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Greg Wilson
by Aaron Cootes
Greg Wilson Gallery
Shop 13, Hunter Valley Gardens
Broke Road POKILBIN NSW 2320
Phone: (02) 4998 6772

For as long as he can remember Greg Wilson felt as though he didn't belong in this world. Grappling with the feelings of depression, he wondered why he felt so abnormal, so alone and so worthless. Sometimes he would experience temporary relief from these troubling emotions; however, his anxiety and despair would soon return for no apparent reason.

Desperate to find happiness, he tried to be part of life and was determined to fit in: he spent time with friends, was active at school, threw himself into his work and had a keen interest in sport. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to alleviate his destructive feelings. No matter how hard he tried, he could not find meaning in his own life, and a feeling of doom followed him wherever he went. He couldn't picture a happy future for himself and it wasn't long before he was asking: Why bother? Why try and build a life when he really didn't want to be here?

Growing up, he didn't talk to his friends about his experiences because they didn't seem to have the same feelings as he did. Unable to speak to his mother and father about his emotions he was soon caught up in a downward spiral. He held everything in.

Greg remembers saying to himself that if he ever got over his depression he wouldn't talk about it, want to hear about it, or even think about it ever again. However, after having learnt to cope with the illness that almost killed him, his feelings began to change. He didn't want others to suffer the way he did and he decided he would like to help. He started by giving motivational talks, and when his best friend Aaron approached him with a proposal to write about his story, he was eager to do so. Maybe his learning would assist others who were currently in the midst of serious depression. His most fervent wish was that his story would deliver an important message to people - as long as there is life then there is hope.
THE STIGMA OF DEPRESSION
Unfortunately for me, my need to take medication for my depression was not always regarded in an understanding manner. Some of my acquaintances actually confronted me and expressed their concerns to me personally. They felt there was a stigma attached to taking medication for mental problems, as if I had contracted some incurable disease or that I belonged in a mental institution.

Taking medication is nothing to be ashamed of. Yet you mention to someone that you are on antidepressants and they can become uncomfortable. It conjures up images in their mind that you are just a little bit crazy or out of control. I have noticed that people can even become uncomfortable if you admit to having periods of depression.

Could you imagine approaching someone who had just broken a leg, and suggesting they didn't need any painkillers or a splint for their injury? Imagine taking them by the hand and telling them, 'We'll just walk it off! Time heals all wounds. You'll be all right!' Can you imagine the pain they'd experience, and how they would respond if you asked what they were crying about, what all the fuss was about? It would be inconceivable, and we would certainly be classified as either insane or sadistic! Yet these types of comments are still being used towards those who take medication for depression. Because some people can't see any physical sign of an injury they assume that those who have depression must be making it all up. Of course this is not true.

Compare depression with other conditions and you soon realise that it is somewhat unique. For instance, there is no stigma attached to the diabetic injecting insulin to control sugar levels. Nor is the chronic asthmatic ridiculed for taking an anti-inflammatory to make sure their airways remain open. The diabetic and asthmatic hardly feel bad for taking their supplements. Nor should the person with depression feel bad for taking medication to enhance the quality of his life. The medication makes me feel better, simply replacing the chemical that my brain is unable to make in adequate quantities. It simply acts on the part of the brain responsible for controlling emotion much the same way the medication an asthmatic takes works on the lungs. Just because it is an illness of the brain doesn't mean that people can't lead happy and successful lives.

We need to shift people's perception so that they don't feel bad taking medication for depression or condemn somebody else for taking their medication. At the end of the day, it is important that we have quality of life. My life is certainly better for taking the medication, and I will continue to use all the help that medical science can offer me.

 

 

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