always have ways to manage it. I exercise regularly – I play a lot of soccer. I also volunteer for several organizations (headspace local and national, St Vincent de Paul’s and the Smith Family). This helps me because it gives me something to do and I know that I’m changing someone’s life for the better. Since volunteering, I’ve met many wonderful people. A lot of them have become my friends.

One major change in my life is I now live on my own. I realise my Mum and I will never see eye to eye and I’m fine with that.

One thing I do regret, however, is not getting help earlier. I know how hard it is to take the first step to reach out to someone. Yes, there are times when I feel down but I know will never end up in that place again. I encourage you to seek help if you’re feeling depressed – there are people and organizations out there that are willing to listen.

Jade is a member of the headspace Youth National Reference Group (hY NRG) who provide advice and feedback to headspace National Office on a range of matters.

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