Never been better

Never been better

68 Years Old 

I am now a 68 years old lady.

I worked in a psychiatric hospital for over 10 years observing the patients who suffered various mental disorders.

Once a year I would hit a low and off to the doctor I would go.

After about 6 weeks with the aid of valium I would be back on track having no time off work.  After all I couldn’t have a mental illness because I worked in that field and I was not like those people.  I also had two daughters trained psychiatric nurses.  I somehow was in denial and thought I could handle my health as I had done in the past.

After I retired from work I lost my husband quite suddenly and from then on I seemed to spiral downhill fast.

I moved to Queensland with my daughter and family.  She worked in the private hospital in a small psychiatric unit.  After much persuasion I went along and saw her boss who was the psychiatrist at the hospital.

At this time I would have been 61 years old. I had spiralled out of control, spending money, being very creative with artistic skills, unable to sleep etc. etc.
I have never be hospitalised.  I have been on a small dose of Lithium since then and my mental health has never been better.

I had heard some negative opinions about Lithium but I can say it works for me with no so side effects.  It has been around since after WWII and I am doing fine with the treatment.



49 years old

My diagnosis of depression came unexpectedly to me. After all, I was holding down a fulltime job while caring for my two young children as a single mum. I ensured they made it to school every day and attended their myriad of extra-curricular activities. It was early 1992 and my whole world was about to come crashing down around me.

I had no idea my colleagues and supervisor had concerns about my mental health. Once again, I was holding down my job, not taking sick leave etc., When my supervisor first mentioned her concerns to me I was really unsure about what she was implying. Yet, before I knew it, she had taken me to the local private psychiatric hospital, and I was admitted ! I was given the diagnosis of depression, and started on medication.

I spent approximately ten months in that hospital, and have little memory of the time. I know I was tried on lots of different meds, and I was given several courses of ECT. I felt very alone, and very ashamed. I didn’t know it then, but I was to feel that way for a long time to come.
Ten years later I was still not back at work, and living on a Centrelink allowance while raising my two children. I knew more about depression, and I felt the loneliness and despair many depression sufferers experience.

My diagnosis was major depression and PTSD, but apart from medication, no-one seemed interested in helping me obtain any sort of therapy to help me work through my feelings. I was pretty much left to my own devices.
One night, while searching the internet for information on depression, I came across a site called depressioNet. You had to register to use the site, and being new to the web, I was more than a little nervous. But, I took that huge step and signed up ~ and I never looked back !

I didn’t know what to expect when I registered. I certainly didn’t expect to see what I did. There were real people on this website who all suffered from depression or a related illness, and they were all supporting each other through posts and in chat rooms. You could feel the warmth of the place as soon as you logged in.

Here were people who knew depression because they too, lived it. I was no longer alone.

It didn’t take long for me to fit in and become a dNetter (or dNutter as we fondly called each other). I became something of a serial poster ~ both offering help, and at times, asking for it.

My faceless friends never made me feel inadequate. They welcomed me, they let me ‘talk’, they let me be me. I was no longer alone with my pain because these people understood it and knew how to help. This new sense of belonging was wonderful. Even better was the improved sense of self-worth I felt through helping others. Maybe I was a worthwhile person after all.

depressioNet went through some changes when it became ‘depressionservices’ for a while there. It lost the sense of warmth and belonging, and I stopped visiting. I just didn’t belong any more.

So it was with much anticipation I rejoined when I heard depressioNet, dNet ~ People Like Us, had been reincarnated and was again being run by ‘People Like Us’. Sure enough, the warmth and sense of belonging is back…..and so am I!

17 October, 2011



32 Years

If you, dear reader, are suffering the pain of depression right now, I hold you in my heart as I offer you my story. My hope is that in some small way, sharing my journey of healing may help water the seed of hope within you, and inspire you to believe in your own ability to change, heal and grow from this illness.

