TWB – the creation story
Welcome everyone to our blog! At TWB, we are specialists in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention training and this has been the core of our work thus far. My vision for TWB has always been more than one core focus and this blog is the beginning of us growing additional branches within the realm of Mental Health. I will use this platform to start conversations on topics of interest and answer commonly asked questions. Ideally this is a two-way conversation, so please give us your honest feedback and comments. Blog numero uno – is all about how TWB came into being.
It was born, from one of the most difficult periods in my life and although we have been a functioning business for several years, I have never publicly told the story of our creation and I feel this is the right time and place to share. I think it’s important to know how our passion for awareness and conversation came to be.
I want to preface this next part by saying I was not what you would call ‘at risk’ for having a mental illness. From childhood I didn’t tick any of the major markers for being ‘at risk’. However, as we know mental illness doesn’t discriminate and being human; is a risk. In Grade 12, I was formally diagnosed with depression and anxiety and I had been having symptoms for well over a year. On one hand I was relieved that there was a reason I was feeling that way. On the other I had no idea what that diagnoses meant, and neither did my family. My support networks and I struggled as I saw my GP, psychologists, psychiatrists and trialled medication after medication after medication…not an uncommon story. We couldn’t find a medication ’cocktail’ that worked for me and I had started to question if I would be better off dying, then living through this continuous, never ending nightmare. This led to several attempts to take my life and resulted in an admission to our local public psychiatric ward (this was an experience I will never forget but is a story for another time).
A few years after my initial diagnoses, trialling a vast array of medications and treatments and several attempts at suicide, I was admitted to private psychiatric facility. The hospital was two hours away from home and my friends and family. After a couple of months, I was sent home with a new medication regime that did not work. So I found myself back in the private facility undergoing ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) for several more months. ECT is very misunderstood and misrepresented; it is a medical intervention for treatment-resistant mental illness and like many treatments for mental illness, the results vary from individual to individual. For me, I think it was the start of my dark cloud lifting. After spending most of the year in hospital, I went home with a tiny spark of light I had been missing for a long time.
My dark cloud did not lift overnight. There wasn’t a magic pill that worked. The ECT didn’t ‘cure’ me. I didn’t find a doctor who ‘fixed’ me. Time, understanding and support from my loved ones – is what it took for the clouds to begin their ascent.
Like every human, I have dark-cloud-days, but they don’t scare me anymore. I know what works for me and what I need to do. I put strategies into action before the clouds set in for a long stay. I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and my life experiences (personal and professional) have put me a path to educate and share knowledge, so mental illness is no longer a silent, shadowy force.
That’s a snapshot of how TWB came to be! Bec came on board a couple of years later, bringing another dimension to my vision. I believe whole heartedly, that with education and conversations, we can make a difference. I’m so proud of the business and where we are going and I’m so looking forward to sharing this blog with you all. I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions so please send them through. Thank you for reading, it is very much appreciated.