Authors: Story by Jacinta RyanIn Sunday Life! The Sunday Age Magazine
Event: 2001 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Winner
Award category: Print
Abstract: “Losing It” was published as the front-cover article for the October 8, 2000 edition of Sunday Life.
Jacinta Ryan is a registered psychologist who works in an Anxiety Day Treatment Team in Melbourne. She previously worked for more than 16 years as a print journalist.
Some quotes from her description of the story:
“My aim was to provide accurate information about anxiety and normalise the experience so that readers would be less inclined to pathologies, and thus diminish, people with anxiety.”
“To avoid ethical conflict, I did not interview any people whom I had worked with as a psychologist.”
. This is how she described the inspiration for her story:
“ The seed for this story germinated last year when I facilitated two Social Anxiety Programs and a Panic Program within six weeks. In one group, were four well-groomed, intelligent, high-achieving women who began to describe severe depression, profound fear that they were frauds and elaborate routines at home and work to avoid their insecurity being exposed. Many times, when I met with the group I had to remind myself that these women were highly distressed and that I should not be seduced by their outward competence, so highly tuned over years of successfully masking their anxiety. In another group, some of the men spoke about their deep shame at having psychological difficulties, how they had to hide it from colleagues for fear their lives would be ruined and how they had retreated from friends and family because they could not find the words to share their experiences. For some, this extended to not telling family members that they were attending a treatment program.
“………..participants were often not aware they had a relatively common difficulty, that they could be helped to find ways through their problem”
“The perforative term” worried well” is often used to describe people who have access to employment, accommodation and relationships but it betrays the very real suffering, career and relationship devastation and suicidal impulses that they experience. And, it also denies them a forum for talking about anxiety and depression when on some levels it looks like they have ‘got it all together’.”