Battling anxiety and winning
boyfriend about my anxiety I would just make up excuses why I had to go home and not stay at his house. Relationships were hard, I was just so embarrassed and felt I was never good enough.
Working was a whole new challenge. To find a job in a small town that didn’t involve travel wasn’t easy. Only my family and a few friends knew about my anxiety at that stage, but I had some great bosses who supported me and never judged me. One place I managed had four other branches in the South Island and my boss made us have managers’ meetings and I was terrified as they were in Queenstown. I loved my job and didn’t want to look like I wasn’t interested, so I had to explain for the first time why I couldn’t go and the response was amazing. She made me feel so honoured, she brought all meetings to Ashburton so I didn’t miss out. To this day I am so grateful.
Feeling the guilt of being a burden on my family was difficult too. My parents were not like other parents, they couldn’t go away when they wanted to or they had to take me everywhere with them. They have given up so much to support me over the last 35 years and I am so grateful. They are my rocks.
I sometimes used to think ‘why me, why do I have this problem?’. But now I think ‘why not’, what can I do to make this a positive thing in my life? The answer is helping others. If I can help one person who is going through the same thing then these years are all worth it.
I have made up a Facebook page called BELIEVE Depression and Anxiety Support. It is a page for information, friends and a place to not feel alone. I am organising an event on December 8. It is a live event with two speakers, Pup Chamberlain and a local lady, Karen, and there will be free nibbles.
I want to be able to help others as I know it is a hard health issue to deal with. Approaching mental health services can be terrifying, but there also isn’t enough funding for those services. I want to make a community to support everyone.
I have come a long way, by taking little steps. I now live in my own house and although I still don’t like change and still have the odd panic attack, I’m proud of how far I have come.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS LIVE SPEAKER NIGHT
St Stephen’s Church, Park Street, Ashburton
Starts at 7.30pm. A free event.