"I'm just so tired." The day the drought became "all too much" for farmer Lucy Gallagher.

Last month, things became “all too much” for Lucy Gallagher. The farmer and registered nurse found herself dialling a mental health crisis service, sobbing to the stranger on the other end.

Her breakdown came from little things; the washing, a shower. But beneath it was something far bigger.

The drought.

It’s a crisis that’s currently gripping 97 per cent of NSW, along with large swathes of Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

In a Facebook post that’s reached thousands, the mother of two, who lives on a property near the rural NSW town of Tamworth, described what unfolded that September day.

Video via Channel 10

The morning had been spent adapting to scuppered plans. There were phone calls, paperwork, washing, a fence to be fixed, troughs to be cleaned. The afternoon was for feeding and watering the animals — chickens, lambs, horses and calves — with fast-dwindling supplies.

“While [I] was thinking, how the hell are we going to keep going, the dust blew in from the West, and half the washing [I]’d done flew off the clothesline and landed on the ground where there used to be grass but now there’s just dirt,” Lucy wrote.

“I was tired. After everyone else had their bath or shower, it was my turn. And being tired with a head full of dust, I felt like taking a shower.

“That’s when we ran out of water.

“I hugged the towel around me and I cried myself to sleep.”

Listen: Lucy shares the reality of raising a family amidst the drought on our parenting podcast This Glorious Mess.


The next day, with animals still pleading to be fed, dust still swirling around her, Lucy walked inside, picked up the phone and, before she could talk herself out of it, she dialled 1300 22 46 36. Beyond Blue.

“What’s the reason for your call?”

“I’m tired. I’m just so tired.”

For 30 minutes the call-taker listened, and Lucy’s burden lifted.

It’s that feeling that prompted Lucy to write the post in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month.

She noted that though she has close friends and a caring husband who are there for her whenever she needs them, “everyone is busy and everyone is stressed”; more so than ever before.

“So this day, I chose to look after myself first, so I could keep looking after everyone else, and I can honestly tell you, it helped,” she wrote.

“I don’t feel shame for struggling, for crying, for reaching out – and nor should you. These are the things that make us human.

“Look after yourself, first and foremost. You owe yourself the time and love that you willingly and freely give to others. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you can’t feed from an empty bucket.”

Lucy’s post has touched thousands of people in the bush and far-away cities.

Dozens left comments beneath applauding her decision to make the call that day and to write so openly about it.

“I’m crying reading your story,” one follower wrote. “We in the cities have no idea what a struggle you farmers and country towns struggle from day to day, we know things are bad but could we do what you do? I doubt it.

“Be proud you called for help, things will get better eventually and a wonderful woman like you and many others will be there to see it.”

Many people asked Lucy how they could assist her. She pointed to a fundraiser to help build a hall for her Halls Creek community. You can donate via GoFundMe.

If you are struggling and need someone to talk to, mental health support is available 24 hours a day via Beyond Blue (1300 22 46 36) and Lifeline (13 11 14). You are not alone.