A recent Lifeline poll shows that two-thirds of Australians can't sleep at night because they are stressed out of their minds. They are worried about work, money, health, personal relationships and thoughts about the future.
It's worse for women - 70 per cent compared to 50 per cent of men. Lifeline spokesman John Mendel tells us what we already know to be true - if we are mentally unwell, it should be treated the same as if we are physically unwell, but it's not, and never will be, because there is still a huge stigma attached to those two words - mental illness. We don't want to think about it, or talk about it, it's something we will never admit to.
If you get desperate enough and go to the doctor for help and she prescribes anti-depressive medication for your anxiety, you better hope your boss never finds out because if she does, she'll never look at you in the same way again. Why? Because if you are taking anti-depressive drugs, you must be mentally ill.
Some insomniacs medicate their anxiety with alcohol after a hard day at the office. They wouldn't admit to being anxious or depressed because they don't realize that's what they are.
Having no self-awareness or insight into what their problem/s really are, they think their insomnia is somehow linked to a rough patch they are going through but will eventually come out of, confident in their ability and self-resilience to get through it. So they start drinking enough alcohol to get them off to sleep every night but as time goes by, the inevitable happens and they soon discover that more and more drinks are needed to achieve the one thing they crave more than anything else - a decent night's sleep.
The anguish of lying awake all night, waiting for dawn to break through the window and knowing you have to be at work in a few hours is an experience very hard to explain to someone who drops off the moment their head hits the pillow. What's wrong with you, they wonder? If only we knew.
July 26 is Stress Down Day and Lifeline is urging workplaces to register their events encouraging people to take stock of what might be causing the stress at www.stressdown.org.au. Lifeline: 13 11 14