Walking through the green door - by Tabatha Tyne
It’s a strange feeling walking through the doors of headspace Maitland. “Strange” may not be a totally appropriate word, but it’s the best I can come up with to represent how I feel walking into headspace today, versus my very first time.
When I first walked through the doors of headspace Maitland, I was filled to the brim with uncomfortable and overbearing emotions. I was stubborn and didn’t think I needed help; I was scared and didn’t want help; but I was overwhelmed and secretly knew something needed to change. Anxiety, stubbornness and a lack of understanding about mental health in general kept me from seeking help on my own, but a loving force pulled me through the door and forced me to face my fears and apprehension head on, in the form of headspace. On October 31st 2011, aged 15, I took the afternoon off school to go to headspace.
When I took my first steps into headspace, I was confused. It was NOT how I pictured it at all. There were lounges everywhere, art on the walls, and the whole place was filled with colour. I was greeted by lovely administration staff who were helpful, friendly and professional; after a brief chat, they set me up with a referral and paperwork and I was directed to take a seat wherever I liked. Again, I was so confused. My mind was filled with preconceived ideas about what this place would be like, fueled by the stigma that surrounded mental health and accessing services. Looking back, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Over time, I became more comfortable with the idea of headspace, mental health, and getting help. My own fears and stubbornness subsided as I returned to headspace time after time, accepting the support I needed and becoming more at ease with each visit. My original attitude towards headspace Maitland could not be further from what it is now.
Today, in 2016 at aged 20, I walk confidently through those doors without a second thought. I know that I will be greeted with the familiar warm and comforting atmosphere that I’ve grown to love. I know that I will be greeted by the smiling faces of headspace Maitland staff, who work tirelessly to ensure a safe and happy environment for young people. I know that even when I’m struggling, I will still leave headspace with a sense of optimism. I know that even when things get tough, someone’s got my back.
What’s strange about it, however, is this; when first visiting headspace Maitland, I never would have thought I’d enjoy and appreciate the place so much. I never thought I would have such a drastically different outlook on all things mental health, wellbeing and accessing services. I never thought I would be writing about how much things have changed, all due to walking through the green door (which wasn’t actually green when I first came here). What’s strange is how today, I can’t imagine how I ever felt so nervous about coming here.
If you’ve taken that first step through the green door (or, through any supportive door for that matter) you should feel proud. It’s not an easy task, and for many people it’s takes a huge amount of effort, courage and bravery. If you’re considering walking through the doors, give headspace Maitland a call on 49311000 and they’ll help you every step of the way.
*This article was written by Youth Reference Group member Tabatha Tyne.
Image credit: Tabatha Tyne