Monique – My story of depression

My name’s Monique Bradley, I’m 39, I’m going
to be hitting 40 in June and I’m a story teller.  
It’s been quite a long experience for me because it started when I was quite young.  I was
quite significantly bullied and that really affected my image of myself, my self-worth,
my confidence and it did start very, very young.  I was very obese as a child so other
people’s opinions shaped my reality and how I saw myself.  Of course, the worse I felt
about that the more I ate.   My first really strong memory of the depressive
experience was probably when I was about 14.  I understand I was coming out the other
side of the hormonal changes of growing up but I just can’t escape the memory of feeling
really dark and really isolated and that nobody understood who I was, where I was and where
I fit in the world.  
I finished school and I went to university and when I wasn’t in class the rest of the
time I was in the cafeteria.  Clearly, I was hiding more and I ate and I ate and I
ate and I got bigger and bigger and bigger.  When you’re 18 or 19 and you’re walking
down the road and you hear children going, “Ugh, look at that fat lady,” that is a killer
for your confidence and your self-esteem. I remember the first day of going into my
theatre class and being so nervous and not understanding it.  I knew what nerves were
for performance but this was a whole different thing and even in the middle of the class,
the nerves were still there. I ended up leaving a lot of lectures over and over again and
running the toilets and starting to run my pulse points under cold water to try and cool
my temperature down because I’d get these amazing hot flushes and sweats, or the cold
shivers and start panicking. I couldn’t go into shopping centres at one stage because
it was too much, or there were other days where I felt I couldn’t leave the house because
it was too much and didn’t know what anxiety was.
  At the time my processing brain was saying,
“No, you’ve got a heart problem like your father and you’re probably going to die — what
are you gonna do about it?”  So, I just started starving myself and in eight months I went
from 110 kilos to 42 kilos and ended up wearing children’s clothes and was stick thin and
pretty darn miserable. And didn’t really talk about it, so didn’t
really get any help.  I suffered and I didn’t talk and I did that to myself because I thought
nobody would understand how I was feeling, like I’d always felt — like nobody would
understand who I was or the experience.  It is completely isolating and you think you’re
So, I went and saw a doctor, filled in the forms and they said, “Yeah, you’ve got a really
high score, you are suffering with this.” they actually said it was depression at the
time.  After that six weeks I realised, you know what?  If anybody’s gonna pull me out
of this it’s me so what am I going to do about it?

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