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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How to take that first step to seek help and risk additional shame?

    I have had a series of events occur in my life this year that have required me to ‘rise above’, provide support to others while continuing to function myself.

    I feel like a fraud with my life appearing in balance, my heart filled with goodness while I am falling apart and hanging on for dear life.

    I would like the relief of speaking the unspeakable and it being OK, but am too scared in case I feel more shame through opening up and I won't have what it takes to try again.
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    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    One of the hardest things that I have had to do is to face the fact that I needed professional help with dealing with my depression so I may understand what you are experiencing.

    I suggest that you talk to your GP about this. S/he will be able to draw up what is officially called a Mental Health Care Plan with you. A MHCP will give you a number of Medicare-subsidised sessions with mental health professionals (a psychiatrist and/or a clinical psychologist).

    One thing that you wrote struck me:

    "I have had a series of events occur in my life this year that have required me to ‘rise above’, provide support to others while continuing to function myself.“

    I am not a mental health professional but I am a volunteer administrator of a world-wide forum which supports people who are coping with mental illness - what you said is very familiar to me in that context.

    My advice is always to ”look after yourself first" - that is not selfish thing to do - if we don't do that then our capacity to care for others who matter to us can get messed up.

    With care.

  • Renee Mill

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Empowering people is my passion and life work. I have been working as a Clinical Psychologist in private practice for over thirty years. I have … View Profile

    As a carer/psychologist, I know exactly what you mean. Often when we are caring for others, we feel that we cannot show our vulnerable self to others. While it may not be appropriate to show it to the person we are caring for, it is good to share it with an outsider who can support you. 

    In my training, we had to attend therapy ourselves so we knew what it feels like to be the patient. Any well trained therapist will understand where you are coming from and be able to "hold" you so that you feel secure and feel no shame.

    A common question is "who is caring for the carer?" As a  carer you must ensure that you obtain the care and support that you need and that is your right. Do not feel different or inferior, we are all in the same boat. 

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