Mental Health Month 2011; Stephen's Story Shows What a Difference a Diagnosis Can Make
Byline: Stephen Milne email@example.com
I REMEMBER being a loner as a child, preferring the company of books to the company of others.
Curiosity has always been my guide, so as a teenager I experimented with many different belief systems, including witchcraft. From the age of 13 I began using drugs a mainly marijuana, acid and inhalants. I started risk-taking in a big way and diced with death often.
When I look back at this time there were periods of severe depression interspersed with times of extraordinary academic achievements; most of this was disguised, however, by my drug and alcohol abuse which eventually led to me quitting school to get a job as an apprentice mechanic.
An amazing amount of negative ex- perience was crammed into my teenage years. My GP prescribed sedatives and anti-depressants before I reached 20. The highs and lows continued and I started having suicidal thoughts.
Church counsellors assured me that it was just the devil getting at me. I met a wonderful lady one night at church; we quickly grew to be friends. Although she just wanted friendship, I could see in her the potential of a great wife. After several years of friendship we asuddenlya had a whirlwind courtship and married not long after.
I could never confide in her the secret lows that I had because I didn't want to worry her. We moved to Grafton and started a family, but being separated from friends and family in Sydney made the lows worse and the highs extreme.
Tricia knew that I had a problem and I found out later that she had thought about leaving me. I wouldn't have blamed her with the way I was treating her. I spent a period of asanitya induced by the fear of losing my family and immersed myself in my work, but the ademona was after me again. I began drinking again and moved out of home.
Eventually Tricia, who had continued supporting me, allowed me home.
I continued to drink heavily, even seeking help from A.A. GPs and pastors alike had written me off as a hopeless alcoholic and predicted my early demise; my medical file was stamped asubstance dependanta.
I tried to present to the outside world an appearance of normality. I was excelling at my job and was serving faithfully in my church.
When I injured my back in a workplace accident the pain and ensuing court case took a grave toll on me. I went to a very deep low; so deep it was a bottomless pit with no escape. …