Mar 06

The last time I wrote about my depression was February 2021 – just over two years ago. Since that post, I have only written two other blogs. It’s not that I don’t want to write, just that it has been difficult to do so. I’ve written so many blogs in my head over the last couple of years, I’m glad that I have the time and capacity to sit down now and do some writing.

Thinking about sitting down to write, I am again sitting in a room in Victoria Clinic having maintenance TMS for my depression. This is the eighth visit to the Victoria Clinic, and I think I’m now settling into a routine of maintenance.

I came in Friday after work and will leave tomorrow morning, Tuesday. Really, just a weekend of treatment.

Before I get into the current phase, let me back it up a bit, as so much has happened to all of us since I last wrote.

The medical intervention for my depression took a real toll on me. There is no doubt at all that the TMS has helped me ‘find myself’ again. I feel like it has come at a huge cost to me, a cost that has been well and truly worth it.

I was never able to really return to my work at the ASRC. I did try, and ultimately decided that it was beyond my current scope. It was stressful to leave, I fought so hard to stay in the role; however, it gradually dawned on me that I wasn’t able to do the role justice, this wasn’t fair to the people I lead, worked with and the people who came to the ASRC for help. My separation from work was ugly and, possibly, one of the lowest points in my life. I left feeling misunderstood, rejected and alone. It has taken me a long time, and possibly still more time, to come to terms with that.

One thing that was evident to me, through the battle of leaving, I was no longer cut out for an executive role. That was a hard reality to face.

I did say to myself, when I left Family Life, that I would never return to a management role. Then, the very next job I took was a management role! I really should have listened to my inner self.

I loved my job at Family Life and the ASRC, I really did. I was good at it. Not only that, but I loved leading, I loved working with dedicated people, supporting them, and making a real difference in the lives of the people who came to our doors for help and assistance.

It was heart-wrenching for me to come to understand the price I was paying was too high. My mental health was suffering in a major way. Even though I had the drive and the passion for my work, depression and anxiety were significant barriers that worked away in the background, grinding me down, until I just stopped.

I took a break. There was a little money in the bank, and Michael was supporting me. It was a safe space for me to be. Uncomfortable, but safe.

Then gradually, as the sun started to shine every morning again, I knew that my next job needed to be radically different. Low-key, no stress, part-time and no strategies!

Gregory and his EDV

I am now a Postal Delivery Officer, a Postie for Australia Post. I put letters in letter boxes! And I love it. Nobody asks me to read contracts, interview new staff, look at financial spreadsheets, review the risk register or make an important decision. I don’t have anyone trying to bend my ear for a few minutes. I don’t need to sit with people over a cup of coffee to break some bad news. My job now sees me up at 4.30 in the morning, I get to work by 6 a.m., spend a couple of hours sorting my mail for the day,

then on I get on my three-wheeler electric delivery vehicle and deliver mail to a commercial/industrial area. I’m home by midday, have a nana nap and ready for the next part of the day.

My daily stress is misdelivering a letter and batting off the occasional snappy Jack Russell.

I do at times miss the work I was doing. I wish I had something that would let me use the skills I’ve honed over so many years, maybe one day, for now, I’m happy being a hyper-organised Postie.

So, here I am again, at the end of another weekend of treatment. The first to notice I was on a downward spiral was Michael, I ignored him, and told him he was wrong, I’m perfectly ok. As is so often the case, he was right, and I did need some help. I am grateful to have such a wonderful man in my life. I really should listen to him more!

I wasn’t really prepared for the ongoing impact of my mental health. I sort of thought I was ‘cured’ after a couple of intense treatments. I’ll get there one day, for now, I will continue to focus on healing, I don’t know how long that takes any more. I recall the disappointment I felt when I realised I was slipping again, the dark clouds gathered once more. This time, I’m hoping that the early warning signs have helped get me here sooner. Being aware of my own feelings can be difficult, self-deception can be pretty easy. Listening to others can be frustrating. Sometimes those closest to me, know stuff about me, before I even know myself.

The treatment has worked well. The last few weeks, the thought of getting out of bed, and going to work has filled me full of dread. I would get home and spend my afternoon scrolling through YouTube shorts, waiting until Michael got home, so I could eat and go back to bed. This morning in one of our group sessions, another patient remarked that today was the first time he had seen me smile since I arrived. Michael, when he came to take me out to dinner last night, made much the same remark.

This morning, I awoke, smiling. Up and at ’em.

It’s good to be back.

10 Responses to “Ongoing treatment brings a smile πŸ˜ƒ”

  1. Naomi says:

    The layout of your story is very emotional and is something many cannot possibly understand. Thank you for sharing it.
    It’s pleasing to know you remember how to smile and no doubt bring a smile to Michael too. It’s the best medicine ever discovered.


  2. Jennie Storer says:

    You brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m soo glad that you have Michael & that you listened to him.

    I apologise for asking to your stress.

    I understand how daunting therapy, depression & treatment is. I’m dreading starting treatment in two weeks.

    I wish you nothing but positivity and am so very glad that you have found a balance between work, treatment & life.

    Love you loads.

  3. Geoff Barby (Bonz) says:

    Insightful Greggie. I hate phone calls with you. I laugh so much and regress back ((OMG)) 40 years that my sides are sore after some calls. My world is better having you as my best mate and I look forward to picking up where we left off every time. Are you home?

  4. Gregory says:

    Home Tuesday arvo

  5. Michael Barnett says:

    We should get married again, and again.

  6. Bernard says:

    Thanks Gregory. Your blog is so moving!
    I understand that making the transition from a leadership role to a Postie has not been easy. But it’s good to know that you are feeling a little bit better.
    Greetings to you and Michael from far away Germany.

  7. Bernard says:

    Thank you, Gregory, for your blog.
    It’s good to know that you are feeling at least a little bit better. The transition from manager to postie was certainly not easy but necessary for improving your mental health issues.
    Greetings to you and Michael from Germany.
    This is my second reply. It seems as if the first one was not sent to you.

  8. Sarah says:

    Well said Greg! Glad you have found the balance you need. The Waters family sends love.

  9. jacqui christie says:

    Hey Greg!
    I posted on linkedin prior to reading this blog, very powerful to read.. Althoug also very sad to hear of the nmental health struggles you have been managing. So many truths in what you wrote especially about the power of denial and how people closest to you are often the first to notice things. I have fond memories of our time together at FL. I remember our chats in my room supporting each other and how you told me even then how you recognised the importance of therapy. Im glad to hear things are slowly improving for you and I love the stress free sound of your new job. I even thought to myself hey I would like this until I saw the 4 am wakeup Laugh out LOUD!!! So glad Michael is continuing to be the strength and support in your life. You have also been that for him throughout your journey together. Be well Greg and look after yourself and of course each other. Sending lots of hugs and care to you both.

  10. Roy Byrnes says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this Gregory. I happened upon this from a LinkedIn post. I’m in the same boat. I left my stressful job at Metro at the end of January. I don’t think I would survive 2023 if I didn’t get out of there. I’m currently doing some study (and living off my savings) but ultimately think an active, non-stressful role like you have would be good for me. We’ll see. Anyway I just wanted to reach out with some gratitude for this post.

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