My story has been quite a secret one. I fight depression, however not many people know.
Most people wouldn’t have a clue! I hate the term depression, it carries such a stigma. I helped a highly educated friend once try to have the clinical diagnosis changed from depression to Serotonin Deficiency.
I’m physically healthy. Sure, I have aches and pains, but they’re to do with age or being unfit. But this part of me is not healthy. I don’t know why it is, but it affects every tiny little part of me. If I could snap out it, please believe me I would. I have a very strong will, and can usually accomplish things I set my mind to. If this depression could be got over by a decision I would be well and truly over it! I’ve spent years telling myself to ‘just get over it’ and was ‘getting over it’ until I couldn’t get over it anymore. At that point I took myself to see a doctor. I needed help! By then I had gotten over my ‘no, I’m not taking medication’ mentality and went on anti-depressants. I don’t like that term either.
I raised six wonderful kids, who are all a blessing to their community and us.
There was a lot that had to be done, and I just did it. I didn’t have time to stay in bed in the morning. I just had to get up, put on my ‘mature’ face and do what needed to be done. I am also blessed with 12 grandchildren. I think it’s worse now that I don’t actually have to get up every morning. It’s a really hard choice to make some days, which is why I deliberately make appointments or have classes in the mornings. I have something on almost every day, sadly I don’t always get to everything – it depends how I am travelling on the day.
I take art classes, stained glass classes, attend open air painting groups (they take place around the place at local cafés) and more. I also paint and do other creative things at home. I started writing a book about 15 years ago and feel that at some stage in the near future I am going to put it out there.
I used to be so confident, and maybe even a little cocky, but now everything takes so much more energy. Even things I used to do without even thinking, like driving. I once drove from Melbourne to Darwin, mostly by myself. Now I don’t even want to get in the car and prefer to be a passenger any day. It all comes down to confidence and how I’m feeling each day. This can have such an impact on every day.
On Being a Carer
My husband’s issues initially started following a knee replacement.
The doctors operated twice before they announced he was allergic to it. The third operation (all in eight months) was to put in a plastic-coated titanium knee. He had three operations in such a tiny space of time and it just has not repaired. He’s in constant pain and on morphine, which I hate because I can see what it’s doing to him.
And then there’s the depression, which seems to come automatically as a sideline to chronic pain. Getting him out of bed can be difficult because of the pain; he says sleep is his only escape. When we’re both down it’s not pretty. Sometimes I don’t feel like getting out of bed but I make myself for both of us.
My husband is a very intelligent, beautiful selfless person who loves to keep busy and achieve. He has an incredible work ethic that he taught to all our children. He loves to work, however his inability to earn a living has added immense frustration and dissatisfaction to his state of mind. He has fought tooth and nail to even get a pension, and has been denied repeatedly. It’s like he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. All of these things chip away at his confidence.
“We have been married for over 36 years and have had our share of trials, yet we are more in love now than 35 years ago. Things haven’t been easy, as you can imagine, but whenever we had things too big for us to deal with we would go to God who was much bigger and more powerful than we are, and He would give us the answer.” – A Story of Grace & Mercy, Jay Lassey
My Introduction to Carer Support at MIFWA
I initially started going to MIFWA to learn more about myself.
They’ve all been really helpful.
After a course one day I got talking to Hayley, one of the facilitators, and asked if I could buy her a coffee. We went to a café and I told her about some of the problems I had been having. She just listened to me talk, asked me a simple question, and from that I had a light bulb moment. I’ve seen Hayley, Sam, and Caroline a few times and am glad to say they all have always been so very helpful.
My Advice to People Living with Depression and Carers
Take yourself somewhere like a peaceful little café and sit there with a book and a cup of tea. You don’t even have to buy lunch or cake if you haven’t got money (I’ve been there). Just order a pot of tea, which will give you more than one cup, and then sip it slowly and soak up the atmosphere. I find this really helpful. It doesn’t appeal to everyone, but just getting out from under the situation you’re in helps. I used to go to MacDonald’s with my little kids. I would have a bottomless coffee and just sit there and write. That’s something I would recommend anybody do.
Also, if you are like me, and are afraid of people labeling you, please find someone you can trust and talk about it.
MIFWA is filled with staff who are trained to listen and who genuinely care. They are confidential, encouraging, reassuring, inspiring, caring and free. After you speak to someone there, I believe you will leave feeling the load is so much lighter than when you entered. All you have to lose is the heavy burden you have been carrying all on your own.
It’s the little things that can make a difference in someone’s life
At the end of my street, there are three houses that have the most amazing roses, and one in particular. They are so beautiful. I want to write them a card to say thank you for sharing their roses with the world. I think of it every time I drive past, but haven’t done it yet. Or maybe I’ll paint a rose or make them a stained glass rose. They probably know they make people smile, but then again it might never have occurred to them. You never know, there could be a lady sitting at home who just needs to hear that something she’s doing is making someone smile.
Jay is a writer, vibrant artist, life-long learner, wife and mother of six. She loves adventure, God and enjoying cups of chai latte under shady trees. Jay also fights depression and cares for her husband, who lives with chronic pain and now fights depression. This is just a snippet of Jay’s story, a story she has been documenting in a book she started writing about 15 years ago, and which continues to this day.