OPINION: There's no harm in admitting you need help
MY boss, who regular Bully readers will know usually writes this column, was shocked a few weeks ago to find out I had been taking medication for over a year to deal with anxiety.
Anxiety is not something I try to hide. In fact, I've talked openly about it with friends and family, online and on a podcast I co-host.
But he'd never heard me say anything, or picked up on the fact I wasn't coping.
In part this is because I had years to perfect hiding it from others and, most importantly, myself.
That's one of the biggest dangers with high-functioning anxiety and depression: those who have it are well versed at hiding it and seem to be coping.
I repeatedly denied suggestions I might need help and quashed my own niggling worries and doubts about my mental health.
Because, yes, I had anxiety about whether I had anxiety.
Which probably sums up how ridiculous some of my anxieties are.
And as an educated woman, objectively I can see these thoughts should not be consuming my mind in endless cycles for hours on end, causing me physical illness and nausea.
Our brains are smart though and sometimes they work against us.
Given it's mental health week I thought it was right to share my experience, because even admitting I needed help was the biggest step I had to take.
The next was asking for that help and I was lucky enough to find a caring and attentive GP in Rockhampton who has been with my every step of the way.
When counselling didn't make a significant change, I asked about medication.
Yet even reporting on the stigma repeatedly, I found myself worried about actually taking medication for my mental health. Ironic, I know.
No one would suggest a diabetic didn't take insulin, and anti-depressants are really no different; their role is to address a chemical imbalance in the brain.
My life has changed overwhelming for the better since I started taking them.
That's not the experience for everyone and each person has their own journey with mental health, but never be afraid to take that first step. Only good can come of it.
If you want to ask for help, check out BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or talk to your GP.