Mar­lene comes to terms with

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Street Watch -

MAR­LENE Janssen (41) was over­whelmed with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety while grow­ing up, but the last thing she ex­pected was to hear voices in her head.

She strug­gled with men­tal dis­tress at school, but fin­ished univer­sity and qual­i­fied as a nurse.

Af­ter a se­ri­ous back in­jury at work, she was given ben­zo­di­azepine for her de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety.

She was also tak­ing sleep­ing tablets, painkillers and an­tide­pres­sants. Ms Janssen be­came ad­dicted to the ben­zo­di­azepines and the de­pres­sion con­tin­ued.

The next few years of her life were spent in and out of dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals and in front of dif­fer­ent doc­tors and psy­chi­a­trists.

In 2001, she moved back to her orig­i­nal home – the Nether­lands.

She worked at a nurs­ing home, but be­came iso­lated when she con­tracted glan­du­lar fever and had to stop work.

“The de­pres­sion kicked back in and that’s when I started hear­ing voices,” she said.

“The first voice I heard told me to harm my­self – it said ‘ throw your­self down the stairs and ev­ery­thing will be fine’. I was petrified. I also started do­ing re­ally strange stuff I have no rec­ol­lec­tion of, like wak­ing up next to a pond in my py­ja­mas with my bike next to me and I had no idea how I got there.”

Ms Janssen’s par­ents con­vinced her to re­turn to Aus­tralia, but when she told doc­tors about the voices she was put on high doses of anti-psy­chotic drugs.

“It’s like your brain is in a fog. You can’t func­tion. The voices were dulled, but I couldn’t think ei­ther,” she said.

She was also di­ag­nosed with Bor­der­line Per­son­al­ity Dis­or­der, but her life changed when she went to Rich­mond Well­be­ing in 2005.

“A re­cov­ery worker helps you to come up with a re­cov­ery plan,” she said.

“They ask what goals you want to achieve and what you need to do to achieve them.”

Ms Janssen learnt cop­ing strate­gies to deal with the stress and anx­i­ety, in­clud­ing lis­ten­ing to

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