Making the call
I thought about how to do it, over and over in my mind I perfected it. I had undergone years of therapy; I saw many different psychologists and psychiatrists. I was prescribed so many different medications I can’t remember them all – I hated it.
I forked out thousands of dollars to be told what I didn’t want to hear and take tablets I didn’t want to swallow. I drank my problems away, that’s what I learnt and believed worked and told myself I could bluff it all and get by. But it didn’t, the same demons were always there the next day. It made getting through each day harder and harder. I was trying to mask my issues doing this in the evening but at work, I would sober up and my demons were waiting.
In 2016 I was on a flight to Onslow when I found myself staring out the window when we had reached cruising altitude. I had been really low for some time and I thought to myself I just wish the plane would fall out of the sky and crash. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t afraid to die like that. I had just hit the lowest point (or close to) that I could ever recall of how depressed I could get. When I arrived, I went about my business as usual, checking into my room and meeting up with colleagues to discuss a plan for tomorrow – all the while there was a raging inferno inside me.
That afternoon I did something that terrified me, I was so nervous. I picked up the phone and called Beyond Blue.
My heart was racing, my chest was pounding. What will happen if I tell them how I am really feeling? Will they send the police because I may be a danger to myself or others? I’m not! I promise! What if they haul me off in a van and lock me up in a padded cell and I never get out? What if I go crazy over time when I am in an institution and they won’t release me? I was scared. A voice answered on the other end of the phone, ‘hello?’
The voice on the other end of the phone reassured me that I wouldn’t get locked up in a cell, I fought back tears as I felt I had crossed a significant bridge in making this phone call. When I returned to Perth I spoke to my partner about it and the first step was booking into my GP. My GP was a nice guy, an older man with a lot of experience especially with mental health. I told him exactly what I had been feeling and how it made me feel as I fought back tears. I told him how scared I was to tell a health professional about the thoughts I was having. One of the things they have to ask is; do you think you are a risk to yourself or anyone else? To which I responded ‘no’ because I didn’t, because I was there to get help as I wanted to get better.
‘To myself, I am nothing, nobody. But to them, I am everything, that makes me someone, somebody and that is worth fighting for’
This mantra I wrote myself at the time saved my life. At the time I didn’t do it for me, I did it for them. I didn’t want to give up on them and I didn’t want them to give up on me. I could not put them through the pain of that.
This is how having that honest conversation saved my life. Getting the help I needed was like leaping over a chasm. The fear I felt about the severity of my depression was immense and deep. Speaking about it with my GP felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I cried so much in that room, I felt so relieved. When I left the GP I felt like this was the beginning of getting better.
I had been sad and angry for a long time and pushed my family away with alcohol, I wanted to be a good husband, father, son and mate – I thought I was doing a good job but I felt I was failing terribly.
There were times where I believed suicide would end my pain but it would only just start for my loved ones.
The last 4 years have certainly not been the smoothest, but I am so grateful to be here to tell this story. At the time I did it for them but now I do things for me too. The power of sharing stories like this is to create awareness to let people know who are feeling like this that they are not alone and help is available.
Billy Good © 2021