Upasana: Have you been through a time in your life that you have thought of consulting a psychologist or counsellor and decided against it?
Suzanne: I have had a couple of times in my life when I have thought about consulting a psychologist. My first serious episode of depression was possibly post natal depression…. I thought about seeing someone then, but I was a bit over crying all the time and decided it was easier not to make that step. I was put on medication by my GP, which really helped get me back into balance. After a couple of years I was felt strong enough and weaned myself off them.
My other time was going through breast cancer treatment, surgery, intensive chemo and radiation. It was a pretty emotional time, and hormonal…
I was often in tears at chemo; scared. I was referred to the psychologist at the hospital who specialised in cancer patients. I even got a mental health plan done by my GP.
I was put onto medication to help with hot flushes, which had the added benefit of stabilising moods. I didn’t end up going to the psych.
Upasana: What were your reasons at the time for not taking that option?
Suzanne: I think it was about not wanting to expose myself. I felt better when I was on the medication, felt back in control, and out of the dark pit. So I didn’t want to go back into those dark places once I was out.
Upasana: What ways have you developed to help you through challenging times?
Suzanne: My family, talking with friends, exercise, meditation…. I used a lot of guided meditation apps during my cancer trip… they really helped.
Walking through the beautiful parks where I live, and getting a wonderfully cheeky dog in my life have all helped.
I have also continued to work on developing my exercise program, including yoga and pilates.
Upasana: Do you think that as a culture, Australians lean too heavily on counselling for support instead of developing other resources?
Suzanne: I don’t think so. I think that talk therapy, whether with a friend or a counsellor can be really helpful, and I suspect that counsellors have the ability to help guide people struggling with challenges in their lives to find other resources which may help.
Upasana: Can you tell me a little about these photos you have shared here? What do they mean to you?
Suzanne: I think the pics best represent celebrating the beauty of life every day I am here to do it…. enjoying every breath…. the park where I walk most days, and enjoying the sparkle and bubbles…