Solingen 93

Domestic Violence and Abuse

Living [email protected]: Mark’s story


I’m a hydrologist and I’ve been working as a hydrologist with Sydney water for six and a half years now Roughly, probably 2012 I went to work one morning and as the morning went on what I know it as now is anxiety and panic had set in that morning I had no idea what was going on but I didn’t know if I was dying or what was going on and it was actually a manager of mine that approached me and asked if I was okay and his wife is actually a psychologist and he was quite understanding and he sort of calmed me down and suggested that I seek help about it I’m a big sort of coffee drinker and it was that morning that it was coffee after coffee and I later found out that that helped sort of bring it on because it hypes you up a bit but I wasn’t sure what was going on and I my sort of heart was racing or short of breath I’d I couldn’t stop pacing I couldn’t sit still I just you know I had no way out of it and it was now I’ve looked back on it that my manager sort of stopped me and calmed me down suggested I see a doctor I didn’t want to be at work that morning I didn’t want to be around anyone all I wanted to do was just sit in bed and and not see anyone – lock myself away and try and figure out what was going on so I had no idea how I was going to sort of suggest that to him so it was fantastic that he sort of spotted the signs and suggested that I seek help and you know take the time that I needed to sort myself out with that …and Alex has been phenomenal hasn’t she yeah absolutely um yeash she’s my rock so I often said to her that you know in the beginning if I’d sort of didn’t have her there to sort of guide me through I didn’t know where I would be and that was completely honest She was pivotal in helping me get back on my feet and that was where I came across Mates in construction and just wanted to get involved and… talk about it publicly yeah which is a whole other step to take isn’t it? Of course. So beyond that moment of anxiety did you manage to work out the dimensions of what you were feeling of what was going on for you? Not at all it was sort of little darting thoughts it just snowballed and rolled and rolled and rolled into something so big that you just can’t control it and that was where I thought I just sort of wanted to shelter away from everyone and that leads to other things… I was embarrassed about going back to work because I wondered what people would think of me and what was going on and what not so taking their the first step in getting help was it was life-saving. Mark tell us what your supervisor did with you, what you together collaboratively developed to enable you to move on. Yeah so my supervisor explained you know my doctor had explained to me about the anxiety which then developed into chronic depression and whatnot and my supervisor put it very simply for me and it was better than it’s been put with any doctor and it was basically that anyone with a broken leg is injured and it takes time for that injury to heal. You’re off work for that amount of time and you do what’s necessary to heal yourself with that and it’s exactly the same with mental illness only that no one can see it. My supervisor had organized not for me go into work but had organized the Sydney Water appointed psychiatrist who had more letters in front of his name that I’ve ever seen in my life. So through the psychiatrists they were informing my supervisor you know where I was at in life which enabled them to help me get back on my feet and which they did. They had me back in working on lesser hours or shorter working week and basically whatever I needed it was it was catered for. What difference did getting treatment or support or therapy or whatever range of things that you were accessing at the same time as continuing on in the workforce… what was powerful about that combination do you think in terms of your own healing? Being at work is part of the healing process as well. I found being at home I felt useless. Being involved at work, being helped through work and having the support that I had… day to day was exactly what I needed to get back on my feet you know and I couldn’t be more grateful for the way that it was approached in the way that it ended up. It happened on a number of fronts so you also you know if you if anxiety was an issue it perhaps to do less site visits… Yeah …for a while. Of course. I was a bit worried at first going back to work after having so much time off as I said I was a bit worried of how I was going to be viewed in the workplace you know I felt that I’d let someone mentioned before the team you know letting the team down at work I’m not there to help you know and when I am now you know I’m not all myself and whatnot so I found getting up going to work every day with the support that I have had and still have, you know, it gave me meaning every day to do something, you know, I felt like I was pulling my weight that way. Yeah. What one key shift would undermine this stigma that we experience? One of the biggest discoveries that I’ve made since coming through it was a little while back I did a story with the Sydney Morning Herald involving Mates in construction. One of the biggest discoveries I’ve found after that story was just how many people are suffering as well who you know you’ve never have any idea I think once people start to become more aware that anyone can be affected by it I think it’ll be much more easier to talk about as well

Cesar Sullivan

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