I first experienced some of the symptoms of depression at around 7 years of age. I very clearly felt that I did not belong here in this world. I felt ugly, invisible, bad, guilty, ashamed, alone, anxious, misunderstood and sad. These feelings partly stemmed from my dysfunctional family situation, but they largely evolved from my experience of growing up with a rare form of childhood social anxiety called Selective Mutism. Having this condition (which remained undiagnosed and untreated throughout my childhood) meant that in any social setting outside of my home I was literally paralysed with extreme self-consciousness, unable to speak and on some occasions even move in front of other people. At school I could never express my needs or my fears, or make myself understood by others. Other people gave up on me very easily and rarely took the time to try to engage with the child who was suffering behind the silence. Everyday interactions were a constant source of anxiety…. If you can imagine your worst case of public speaking stage fright, and then imagine being a child experiencing that feeling every single day – that was my reality.

As I grew older I gradually became able to speak and function more normally in social settings. In spite of this, the belief that I was inherently bad, a burden to everyone, and that I didn’t deserve to be here was firmly entrenched inside me. My pain and frustration twisted inwards into self-hatred, with depression becoming my protective shell – if I hated myself enough, I would be safe from all the pain of being in a world that didn’t understand me, that didn’t want me, need me, or care about me.


I dropped out of school at the age of 15, suicidally depressed, without hope for the future. Having no self-worth whatsoever I clung to the only person who seemed to notice that I existed, my employer – a sick sexual predator more than twice my age. Years of being used and abused and blaming myself every step of the way followed. When my involvement with this person ended, the feelings of guilt, shame, self-loathing and self-hatred within me became stronger than ever. I could not live in my own skin. I was alone and drowning, treading water just to make it through to the end of each day. The only people who sensed my vulnerability and threw me a lifeline were men who further verbally, emotionally and sexually abused me.


At the age of 24 I was introduced to the Depressionet website, and subsequently began seeing a psychologist whose details were listed on the site. At the time I weighed 42 kilograms; I was pale, emaciated, exhausted and empty inside. I didn’t eat or sleep properly. My body ached constantly. I cried every day. I was socially isolated and estranged from my family. I was overwhelmed by the negative thoughts screaming at me inside my head. Some days I would be unable to move, I would lie curled up on my floor just staring at my phone, wanting so much to reach out to someone, anyone, anything – but not having the strength to fight my inner thoughts that kept me trapped and frozen. Suicidal ideation was the only thing that gave me any relief – planning the when, where and how of my exit from the world, working out what needed to be organised, what letters I would need to write and what words they would need to say to the people left behind. I was convinced that everyone who knew me would be so grateful to see me leave the world, and that the world itself would be a much better place without me in it.


In spite of these feelings, I wore a perfect mask. Out of necessity I continued to work, driven by an obsessive compulsion to have the approval of everyone I came into contact with. No one knew that I was depressed. No one saw me curled up inside toilet cubicles at work crying and aching. No one heard the screams inside my head or saw the emptiness that was drowning my heart. No one knew I carried a razor blade around with me at work, for all those times when the pain of tiny failures, tiny insults, and tiny misunderstandings needed to be negated by self-inflicted pain within those toilet walls. No one knew how much my very existence depended upon their approval, nor were they aware of the self-harming consequences that would later occur if they were to throw a harsh word or dissatisfied look in my direction. The mask was just a fragile shell holding together all the pieces of my fractured personality. I was broken.


The first three years of therapy were just about survival, keeping me alive from one session to the next. I was a walking mosaic of diagnostic criteria, ticking all the boxes for major depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. Aspects of my selective mutism came back with a vengeance – many days / weeks / months I was unable to speak or move in the presence of my psychologist. I was so afraid of doing anything that might result in even a hint of disapproval which, in my distorted way of thinking, would break the precious lifeline I had with this person who was keeping me breathing. My psychologist hooked me up with an excellent GP with a genuine interest in mental health conditions, and after years of resistance I eventually agreed to try antidepressant medication. For the first time the screaming inside my head faded into a quiet stillness. The drowning, suffocating waves of worthlessness and guilt eased, and survival gradually gave way to the start of healing.


