I just wanted an escape from the pain, I didn't actually wanna die.

I think as a doctor it took me a considerable amount of time to realise what was going on,
in my own mind and my own world.

My first symptoms of anxiety, I noticed in my early 30s, when I was transitioning from being a trainee doctor to being a specialist in cardiology.

And they manifested in the sense of being anxious and worried about little things, racing heart, sweating, not sleeping well, not being able to relax.

And I worried about little things and ruminate over my mind, either during the day, at night about things that probably would never happen.

Like at that time, I felt like I had no future, I had no hope, I wasn't eating well, 
I was losing weight, I wasn't concentrating, I wasn't sleeping well. I was withdrawing into myself and excluding myself from, you know, friends and had kind of a feeling I had no safe place to, where I could be either at work or at home.

And they contributed to me becoming very significantly depressed and having daily intense suicidal ideation.

I felt as if I had no future, there was no way forward, I thought I was gonna lose my children forever, that I'd never see them again.

I just wanted an escape from the pain, I didn't actually wanna die.

Yeah, I was employing strategies at that stage to get to survive the next minute. And then I'd gradually look at my watch and say, "Can I survive the next five minutes?" And then I would do it for the next 60 minutes so I could get through the day. That's very exhausting.

I kind of knew I needed to get help desperately at that stage, but again delayed and 
delayed and delayed.

In the initial stages I was very worried about speaking to people about it.

One of the things that helped me get out of that major episode was a text I received from a friend, which was really the perfect text, it was non judgmental, saying that she was 
concerned about me. She noticed that my texts were getting darker and more concerning to her. She texted me the Lifeline and Beyond Blue helpline, said you really desperately
need to ring these people, I checked, rang them at the end of the day. Very important that my friend guided me to seek help and that I put my hand up to get help.

My recovery strategies was to do swimming, in fact, sometimes a lot of swimming. And in many ways it was an easy way for me to use mindfulness. So as a matter of, you know, taking the breath, blowing the bubble out in between taking the strokes and so perfect way of being in the moment.

And I know, when I've had a good swimming session from a mental health point of view
in that I can't remember what I thought about, other than maybe the next breath or the next stroke.

Yeah, coming out the other side where I am now, I think I'm in very strong place,

In many respects. In many ways, I've had this kind of sense of post traumatic growth.

My life's changed to an extremely positive sense. I think we've moved a long way
around awareness, about depression and anxiety and speaking about depression 
and anxiety.

But there's still a long way to go about suicide ideation needs to be talked about
more openly. You know, that's the kind of stigma we need to break down.

If you get to that place, you do need to seek help. It's not a sign of weakness and
in fact a sign of strength. I think it's essential that others are feeling the same way,
do the same thing, put the hands up to get help, all their friends and family guide them,
and help them get help.

(dog growling)