November 2012, the month I nearly didn’t survive.
Attending Uni in Wagga was meant to be a dream come true, studying the degree I had always wanted. Well my first 2 years of uni were a little bit more of a struggle than I thought. I never thought it would happen, but I got homesick. A few repeated subjects, but I made it through.
2012, I made a pact to myself, I wasn’t going to be tough, strong and pass uni. Well everything at the beginning went to plan, but little did I know, that by November I would hit my breaking point.
Throughout the year I had these ‘thoughts’ running through my head. At the time I thought oh I’m just over tried and need to sleep more. So I worked on being better at sleeping and Uni and balancing a job to help with income. The more I wanted to feel better, the more I got these thoughts. I just dismissed them even more, but the more I did, the more they came about.
November that year they had reached a point that I couldn’t control them anymore. While spending a wonderful day with Jake (my now husband) I check my uni results, fails. The whole day I kept the pain inside I had about seeing those results. My 45km trip back to my house after that day was long and painful, I balled my eyes out the whole way. That’s when I knew something was not right, and that these thought I had had for the whole year couldn’t be dismissed, I had depression and the thoughts of suicide were real. Not just me being silly or tired.
When I arrived home I knew that if I wanted to be around for a while, I needed to do something. I couldn’t let the pain win. That’s when I called lifeline. I can’t remember the ladies name, I really wish I could. But I remember the conversation. She calmed me from my crying fit, she talked to me, told me to go and do something I enjoyed to help me feel better and then to talk to my doctor the next day. She made me promise that I would call my doctor. And I am so glad that I had kept that promise to her. She saved my life.
From then I had the hard task of admitting to my family that I had kept this a secret for almost a year, as well as telling Jake that they day we spent together was nearly our last. Telling people that you have a problem, especially to the people you tell everything to, is probably the toughest things I have ever had to do. Keeping a secret from my loved ones isn’t me.
Since 2012 I have had my ups and downs with my depression and anxiety. Lots of tears and hard moments, lots of hours talking to counsellors, and many days spent hiding behind a smile saying that I was ok to the world, but of course I wasn’t. It wasn’t until this year that I now feel I am in the best position to keep on top of everything. Years of avoiding them due to the stigma, I am currently on antidepressants thanks to a doctor that gave me the empowerment to look past the stigma and know that they will help, and that they have.
The dress up day was a way of me giving back to the company that saved my life and kept me here to be smiling and happy with my life.
I am completely overwhelmed by the support from all Provet Branches for the day. Seeing all the lovely pictures and knowing it brought a smile to everyone’s faces for the day, it’s such an amazing feeling I was a part of that. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart to everyone who helped, dressed up and raised money for the day. It was amazing to see all the branches get behind the day!

Natalie is a 26 year old female living in Brisbane Australia. She is sharing her story to try and help people who are battling with a mental illness to speak up and get help. There is no shame in asking for help.