Carolyn*, aged 25, South Australia

I had a very severe bout of depression two times and the most important things about going back to work:

1) it's integral to recovery as it allows you to rebuild your self confidence and self worth and to prove to yourself that you ate not worthless and can do something. A part of depression is of course the vicious cycle of negative self-talk. So getting job is a good way to fight this negative self image.
2) but while it's the best thing to do for someone to recover it is by far one of the hardest and most psychologically exhausting thing I've ever done. This is directly because things that used to be very easy to do are now so hard! You feel like you're doing really badly even if you're not and you feel so different from all the " normal people "

I am a teacher and I started off ( when I came back to work) crying in the toilet before the class saying to myself that I didn't want to do it. But as horrible as that was it was absolutely necessary to prove myself that while uncomfortable it was doable! And even if I doing so as well as I used to it's not the end of the world.

So coming back to work is really important - it also allows you to talk to people who dong know about your depression so you can forget about it. It's nice having that anonymity - so I'm not sure that disclosure is always the best thing as people do find if hard to understand the physical and biological changes in your brain that cause you to feel sometimes irrationally upset.

What is important is for your family to acknowledge that what you are doing is hard and that something which was so easy six months ago nod seems like the end of the world to you. I remember hiding my tears from my parents before my first day because they didn't understand and thought I was overreacting.

But I know for a fact that going back to work accelerated my recovery 100%."

*not her real name