Depression and anxiety is a part of my life. I recognise now that it has been for the majority of my life. But it took a long time for me to realise and accept this. I didn't want to be "ill". The stigma surrounding mental illness was built within me, passed down through generations of people "pulling themselves together".
I’m not sure how long I’ve had emetophobia, a fear of vomiting or being sick, but I remember the first time I had a panic attack because of sick I was around 10. Since then, every time someone has been sick in the same room as me, I have had a panic attack. I also get triggered by thoughts, sounds, and smells. Sometimes I can’t watch TV or films if they show throwing up, too.
Having anxiety is one thing, but being anxious about how other people will react to my anxiety is a whole other monster.
I was about 12 years old when I had my first panic attack. I remember waking up early in the morning with an uneasy feeling, my stomach churning and my heart racing. I got up and paced around my room, going to the window to get some fresh air because I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.
I am a 38-year-old male, I would and have always been described as one of the lads. I love footy, enjoy a beer and a boisterous lifestyle and I have been diagnosed with depression.
I found it very difficult to admit to myself that I was struggling but I knew something was wrong. My stupid male pride and assumption that I was less of a man for struggling with my mental health lead me to conceal my depression from myself and others.