Dark side of mental health
I would like to respond to the comments in the story published on July 24 in The Daily Advertiser.
The comments in particular that I would like to address are these “The most damaging part of my mental health journey was receiving that label (bipolar disorder).”
“I felt that my relationships, my career, would be characterised by a set of symptoms that determined my destiny.”
I do not want to discredit her mental health journey or pretend that I can imagine what she has gone through. I just want to share that there is often a darker side to mental health and some of these other stories should see the light of day.
I am a 23 year old woman and single mother who was first diagnosed with depression at the age of 11. In those twelve years I have had many mental health labels – PTSD, depression, anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder. In those years I have also had a number of other events that have been significant in my mental health journey.
The hardest part of my mental health journey is living with the after effects of this and the continuous struggle that mental health issues bring.
It has been hard for me to keep up with my work, with my studies at uni and with my seven-year-old daughter. There are times I have to leave work because mentally I cannot cope that day, or that I have to have extensions on assignments because that week I cannot cope.
I cannot afford to be treated privately and rely on the public health system to allocate 10 visits a year for me to see a psychologist.
I want to highlight that mental health is a difficult topic and everyone experiences it differently. Many of us struggle without the person next to us knowing our story. I want it to be known that mental health is more than a label and the struggles extend beyond a label.
It frustrates me that a local ambassador while she has struggled, may not be a fair representation of mental health suffering. Not sharing the gruelling reality of the dark side of mental health paints the wrong picture. We need to highlight the demanding demon that is mental health and uncover the stories of those who live in this darkness.
My mental health journey has been a long one and one that is definitely far from over.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact:
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
We shall not be silenced
The cynicism of the federal government regarding media laws is alarming in that it seems that we could end up in a substantial reduction of media ownership in Australia which may reduce the choices and variety that readers, watchers and listeners can access. Even more alarming is the attempt by the One Nation party to place restrictions on the independence and freedom of the ABC and SBS. The claim that the charter needs changing to ensure balance and fairness is nonsensical given that that is already in the charter.
Anyone who watches or listens to the ABC can see that there is ample even-handedness, Q&A and the Drum are two examples where there is always a broad representation of views. It needs to be said that no commercial outlet would be as brave as the Four Corners program which has, for many years shone light on some of the dark corners of Australian life, something that is rather unlikely in commercial entities.
On another matter, do our politicians realise that mail can take up to five days to reach regional centres? If the mail is not returned for the upcoming survey by the closing date will that mean that many votes may never be counted making this exercise even more farcical.