Marlene comes to terms with
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