My name is Pauline Whitehurst and my story is one that starts off like so many other Australians – 4 million* other Australians if you ask the National Health Survey. You see, I spent years struggling with my mental health. For me, I was shadowed in a blanket of depression, mixed with a relentless cloud of anxiety, teamed with insomnia and head fog. I was constantly tired, it didn’t matter what I did, I was always exhausted.
This wasn’t a new feeling; it was a feeling that I had resided to as being my ‘normal’ and it was all consuming. After the birth of my first child the spiral was extreme. During the day, I felt like I was stumbling through life like a baby foal, and at night I would lie awake with an endless reel of vivid memories and to-do lists.
As we know, depression can often be a silent battle, and this was true for me. I kept the struggle to myself – shutting off the truth from my closest friends and family – wearing a brave face and an often fake smile. I ended up googling my way to a lot of information and I thought that my GP would have the answers. I looked for so many professional opinions still to no avail. I’d seen psychiatrists and psychologists, and even underwent two sleep studies. In my case, I got the clarity of a diagnosis of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) but with no real solution or direction to start walking (or, crawling even). The fog remained and I still didn’t know that it was possible to have a future without it.
During this time, I was trying my best to be a present and engaging mother to my young daughter; however, I knew I wasn’t achieving that. I needed to make changes and break the cycle that I had seen growing up. I mean, surely things had progressed since then, right? Didn’t we know more … didn’t we have more answers than we did decades ago? I wasn’t finding any and it became a frustration that only added to my anxiety and depression.
My journey towards an alternative solution began. I first focused on what I was putting in my mouth, then I began looking at what I products I was using around my home and what I was putting on my skin; this quickly led to a holistic natural detox that finally dissolved my fog. Within one month, I was sleeping again (no more bed-triggered lists) and within six months, the anxiety and depression was noticeably lifting.
I am continuing my journey, which I know will be an ongoing process, and I am inspired to share my story and hear yours. Every person who has experienced some form of mental illness will know the desperation that can often hold hands with a diagnosis. My story is just one – one of a mother, a wife, and a woman on a mission to live a fog-free life. While my story is just one, it is my aim to make that one story heard and potentially help others along the way. Living life without the fog has been an eye opener. Life is so much brighter now.
- Pauline xo
With a dedication to my ever supportive husband and my wonderfully creative daughter, because they deserve to have me in my most devoted and present form.
*Statistic drawn from the 2014-15 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2014-15~Main%20Features~Mental%20and%20behavioural%20conditions~32