Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2018 Finalists

What Matters 2018 Finalists

2018 What Matters? TAS Year 11/12 Winner


My Mind - What Matters to Me


Launceston Big Picture School


Depression, Anxiety and Addiction;

I knew of my depression when I was twelve but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was almost sixteen. I’ve tried to deal with my issues and demons on my own, but being left untreated for so long has left me agitated and aggravated with everything and everyone. I decided to ‘self-medicate’ when I was almost thirteen by smoking marijuana almost daily which morphed into regular drinking at fourteen. I was addicted to cigarettes by the time I was fourteen. My parents suspected my ‘hobbies’ but never brought it up with me or spoke about it.

I suppose when you deal with yourself in these way you only achieve to make yourself feel worse. In the moment, you feel like it’s making you feel better, but then you start to sober up and the come down makes it twice as bad.

My anxiety made me very self-conscious. I was about fifty kilo’s when I was fourteen. I refused to eat. I barely slept. Showering seemed like too much effort. I couldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup and hair done to perfection. I would feel like I physically couldn’t move, like I was frozen in place, whenever I had an anxiety attack.

Then the suicidal thoughts came back. I tried to hang myself with a bike chain when I was eleven but my best friend, Rahnii, saved my life. I was fine for a long time and then one day it happened again. I remember the thought vividly because it just came out of nowhere and sobered me up. I was at a friend’s house and I was really stoned, I was ‘resting my eyes’ while on her couch when a voice spoke up in my mind. ‘Would I feel anything if I put a gun to my temple and pulled the trigger?’

It’s not always, I want to die. I hate myself. It can be questions like that. They make you think. They make you believe that suicide is the only way out. After that the voice kept speaking up at some of the most inconvenient of times. Who would miss me, right?

My self-view was so low I didn’t see my life of any importance. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I couldn’t keep doing the same things every day. I was driving myself insane. One day I took fifteen of my antidepressants while I tried to quit smoking, the withdrawals making my mindset worse. The guilt of the thought of my mother finding my lifeless body made me throw them up.

If I sleep in I wonder how long it would take my Mum to come in and see if I’m still breathing.

I’ve grown up thinking I won’t live past sixteen. That I would probably kill myself before then. I didn’t have plans for the future because I didn’t see a future for myself. I mean, I’d lost so much I didn’t think I could take anymore.

Cheyenne, 10 years old, Leukaemia. Nan, 50’s, cancer. Britney, 16 years old, hit by a car. Jake, 18 years old, skate park accident. Jazz, 16 years old, suicide. Andrew, 40’s, suicide. Uncle Angus, 40’s, health problems. Dusty, 15 years old, car accident.

Now my Pop’s has terminal cancer.

I’m now medicated by a qualified doctor. I was seeing a psychologist. I choose to distract myself with school work so I don’t think about my problems. I guess the things that matter to me are the things that keep me alive.

My family. My nephews.

Hunter and Bentley.

I was born healthy. I was good at school. I was in a middle class family. I threw a lot of opportunities away to get high and drunk. I see the repercussions of that now.

Bentley, born on the 14th of July, 2014 is what matters to me the most. He was born with Tuberous Sclerosis which slowed his development and caused seizures. He had a brain surgery to remove several tumours before Christmas in 2017 and it changed his life. I see him, now seizure free, and I get strength to go on from him.

I still struggle with cigarettes but I refuse to drink now and I went three months without pot for the first time in nearly five years.

Being a good role model for my younger siblings, a good aunty for my nephews, a good daughter for my parents, a good student for my own sake. That’s what matters to me.

Getting my life together to make something of myself, to succeed the goals I’ve set for myself, that’s what matters to me.

2018 What Matters?Jenna Beck