Early intervention vital to beating depression – Kate
24 Jul 10 @ 05:35pm by work experience student Samantha Bowers
Kaet Bush is encouraging people to join Team MJP and raise money for the Black Dog Institute.
THREE months into her relationship with Michael-Julian Plumley, Mosman resident Kate Bush knew something was wrong.
At her suggestion, Mr Plumley saw a doctor, who referred him to a psychiatrist. He was told he had severe depression, which had gone undiagnosed for 20 years.
In January, after 18 months of treatment, Mr Plumley took his own life. Now Ms Bush is training for a 9km charity run to stop others from doing the same.
“After Michael’s suicide, people didn’t know what to say to me,” Ms Bush said.
“This can’t be a negative. I’ve got to turn it round into a positive thing.”
The run is a special challenge for the 28-year-old, who has just come through a 16-year battle with chronic fatigue.
“It’s having (Michael’s) inspiration behind it that just pushes me,” she said.
Although she said Mr Plumley’s depression affected their two-year relationship at times, Ms Bush said she never felt tempted to walk away.
“I was very much in love with him and we did have great times and we were really happy,” she said.
“But then there were all these horrible times and I just think, ‘the poor guy’.”
Ms Bush stood by Mr Plumley’s side as the doctors exhausted their list of antidepressants, without success.
The 38-year-old Riverview teacher killed himself just before he was due to begin electroconvulsive therapy – an old-fashioned, last resort treatment, which Ms Bush said had a high rate of success.
“We think Michael couldn’t face it – or couldn’t face it not working,” she said.
Ms Bush said, in hindsight, given how long he had gone without treatment, her partner’s life was unlikely to have ended any other way.
“It was probably too late for him,” she said.
“I think Michael needed to be asked much earlier on if he was OK and he never got asked the question.
“I just think it’s so sad that it ended that way when there was help out there.”
Team MJP will run in the Sydney Running Festival on September 19. To donate or join the team, visit gofundraise.com.au/MJP.
Ms Bush encouraged people to join the team, particularly current or former Riverview boys “who knew and loved MJP”.
All funds will go to the Black Dog Institute.
Do you need help? These organisations can help someone struggling with depression:
Lifeline 131 114;
SANE Helpline 1800 187 263;
beyongblue info line 1300 224 636;
Black Dog Institute website at www.blackdoginstitute.org.au