It is now five years on and I have continued to work with my psychologist to transform the broken person that I was into the happy, peaceful, calm, fulfilled person that I am today. Like Humpty Dumpty all shattered and broken, I had no choice but to re-create myself from the inside out. All my habits, thought patterns, beliefs, values, perceptions, self-concepts, behaviours, relationships and lifestyle – everything had to change.


For me, the most helpful strategy in working through this process (in addition to therapy and medication) has been to integrate the practice of mindfulness into a new way of living. Mindfulness is the energy of being truly present in each moment. It is the fundamental essence of many lifestyle principals found in yoga, meditation and Buddhism. Embracing these philosophies and integrating these practices in my daily life has lifted me from a place of darkness and suffering to a place of true inner contentment, peace and self-acceptance – an authentic way of being that I could never have even imagined was possible in earlier years. I have learnt to stop fighting myself. I have learnt to stay in the here and the now with whatever emotions or thoughts arise. I have learnt to accept and embrace my painful emotions with tenderness, rather than trying to suppress them or avoid them. I have learnt how to recognise the true nature of my pain, anger, fear and despair, and how to nurture these feelings into positive energy.


Reaching this point does not mean that I am always able to walk the talk perfectly. Having the courage to extend unconditional love, non-judgment and compassion towards myself, not just to others, is an ongoing challenge. I still have fragile days with low feelings, self doubt, anxiety and extreme self-consciousness at times, but what has changed is that I am now able to manage these states in such a way that they no longer consume me or take over my life. Like waves on the ocean, painful emotions and negative thoughts come and go, but they do so in harmony with all the other waves of happiness, joy, gratitude, contentment, wonder, insight, appreciation and love that now also fill my inner world.


To you dear reader, dear friend, please know that you CAN get through your own struggles in this darkness. Whatever you are going through, however bad you are feeling, there are people in the world who want to hear your story, who want to understand your pain. They are out there waiting to help you, waiting for you to reach out your hand. My sincerest wish is that you too are able to find your own path back to peace and wellness. Please know that it is very possible…. Namaste.


– January 2011



Female, Age 28


I was a member here a number of years ago and back then I was a mess. I was such a mess that I couldn’t keep myself safe, was not able to use this site appropriately and was asked to leave and trust me, the moderators had good reason to ask me to leave.
I had borderline personalilty disorder and like a third degree burns victim, I had no protective skin and everything caused me pure agony. I was almost always causing destruction to myself, not functional, unable to form meaningful relationships, in and out of hospital and was a black hole that would devour all the help people could give me, but not benefiting from it.
But I am like that no longer. Curiosity has brought me back. This place has changed, but as I can see, a lot of the members are the same. I’m supprised, given how strict this site became that I was allowed to register here again without questions asked.  All I wanted was to take a look at where this site is at now and to share with you a story of hope. That things do get better.
Since the time my membership was removed, I believe I have recovered. I actually don’t like the term recovery because for me, there was nothing to recover. I was mentally unwell for as long as I can remember… that was until 2 years ago. What part of my old life was I trying to recover when I had never really experienced mental health?
No for me, recovery is the wrong term.  Instead, I have grown, become happy in myself, able to sustain relationships and a career, have a life worth living and live skillfully within it.

For two years now, I have been stable. The pain I suffered for so many years has not come back to haunt me.  I have a skin now and it takes a lot for me to hurt.  When I do hurt, I am comfortable in it.  I no longer fit the critera for a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, but most importantly, I am happy.

I no longer need medication, therapy, support groups or phone calls to lifeline to get through the day.
What I wanted to share with you all is that no matter how depressed you are or how much you believe that your life is a mess, it is very possilbe to come out the other end.

HAVE HOPE!   My life has done a 180 turn and so can yours.


