September is upon us. Spring, colour, fresh air, sunshine and new beginnings.
It’s a month that brings hope to those who have struggled to survive the winter.
I used to really feel that struggle. My mental health would seriously nosedive in winter and I would be craving the warm air and sunshine on my skin to lift me up.
I know there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of women out there in Australia that feel this too, but don’t seek help.
Whether its seasonal or lifelong, women’s mental health is something that needs to be taken very seriously.
There’s no elixir, smoothie, diet or juice cleanse that’s going to be a cure all.
It’s something that needs a team of medical professionals, a community, a tribe to support the individual.
I know this first hand.
I’m not ashamed to say I have had countless depressive breakdowns, pre and post natal, been withdrawn from life even at an early age, as young as 5. For so many years I was too anxious and ashamed to ask for help of any kind. From an early age I developed coping mechanisms, like many do, but it wasn’t enough. I was looked upon as lazy and I actually believed it. At 24 years of age, I finally went to my then doctor, he asked me some questions and concluded I had clinical depression.
So I took some anti-depressants, read many self help books, changed my perspective on life, sought help from psychologists but that still wasn’t enough to help me. Something still wasn’t right. Things started getting worse but managed to keep it together. I had to. Especially after I had my babies.
It wasn’t until 2 years ago, at 36, when I had my last major depressive episode, that I finally sought the help of a psychiatrist. I was correctly diagnosed with having bipolar 2, anxiety and ADHD.
What a trifecta! This means that, without help, I suffer from major depressive episodes and hypomania. Anxiety untreated, for example, renders me paralysed at my front door, unable to leave the house. And left feeling so overwhelmed, disorganised and defeated everyday that I couldn’t meet the goals I set myself or demands from everyday life because of ADHD.
It all clicked. It all made sense now. At last I had answers. Hallelujah!
I am on a careful cocktail of medications that work for me and I’m closely monitored by my psychiatrist and family doctor. I have my tribes of women (and a few men) I am close to and supported by. I have my business that I love and get excited for everyday as I learn and grow. I have my family that support me and I live for.
So why did I just tell you all that? Because I should be able to without shame. Without stigma.
We need to be able to talk openly about our mental health as openly as we do about diabetes or heart disease.
Too many generations of girls and women have suffered in silence and been mistreated and this needs to end.
This September, I’m raising awareness and money for women’s mental health through Liptember. It’s a campaign to educate the community and raise funds for research and support programs towards women’s mental health.
If you wish to, you can donate here to help me reach my goal.
I will also be donating 10% of all LipSense product sales made during September. You can view the range of products here. Or you can message me directly here to order or if you have any enquiries about the products.
Please share my story with others if you think it would help them in anyway, or if anyone wants to reach out to me to talk, I’m always available for a chat.