Health is about more than just eating steamed chicken and drinking kale smoothies, it’s also about taking care of your mind and emotional well-being.
Twenty-four-year-old Sarah Anne, or Sez for short, started the conversation with her community by sharing her own experiences with mental health.
Sez joined CPL’s Sunshine Coast service over 20 years ago, receiving support with physiotherapy, speech therapy and social work.
“At one stage in my life, I did not like what I saw in the mirror. It was then that I realised I had depression.”
Talking about mental illness
Approximately one in five Australians aged between 16-85 will experience mental illness, according to Black Dog Institute. It is estimated that people with disability are twice as likely to experience mental illnesses than people without disabilities.
People experiencing depression or anxiety often have disrupted sleep patterns and find it difficult to concentrate or make decisions.
Symptoms can include a loss of interest in things once enjoyed, intrusive thoughts and feelings of being ‘blue’ or worried without a reason, sudden weight loss or gain, and feeling tired or irritated.
For Sez, it quickly became overwhelming. “I don’t have a lot of control of the muscles in my body, however, luckily I do have control of my mind,” Sez said.
“My everyday life struggles challenged me but when depression reared its ugly head I began to feel like I was a sinking ship,” she explained.
Don't be scared of the unknown
“The turning point in my life was when I skydived; that’s when everything started falling into place - literally. From that day, I began to try new things and to not be scared of the unknown. I began to focus and work towards my goals.”
I have sailed boats, glided on a flying fox, and travelled by plane to Sydney. Using her communication device and with support from CPL, Sez began sharing her experiences with local schools, starting the conversation about mental health.
“Now I feel in control of my life, I am finally doing what I want to do. I realise now that when I began to talk to people I trusted - including my family, social workers and close friends – I started to believe in myself again. I began to live my life and follow my dreams.
“I still have ups and downs but I don’t let anything affect my long term dreams for life anymore.”
CPL can help
CPL’s social workers can work with you and your family to manage your support and improve your wellbeing. We work with you to create strategies to manage feelings, relationships, and transitions from school to work.
To find out more, call us on 1800 275 753 or fill in an online enquiry form.