December 2010

Cory Paterson – NRL player

Cory Paterson

Professional Sportsman

Cory Paterson was born on 14th July 1987 and is a rugby league footballer playing for the Newcastle Knights in the NRL.  He is the proud father of Jax.
In 2009 Cory missed most of the season due to having major depression.  “Cory Patterson’s battle with depression” article below was published in the Daily Telegraph on 24/04/09.
In 2010, Cory had overcome depression and was selected to play for the Indigenous All Stars.    His story of recovery and hope “… Paterson wins battle with depression” was published in The age just 9 months later on 22/01/10!
With the right treatment and support this is possible for us all!
Cory Paterson’s battle with depression
By Barry Toohey
From: The Daily Telegraph
April 24, 2009 11:50PM

AN EMOTIONAL Cory Paterson yesterday went public on his private battle with depression, revealing he has had suicidal thoughts and cried himself to sleep three weeks ago before Newcastle took on Manly.
It was fitting that the promising young Knights back-rower, who has become the latest sports star to seek professional help to battle the disease, made his announcement on Footy Jumper Friday – an event staged to help beyondblue raise awareness of depression and anxiety in Australia.
Paterson is currently seeing a psychologist, Frances Dunn, is on anti-depressant medication and is having further tests to ascertain if he is bi-polar.
His immediate future is up in the air but despite the admission, he hasn’t ruled out playing against Wests Tigers tomorrow.
“I’m probably 50-50. I want to play but if I’m not right, I’m not going to let my teammates down,” he said, adding that coach Brian Smith has been a huge support along with club CEO Steve Burraston and operations manager Warren Smiles.
“Everyone’s been great. I’ve been talking to Smithy every day about it for a little while now and he’s been helping me and been really supportive,” Paterson said.
He said he started to feel something was wrong two months ago.
“There was no trigger. Everything was just adding up.  I wasn’t playing good, I was down on myself and I wasn’t sleeping. I was feeling really lonely but pushing those close to me away and wasn’t in the mood to be around anyone.  When I was, I was just snapping at everyone.   “Snapping at Sophie (girlfriend Sophie Thomson) for no reason and just getting angry and agitated.  As the days rolled on, it just got worse and I was having silly thoughts.
“Neil (club doctor Neil Halpin) was the first person I went to because I knew I had to get some help.”
He pulled out of the game against Manly because of an ankle injury but his state of mind was also a factor.  “I wasn’t feeling good. The night before the game, I cried myself to sleep and it’s not something I could control,” he said.
Teammate Adam MacDougall described him as “very courageous”.   “It took a lot of guts to get up in front of us. We’ll all support him 100 per cent,” MacDougall said.
This article is on the Daily Telegraph Website at:
Excess kilos fall off fast as Paterson wins battle with depression
by Robert Dillon
January 22, 2010

THE old Cory Paterson is back, but he feels like a new man.
As he prepares for a season he hopes will resurrect his reputation as one of the NRL’s brightest young stars, Paterson revealed to The Herald yesterday he had stopped taking the medication he was prescribed last year to combat depression and had shed 13 kilograms in excess weight. The demons he battled, after he was diagnosed with clinical depression last April and missed almost half the season, appear to have been exorcised.
”Everything, on and off the field, is looking up for me,” he said.
Advertisement: Story continues below The towering 22-year-old felt confident he no longer needed to take anti-depressants. Instead he gains strength from his ”great family and great friends” and new fiancee Sarah Donaldson, to whom he proposed less than a month ago.
”I’m off everything now,” he said. ”It hasn’t really come up, to be honest. I’ve been the happiest I’ve been in a long time, on and off the field, and I’ve got great people around me.”
Having convinced himself and those close to him that he was he was in a positive head space, Paterson turned his attention to his physical condition.
As he battled his illness last year, a combination of medication and lack of training caused him to gain weight rapidly. When he returned to action after 11 games on the sidelines, he struggled for form and fitness. Now he is the leanest he has been since his teenage years. So lean that Newcastle’s training staff would prefer him to add a couple of kilograms of muscle.
”At my worst last year, I was probably about 113 kilo, and it wasn’t pretty,” Paterson said. ”Now I’ve dropped about 13 kilo and I’m really focused. ”It’s all starting to pay off for me, I guess … I think it’s helped a lot, not being on medication, but a lot of it’s come down to me being disciplined about what I eat.”
Asked what aspects of his diet he had improved, Paterson joked, ”I found salad.”
”Nah, I’m just a bit more conscious about what I’m eating.
”I think the whole thing with me is I’ve learned that I’ve got to work a lot harder to get to where I want to get to. I’ve really tried to train hard and eat well, and it’s probably the lightest I’ve been.”
The skilful back-rower has an ideal opportunity to unveil his streamlined physique next month when he represents the Indigenous team in the NRL’s inaugural All Star game. Having spent several games last season playing alongside amateurs for feeder club Lakes United, he now has the opportunity to team up with superstars such as Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Wendell Sailor.
”It’s going to be a big game and it’s a huge honour to be involved,” Paterson said. ”There’s going to be some great players playing in it on both sides, and I just can’t wait for it. It’s going to be a great experience.”
Knights coach Rick Stone said Paterson’s attitude had been ”terrific” throughout the pre-season and ”his confidence is well and truly up”.
”I’d think Pato is comfortable with where he’s at right now,” Stone said. ”He’s on top of his game and he’s been putting back-to-back training sessions together. You can see he’s enjoying it and he’s got that spring back in his step, which is great to see.”
This story is on The Age website at


