I was born in Waratah in Newcastle. I have been in a lot of different places. I've travelled and lived in Sydney and all over the place. Funny how we come back to our origins. I grew up five minutes down the road. I'm a grandmother, my daughter and granddaughter live in London.
For years since my children were quite young I had bouts of depression, the doctors would pat me on the head and send me home and tell me to be a good wife to my husband - like that would solve all my problems. They put me on antidepressants that made me suicidal, I tried lots over the years.
It wasn't until I was put onto a new psychiatrist and I told him I was not going to be fobbed off anymore, that I've got more than depression. I told him I wanted him to look at me properly and work out what's going on. Because of my history I had tried many things and none of them had worked, I had the proof.
You can wander around in limbo feeling awful and nobody understands, nobody gets it. They think that a pill will fix it, that's just a short-term solution. After 20 years, I've tried them all! Now I am on medication that keeps me even. Having a psychiatrist who can listen, who went against the easy road to help me. That's changed things for me.
I started with Neami on the 31st of the 1st 2011, with the same worker I have now. It feels like longer, but not in a bad way!
Neami helped me with I felt I couldn't leave the house, that was an anxiety producing time. Neami helped get me out and go places.
I'm a lot better now. Recently I had a very bad time with a physical health issue, I had to reach out. I learned to use the internet to find out more about it. There are lots of other people suffering in the same way. I found so much information, but I'm not silly with it. I always correlate information from different sources.
I improved my health. I reduced all the rubbish. Now I eat what I eat and that's that. I haven't had fish and chips for so long the local shop's gone out of business. McDonalds, KFC - When you're not well they're always open and it's hot and easy. I don't do it anymore.
I participate at Neami Carrington. I'm interested in helping set up the newsletter, I've researched names and articles. I did interview training and will help interview new staff. It was good to be involved and learn new skills.
I've just started with the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I'm still with Neami, but it's a different program. I think I'll get more support in the long run, but there's a lot of meetings, typical government. I'm getting new shoes soon and the woman at the National Disability Insurance Agency has been very good, she's lovely.
I keep putting off going to meetings, especially when I'm not feeling well. I had to go in before the end of June to Charlestown to be properly assessed. Neami helped me prepare myself and make the trip. She said I was eligible, which surprised me because a lot of people I know who are quite unwell have been knocked back. I think it's going to make things better for people like me.
I wouldn't say I'm creative, but I always wrote a lot, even as a child. I guess the next logical step is writing something for me.
[My goals are] to be healthier and physical again. I've got a gym machine at home that I can do even with a sore back.
My daughter's a traveller too, she went to Machu Pichu. It's great being a grandma. It's lovely.
I feel proud of myself.