Any Other day

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied
On a cold winter day E. Manson found asylum.

I haven’t been married nor do I have children, so I won’t nominate those days.  I don’t really want to nominate any one day, as each day has and does continue to hold something, if not a startling revelation. However, the day that most changed my life for the best thus far was sometime in late July 1999.

I was wearing my big old red coat and my stiff navy wool pants. It must have been cold.

I was on my way to pick up a job description from the university. As I passed the hospital building on Great King St I noticed a sign that said Psychiatric Services and I thought maybe those people know something about the group that I had heard of, for people with anxiety and depression. So I walked in.

And they looked at me. They looked at me as if there was something wrong with me. Nobody had ever done this openly before. By then I had stopped being able to eat a whole meal and reality swirled around me like leaves I could not hold on to. I saw a nurse, she referred me to another that I was to come back to see later. I went to get my job description. I came back to the hospital building with the sign.

I saw the second nurse and her student. They interviewed me  about joining this group I had heard of. They gave me food, as I had not eaten and they let me use the phone as I did not have one. They looked after me. They gave me a plan.

I was to go stay with my mother for a week before starting at the group in two weeks’ time. It was a very long two weeks, keeping my head above water in the storm that had raged all around me for years.

On a cold July Monday I walked from my house in King Edward St to the hospital building in Great King St with the sign. I was so unwell the pavement groaned and heaved beneath me. I hungrily read the letters of each passing sign or car, just to hang on to something.  I felt as if I was crawling.

I don’t remember the specifics of the day much. I do remember feeling ashamed, scared, exposed, and painting red circles. I was hurt. But, for the first time in my life I felt like I was where I belonged.

- E. Manson grew up in two decades of domestic violence and now works in customer services.


Your best day

• Tell us about your best day. Send submissions to We ask that you don’t nominate the day you were married or when a child arrived. But any other day is fine.

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