My neighbour, Jamie always seems so together. She seems to have it all going on – not only does she manage to earn a living illustrating pulp fantasy-genre book covers, she’s also halfway through a PhD in fine arts. To top it off, she competes in triathlons in her spare time. I’ve never imagined that she could be feeling the pressure, even though it makes total sense now that I think about it.
Not that it’s any of my business, but her gossipy sister told me this morning that Jamie has been receiving psychiatric treatment in Mornington on a regular basis for several years. I’m not sure of the nature of the condition at hand, but apparently it’s a chronic mental illness of some kind and requires medication. I probably could have found out more details if I’d wanted to, given how much the sister seemed to be enjoying reeling off this rather personal information, but I didn’t care to pry.
Of more interest to me is the realisation that successful high achievers can have problems too. It’s really not surprising to me that someone as creatively prolific as Jamie might also be prone to high anxiety or something. Or maybe her thing is entirely unrelated to what she does in life. Who knows?
I remember seeing a psychologist as a kid. It was when my family relocated to Melbourne from Alice Springs, and my folks were concerned about me adjusting to city life. I didn’t especially see the point of it at the time but, in retrospect, I’m glad to have been provided with some solid psychological support. On the Mornington Peninsula, where I now spend most of my time, it’s pretty easy to get access to services of this nature, and I’m aware that that’s not the case everywhere in the world. In fact, I imagine it’s most limited in the places where it’s most needed.
Long story short, Jamie seems to be managing her condition pretty well, and I’m glad she’s got a good mental health care plan going on.