NATION

Women Survives Depression, Creates Awareness

Her continual struggle with de­pression did not stop Sera Os­borne from reaching out for help and raising more awareness regarding the illness. Ms Osborne, 29, the Psychiatric Survi­vors Association of
23 Jun 2018 11:00
Women Survives Depression, Creates Awareness
Psychiatric Survivors Association of Fiji Project Manager and Suicide Champion Sera Osborne on June 21, 2018. Photo: Yogesh Chandra

Her continual struggle with de­pression did not stop Sera Os­borne from reaching out for help and raising more awareness regarding the illness.

Ms Osborne, 29, the Psychiatric Survi­vors Association of Fiji projects manag­er, has been struggling with depression since 2006.

It almost ended up being the greatest tragedy of her life.

“I tried to kill myself three times,” she said.

According to the United Nations, de­pression is now the leading cause of dis­ability worldwide.

Ms Osborne describes her beginning phases being really tough because she did not tell anyone about her illness and kept everything to herself.

“I just stopped socialising,” she said.

Her depression had reached a phase where she could not even groom herself or undertake the simplest of chores.

It was during 2012, with a stroke of good luck that she met a friend who would change her life forever.

“I met this lady and she opened up to me,” she said.

The conversation progressed as the friend opened up about her own situa­tion.

This gave a breeze of hope to the al­ready awestruck Ms Osborne. She then joined the Psychiatric Survivors Associ­ation and has been actively engaged in reaching out towards people since then.

The association has 350 members in­cluding persons diagnosed as well as those who have not been diagnosed.

The stigma relating to depression is prevalent in our societies.

“People call you words like mentally orphaned and it gets really hard for us,” Ms Osborne said.

“People were not opening up about their battle with depression because they fear that everyone will judge them,” she said.

“They will call you words like, it’s all your fault.”

Ms Osborne pointed out on the need of taking a holistic approach in dealing with the illness.

People end up assuming a lot of things if they see a person in withdrawal, they fail to look at the “inside story”.

“You need to know the whole story of a person” she added.

Now Ms Osborne can relate to her col­leagues at the association because they know and understand how it feels to be in that situation.

Her advice to everyone struggling with depression is that there is hope.

She also emphasised on the impor­tance of reaching out for professional help like contacting Lifeline Fiji or just conversing with a friend who is not judgemental.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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