FOR nine months, retiree Jan Cole felt trapped behind a wall of depression, paranoia and anxiety.
After receiving three weeks of treatment in the mental health ward of Maryborough hospital, Jan feels ready to move on with her life, and wants to help others living with mental illnesses.
The 66-year-old Takura woman had always been full of energy, but after retiring from her job at the Craignish Country Club two years ago, Jan's mental state started to decline.
"At first I was fine, I had a lot to keep me busy," Jan told the Chronicle.
"But I woke up one morning almost a year ago now and was in a deep, dark hole."
Jan found herself unable to walk past her front gate, unable to answer her phone and unable to take care of herself.
After a concerned phone call from a friend and neighbour to her brother in September, a social worker from Queensland Health visited Jan and recommended she went to hospital.
"I really didn't want to go at first, because you think you're going to be locked in a padded cell," she said.
While in hospital, Jan was given medication and counselling to overcome her illness and was discharged on October 19 from the ward.
"I cannot thank the nurses enough," she said.
"The first night I was there a nurse stayed with me and held my hand the whole night because I was so scared."
In the past year, there have been 324 admissions into the 14-bed ward that helped Jan.
When asked what she would say to someone who was suffering from depression and anxiety, she said "please, please, please get help."
"Don't be scared like I was because going to hospital was the best decision of my life."
Call Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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