Mental health addressed

Mark Pacitti, who visited Tatura last year with Jeff Kennett for the opening of Tatura Men’s Shed, has agreed to return and speak on the subject of ‘anxiety and depression’.

February 26, 2014 4:55am

Mark Pacitti will talk in Tatura next week.

Tatura Men’s Shed honorary secretary Rob Knight said the talk, titled Dancing With The Black Dog, will be presented at a community evening at the Ballantyne Centre on Tuesday, March 4 at 7.30 pm.

‘‘Entry is by voluntary gold coin donation and a light supper will be served,’’ he said.

Mr Knight said community service groups, as well as eTatura Football Netball Club, had got behind the initiative, because it was felt there was a great need to talk about anxiety and depression given the prevailing climate of uncertainty across the community.

Mr Pacitti is an expatriate Scot of Italian descent, who was born in Glasgow and has been living in Melbourne since 1998.

He has been happily married to his wife Tessa since 2002, and they have two young sons Jack, 7, and Freddie, 4.

Mr Pacitti has been writing in his spare time for more than 15 years. Prior to starting Dancing With The Black Dog, he had more than 50 articles on a wide range of topics published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including The Age (Melbourne), The Herald Sun (Melbourne), The Sydney Morning Herald, MIS Magazine, Marketing Magazine and Living Now magazine.

He writes using light-hearted everyday language to convey often hard to understand or misunderstood topics in such a way that anyone can understand and enjoy — naturally this means he has to try to understand the topic himself in the first place.

But all jokes aside, there was also a dark side, an inner demon.

In July 2010, after years of being an obsessive irrational worrier, years of suffering ever-increasing levels of anxiety and depression, Mr Pacitti hit rock bottom.

His worries became more and more irrational, lasting longer and longer, and he found himself going around in a near permanent state of fear and despair with a permanent knot in his stomach.

Finding himself literally teetering nervously on the edge of a breakdown and feeling utterly useless, he decided enough was enough.

Spurred on by thoughts of his young family, he picked himself up and took action. He sought professional help and made a slow but full recovery over a period of several months.

Once fully recovered, Mr Pacitti realised he had been putting on a convincingly cheery face to the world for many years, and reasoned that there must be many others in the world suffering in silence.

So in 2011 he began writing an open and honest account of his experiences, which he called Dancing With The Black Dog.

Through sharing his experiences, Mr Pacitti aims to encourage other sufferers of mental illness to take action against their own inner demons.

Furthermore, he aims to eradicate the stigma of mental illness, as well as showing how it is possible to live a life far more enjoyable, far more normal than even he ever once thought was possible — a life free of the grip of the black dogs of anxiety and depression.

In using the same light-hearted everyday language as with his previous writing work, he also aims to help non-sufferers of mental illness understand what it is like to suffer.

So whether you have danced with the black dogs of anxiety and depression, or you know someone who dances with them and struggle yourself to understand and therefore sympathise, Dancing With The Black Dog may be just the read for you.

Mr Knight said people wishing to learn more about anxiety and depression, ‘‘straight from the horse’s mouth’’, should not miss this opportunity.

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