6% of people in Australia will experience depression this year.
15% of people in Australia will experience anxiety.
I'm one of those 15%, and in recognition of Mental Health Week I'd like to share my story with you. Sharing is something that comes naturally to me. I love to tell a story. Hey, that's why I have a blog, right?
I'm lucky in that I've experienced mostly acceptance when I tell family and friends that I have anxiety. Any push-back I have found is from misunderstanding and misconception of mental illness.
Two years ago my husband and I moved into a new house. It's situated on an arterial road, so it was pretty busy.
It wasn't until we moved in that I realised that I couldn't sleep with the traffic noise. I'd always had trouble sleeping, and over the next few months my sleeping habits deteriorated and my stress levels rose.
Our house was such a huge investment and every day when I drove up the driveway, my stomach dropped. It wasn't a fun feeling.
So I went to the doctor expecting to be given sleeping tablets. I went out with an anxiety diagnosis, a totally different type of medication and a major head-spin.
I was lucky in that I have a wonderful and perceptive GP who is interested in asking the right questions. If he hadn't seen something in me that caused him to ask those questions, I would still be undiagnosed.
Here's how my anxiety manifests. In stressful situations, I overreact. I lose all sense of logic and perspective. I never actually cried over spilt milk, but that's pretty much the gist of it.
I probably had anxiety in some form my whole life. It just took the catalyst of moving into the new home to really get me down.
This is what I've come to realise from the last two years. If you have a mental illness you're not weak. There's nothing wrong with you as a person. It's just that you need a little help dealing.
It's not about beating the statistics. It's about accepting that you're normal. Relatively.
Look at the numbers and take something positive out of it. There are so many people out there dealing with mental illness, but you really wouldn't know unless they said something.
If you're not sure, do some research, talk to people, see your GP, call Lifeline. Don't wait for inspiration, that's for amateurs. Just do it.