At the age of 21, while at university, Hannah experienced substantial study-related stress. Her depressive symptoms began to impact her motivation, academic ability, and social life.
“I wasn’t working as hard as I used to. I wasn’t getting the same results. I just didn’t want to do any work at all while I was at uni.
“It affected me socially. I was barely seeing my friends and family. It just felt like nothing,” said Hannah.
“I would go through the everyday motions, like going to work and going home, but I would feel nothing.”
After feeling like this for two months, Hannah finally came to the realisation that this was not a temporary period of stress-related blues.
“When I figured out that it wasn’t going away, I went to my GP.
“It actually took a couple of months after first seeing my GP, to be diagnosed with depression. I was also experiencing anxiety, so at the time, they didn’t recognise I also had depression too,” Hannah said.
Hannah began managing her depression with anti-depressants prescribed by her GP, but soon realised further help was necessary.
“The anti-depressants weren’t working by themselves. My GP then referred me to a psychologist.
“The psychologist has proven really helpful. We’ve gone through a lot of breathing exercises and I was introduced to a mindfulness app called Smiling Mind, that helps to bring me back to reality,” said Hannah.
Hannah is participating in the Australian Genetics of Depression Study, a groundbreaking international collaboration exploring the genetic risk factors associated with depression, and how genes influence one’s response to treatment.
Although Hannah is not aware of any familial links of her own, she is eager to contribute to a future where depression-prone individuals are conscious of their risk.
“It’s definitely an important study. To be able to have just a bit of warning that you’re prone to something like depression, would be helpful,” Hannah said.
To join Hannah in the Australian Genetics of Depression Study, head here: https://www.geneticsofdepression.org.au
**Name has been changed to protect the individual’s identity.