Stories of Geraldton: "There was no help out there for me, so I drank myself silly"

When I was 18 my Mum got diagnosed with breast cancer and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I was doing my apprenticeship so it was a stressful time trying to juggle everything. There was no help out there for me, so I drank myself silly. I didn’t know how to cope. I partied too much so I was left wondering what was wrong with me, because the lows were really low. A couple of years later the doctor told me I had depression and I went on medication. I weaned myself off and started to exercise, trying to get into a healthy lifestyle. Eventually I was back on meds and it wasn’t until I went back again and tried to tell them I was feeling worse that they realised I also had glandular fever and chronic fatigue. I fell pregnant with my second child and after that I just couldn’t recover. I was so tired some days I couldn’t even smile.

I’m trying to find balance in my life at the moment, but I work a lot and I need to find that happy medium. Financial stress is another massive burden on people and for me it’s a big thing, because we aren’t big money earners. My partner is very understanding that I do have chronic fatigue and I do need sleep and rest some days. I find that counselling has helped me on the path to recovery. Finding someone to talk to and to keep talking to friends with no judgement is the most important thing. Communication is important and I think we need to start working with each other to help one another out. As women we like to think we can get through fine and that we don’t have to talk to someone, but it’s so important. I often feel judged, I have people say to me ‘just get over it.’ Depression and chronic fatigue are lifelong illnesses with a high chance of relapsing, so it’s hard to just ‘get over.’ It really is one day at a time. Women should realise they are not alone and there are amazing resources out there to help.