Reviewed January 2011

Just Perfect


If three years ago people would have told me that everything would get better, I would have merely nodded my head while screaming my disbelief on the inside. I thought things simply could not get better, that I’d be forever trapped in the dark room I felt myself imprisoned inside. While my friends went out, I chose to remain home. When I attended parties, I could not help but think that I’d have had a better time on my own. Even when I was surrounded by others, I felt like a bubble shut me out, like I was somehow different from all the others. And even when I found myself in the Intensive Care department of the hospital, I still could not bring myself to reclaiming my life.


Do you ever feel that way? Well, you are not alone. It took time, but even I, so sceptical at first, learned to envision a recovery. And I envisioned myself writing about this recovery, helping others get on top of things even if at that moment I was not quite sure whether I, myself, would.


My name is Hanne, and I battled my inner demons for over four years. I thought I wanted to be perfect, but it turns out that I never quite knew what that really was.


I am also a survivor, the living proof that if you put your mind to it you, too, can survive and overcome your struggles. If I can do it, so can you. I believe in you. I believe in recovery.


Because of this same reason, I wrote a novel entitled “Just Perfect.” It is a novel that finds its roots in the difficult times I have gone through, and it took me more than three years to write. But it was worth it. It’s definitively worth it. Meant to inspire and help others through the sharing of my personal struggles – experienced by so many others as well -, I believe it would be incredible to share my work with the largest audience possible to convince people of the fact that they are not alone and that they, too, have things worth fighting for.


If you are interested in checking out “Just Perfect” (I hope with all of my heart that it will help you on your road to recovery) you can find it here: (hardcopy) (Kindle version)


Not only would I, in this way, be able to help others, it would also lift a heavy burden off of my shoulders. Yes, indeed, there were several things that were vital in my recovery, things I could not have survived without. And penning down my thoughts and battles were vital. On top of this, the incessant help of my family was vital. Without them, without being able to share my story with them (particularly my parents and twin sister), I would not have been able to fight as bravely through this struggle as I did. Because you can’t win a battle on your own, and I urge you to find that person to open your heart to.


Writing was the second-most important aspect in my recovery, and it may work for you as well if you give it a try. Take just five minutes each night or fifteen minutes each week – find a time that fits for you – and pen down the thoughts, feelings and events that you encountered during the day. Make sure to note down the positives and the things you are proud of, and repeat them to yourself. Because you are unique, and you are special and talented in your own way.


I mentioned the need to get your story off of your chest – please don’t keep it locked up inside of yourself – and, therefore, if you have anything you want to discuss or need to let go off, I hereby offer you my ears in case you feel the need. Because I know you are worth fighting for. I’m sure of it. To all the fighters, don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others and to talk to family, friends, or a professional. I know you can do it – build trust in yourself and make it happen!