Opinion

Excuse me Mr Latham, I don't think you understand anxiety

19/05/04 C3239 LATHAM VISIT: Leader of the Opposition Mark Latham fields questions at a community forum at Caboolture on Wednesday. mark26 photo Vicki Wood
19/05/04 C3239 LATHAM VISIT: Leader of the Opposition Mark Latham fields questions at a community forum at Caboolture on Wednesday. mark26 photo Vicki Wood Vicki Wood

IT is people like Mark Latham that is the reason why I would not get any medical help for my anxiety and depression issues for 20 years.

The stigma attached to mental health issues by a generation of Australians who claim that 'anxiety is something we all do, every day, and you need to suck it up and get over it' is the cause of more problems in society than the lack of funding for treatment for suffers.

Latham wrote an opinion piece in The Financial Review on the weekend, which was meant to be a movie review about the Academy Award winning film, but ended up on a tangent about his views on anxiety being a 'fad'.

Latham says "The latest fad is to diagnose every citizen as suffering from depression and anxiety....

"Even though only 2 per cent of Australians suffer from clinical depression, 10 per cent of the population is on anti-depression drugs. The other 8 per cent are said to be suffering from anxiety: feeling moody and worrying about things.

"Anxiety used to be seen as a regular part of life …. But now it's become a frontline health condition; the medicalization of normality."

Um, excuse me Mr Latham, I don't think you have a clue about what you are saying.

Maybe I should send you a copy of the book I sent a relative for Christmas - Depression for Dummies?

Anxiety is not about worrying about every day normal people things like family, about your sports teams score at half-time. It is worrying about matters that stop us in our tracks from being able to carry out every day activities, or being paralysed with anxiety symptoms over being in public places, or public speaking.

My own experience with anxiety started when I was 12 years old. I struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my teenage years, early adulthood and the battle still continues.

My own family have ignored my mental health issues the whole time. Do you know what it is like to grow up in that environment? It is debilitating, it is heartbreaking, lonely, depressing.

When you have your parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents, telling you to stop being 'a worry wart' or 'get over it already', you feel dumb, stupid, unwanted, misunderstood.

Anxiety and depression are linked, so many struggling with phobias or fears that cause anxiety attacks feel depressed because they feel they are weak, they are dumb, they are unable to be a normal person.

For me, it was being diagnosed with PTSD four years ago that led me to finally getting some help - and yes, that involved medication.

I simply could not carry out a day's work without a major anxiety attack - one where I would be sitting at my desk, feeling numb one minute and suddenly, a wave of emotions would hit and it would feel like my chest was going to explode.

Now, I still have anxiety attacks sitting in a group of people who are all strangers. I have anxiety attacks over having to sleep in unfamiliar locations. I have anxiety attacks going to big public events with lots of strangers around. And the list goes on.

But I am one of the lucky ones, Mr Latham. I am still here, living life to the fullest that I can manage.

I work, I study at university, paint, draw, hike, exercise and write. And I still have my anxiety and depression moments.

Many are reliant still on medication, or are housebound because of this horrible illness, or suffer in silence because no one around them has said to them 'it is ok to suffer from anxiety, there is help out there that could result in you leading a semi-normal life'.

And then there are those that couldn't continue the fight.

Topics:  anxiety depression mark latham mental health opinion ptsd stigma



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

'Bitterly disappointed': Tonight's CBD street party cancelled

Quay st Riverside.

STORM FORECASTS ruin plans for massive Rocky CBD street party.

She drove 7 hours to sell mangoes, and then a thief struck

Jason Pfingst of Lilly Pilly Organics wants to grow the Yeppoon Markets, as part of the new Relish Capricorn initiaitive.
Photo: Contributed  /  Rural Weekly

Sharon drives down almost every week to sell her mangoes

WATCH: Police detail Rocky Doctor's alleged sex crimes

REVEALED: Rocky surgery where alleged sex crimes took place revealed.

POLICE DETAIL alleged sex crimes against women.

Local Partners

Amanda Seyfried lets slip the sex of her baby

Amanda Seyfried has suggested the sex of her baby

Meet the Brisbane breakfast radio king's replacement

Craig Zonca ABC Radio

ABC announces Craig Zonca as the replacement for Spencer Howson

How predictable are your Netflix habits?

Stranger Things is taking the world by storm as a new-age nostalgic Sci-Fi Thriller

The new entertainment binging pattern

Kanye West is on the mend now he's back from hospital

Kanye West is more relaxed since returning home from hospital

WATCH: The young Aussie actor playing Barack Obama

A screenshot of the trailer for Barry, a new film from Netflix.

Aussie teen nails Obama's early university years

Boy George named as a coach on The Voice Australia

Iconic pop star Boy George is to appear as a coach on 'The Voice'

Rocky vacancy rates drop from 7%

Community

Herron Todd White have called this a "positive influence”.

Developer's fast-track multi-million dollar Rocky project

GOING, GOING, GONE! Property developers reveal masterplans of the Springbook development.

HIGH-DEMAND leads developers into fast-tracking a huge project.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

Rocky's 10 cheapest houses on the market right now

10 cheap houses for sale right now

EXPLAINED: What will become of Stanage Bay after expansion?

CONCERNS AIRED: Tina Mitchell, Amanda Roberson and Maree Haynes from Stanage Bay to meet with Defence Department representatives.

Residents concerns about impact of Shoalwater expansion on town

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!