What!? Not me . . . Carlene Shares Her Story of Depression

by Renee Greenland

When asked if I would share my story by the FAB Renee I said very quickly, “For you, of course hon!” Then when it came to putting pen to paper it was much harder than I thought. 

As an HR professional by trade and online total health management business owner, I love nothing more than talking, supporting and helping people.  Talk about ME?  Hmmm not so good at it but here goes!

It’s taken time for me to accept that I will be on my happy pills for the rest of my life.  I have tried several times to come off them as I felt fine, in control and happy. However, my sub conscious was telling me otherwise!  Accepting myself for who I am, how I operate, what I need and, most importantly, don’t need means I live, laugh and love with few inhibitions.

On reflection I was always an anxious kid.  I worried about everything and the thought of getting into trouble scared me.  But I managed as I didn’t know any better.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Dalai Lama

The beginning 

September 4th, 2010, 4.35am – Darfield earthquake.  Over a 6 week period I dealt with overwhelming fear that the big earthquake was yet to come,  as that’s all they kept talking about in the media.  To add to this already stressful time of working from home, worrying about where our daughter (2 at the time), cat and dog were when an after shock hit, I was sideswiped by the demise of my relationship.  

The best medicine is family, friends and talking  

Within 6 or so weeks of this happening I returned to Auckland where the land doesn’t move under your feet!  I moved in with Mum and Dad and returned to work 4 days a week.  Now, a single Mum who had a ton of emotional baggage I knew I needed to look after myself, and that I could do this by myself.  So that’s what I did.  Well that’s what I thought I was doing.

When the cracks started to show 

Although I went for a run most days, kept myself busy, spent time with friends and family, I was an absolute mess on the inside.  I would often lose it with my daughter, walk out/breakdown or just lose it during conversations with my parents, freak out if strangers spoke to me, which limited my social outings.  Then I started to make silly mistakes at work and twice I lost it with my GM . . . behaviours that were completely out of character for me. 

These were some of the many warning signs, telling me I wasn’t coping. For whatever reason, I woke up one day and acknowledged and decided to practice what I had been preaching for years in my role as an HR professional, and made my first ever appointment with EAP (Employee Assistance Program).  I also sat with my GM and TALKED – in capitals as this is not an easy task for me.  

These sessions were invaluable and scary at the same time.  When I reached that point of truly understanding the weight of what I was carrying around every day, and the effect of wearing my everyday face whilst managing the internal turmoil, it was overwhelming. 

Even though I was doing everything to care for myself, it still wasn’t enough

Some months later (about 9!) Mum and I were having a girls day, where our first stop was our local village. I had made myself an appointment with my GP but didn’t tell anyone, not even my Mum.    

Anxiety, depression . . . WHAT?  ME?  Hearing these words from my GP was a shock, quickly followed by relief. After a long discussion with my GP, and taking the ‘are you depressed’ survey, it was revealed that I was suffering from mild depression and a whole heap of anxiety.  However, accepting that I was in fact doing really well, that I needed that little extra support with the weight I was carrying around, all of a sudden things lightened.  

I told my rocks

I was very lucky to have a core group of friends that stuck with me on this journey, and followed up my “I’m on happy pills now” with great jokes, laughs and love.   

I am still working on the whole talking thing. I push myself to keep my exercise routine up as this I find is the best medicine.  I have the best husband, and BFF, anyone could ask for, who loves me for who I am.   And my rocks are always there for me as I am for them.

I hold no hatred nor do I blame.  Life is to short for that shit. I live, laugh, love and strive to be the best version of me, which includes the ups and downs! 

Carlene x

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Peter Taylor February 22, 2017 - 2:53 pm

Yes, the CHCH earthquakes didn’t just ‘move the goalposts’, it picked up the whole playing field and shook it HARD! I had the luxury of distance, being in Auckland, but my brothers and sisters were caught up in the mix. No-one came out the same.

Renee February 23, 2017 - 11:39 am

I can only imagine how hard it must have been. I too live in Auckland!

Thanks for your thoughts Peter 🙂

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