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Sandra said she couldn’t take away her sons' pain. However, she could help him with products that may ease his and other people's anxiety, and at the same time, raise money to donate to professional services that are incredibly underfunded or near impossible to access due to demand. She believes that raising funds for professional support and joining the fight for social awareness will add to the compounding effect on de-stigmatising mental health perceptions.
Sandra understands stigma; several friends, family members, daughter and son, all suffer to varying degrees. Her life-long battle with depression, crippling anxiety, and ADHD gives her direct insight into what her son, daughter, and other sufferers are going through. At times she remembered feeling as tho she would never regain her true self or purpose and that she was weak and of no use, but this is far from her reality now. She said, “I was unwell, not broken; it was just like any other illness a person might experience, it does not discriminate, and it is real!” The support from family, friends, and great specialists allowed her to rebuild her life in a new way. She says it is not the same, but it is definitely enriched with experience.
blackdog nz wants to help people understand that mental illness is not a choice. A sufferer does not wake up one day and decide to be unwell. They do not want to feel so low that life is not worth living, or to be unable to hold down a job, care for themselves or loved ones, or think that there is no future or place for them in this world. Nobody would choose to live with physical and cognitive pain so debilitating that life is a constant flow of misery. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health morbidities are real; they are not a lifestyle choice!