I’m Steve Tyrrell, children’s book author and manager of clinical depression, here’s my story.
Ten years ago I worked in a high pressure sales job, leading a busy social life with my wife and kids, Life was fantastic and the future was sunshine. I was bullet proof. Over the next several years shit happened. My teacher wife was bullied at work and suffered a mental breakdown. She became psychotic and ran away. I tracked her down, organised an involuntary treatment order, and she was hospitalised.
She was very ill for quite some time. An allergy I’d lived with for years advanced into a rare auto-immune disease. I nearly died and was dependent on steroids for years. I put on twenty kilo’s and could barely move.
My mother died suddenly at 80, she cared for my father who had Alzheimer’s. Dad’s condition worsened and I had to find emergency care for him at a specialist nursing home and a funeral for Mum. And I was leading my work team on a multi-million dollar tender negotiation with a Government Department for over 12 months.
My drinking no longer helped my stress. So I drank more. My friends annoyed me. I pushed them away. Work life was intolerable. I kept going regardless. My wife was struggling, my kids were freaked out, but I stuck by my family. Then it happened. My moods darkened until I crashed.
One day I sat down in the street outside my building. I couldn’t breathe and my legs gave way. I rushed to my local GP who referred me to a psychiatrist and psychologist.
Diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, cognitive therapy and anti-depressants slowly helped. At least the edge was taken away.
So began my comeback for finding enjoyment in life once again. First, I had to sort me out. I continued with counselling for years. I’ve stayed on the meds, I’ve reduced them. As I became mentally healthier, my auto immune thing petered out into remission.
I still keep a watch. Corporate life didn’t fulfill me anymore. I quit to sort myself out. My wife recovered her mental health, she left teaching and began writing mental health books for adults then empowerment books for children.
We rekindled our relationship and I found a new life purpose by co-writing and performing pantomimes for kids with her. I rediscovered the gym, it’s my solution to kick-start my brain then my body in the mornings.
Especially when the black dog tries to sneak up behind and bite me.
I can’t be the person I was ten years ago but I‘ve learnt how to keep moving forward one day at a time and enjoy life once again.