In recognition of Mental Health Month EPIC has released a mental health blog series highlighting the stories of members of our EPIC community who have a lived experience of mental illness.
We have already shared Rebecca’s story who discussed what it is like to live with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and work as a paramedic. Michael shared his experience about finding work after his OCD diagnosis and Rachel discussed what she wished people would understand about her bipolar II disorder.
By reading these different stories about various mental health journeys we hope that this demonstrates that mental health can affect anyone at any stage of life. Mental health isn’t something you should be ashamed of and there is no one right way to access support.
Next up we have EPIC employee Willow who discusses what mental health means to her.
What mental health means to me…
When I hear the words mental health, my brain automatically thinks of positive things like self-care, support, loved ones and healthy things for my brain. But it has not always automatically thought like this.
My mental health journey stemmed from childhood abuse and then the abandonment of my family when I was only 21 years of age. I have experienced a variety of mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and body image issues. Throughout my younger years, I felt like something was wrong with me and like I could never succeed, never have hope, never have love. But I chose to not give up and I fought to have a better life. I have accessed psychologist services (and sometimes still do), I have been to group work through specialised services, I reached out to friends, I read books, I watched YouTube videos of people who have been through what I have been through. I connected myself with others like me and realised that I am not alone.
Life is tough and I still have my days where I feel depressed, experience triggers of abuse and have body image issues. But I know that I need to continue to nurture and nourish my mental health so that when these days happen, I am powerful enough to get through them.
National Support Lines
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 497
- Kids Helpline (up to 25 years): 1800 551 800
- Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 978
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- Q-life LGBTQIA+: 1800 184 527
- Lifeline Text (6pm-12am): 0477 131 114
- GriefLine: 1300 845 745