Tag Archives: timetotalk

The Pursuit of Happyness, and helping yourself

This has nothing to do with the film, I just thought it was an appropriate title 🙂 (although, it is one of my favourite films, mostly for this genuinely inspiring bit).

I’m happy. Really happy. Which is a stark contrast to 7 months ago.

At the beginning of this month I also stopped taking anti-depressants (don’t worry, doctor-approved).

Those drugs certainly did help, and I was already feeling up to coming off them before the new year, but what I’ve realised I needed most was to help myself out of it.

For two years I was essentially stuck in a relationship that had the love and trust sucked out of it but I was paralysed with fear that if I left I’d have my son taken away from me.

At first my son was taken from me, justifying my fear. Because I’d spent 20 months in a relationship I didn’t want to be in, I no longer had any emotional strength. I couldn’t cope. I recognised I needed help and got that help.

But since my son and I were allowed the time together that we both deserve, and the court battle guaranteed us that time, I’ve finally been able to build on our relationship, and I’m no longer fearful.

Not only that, but the emotional stress that I was putting myself under by staying in that relationship has completely disappeared, and all my emotional strength (of which there’s quite a lot, I’ve realised) are focused on the kids. I’m constantly thinking about what’s coming up with them – looking forward to our family holidays, teaching the little man to ride a bike, teaching the little lady* to roll over, hold things, crawl, walk and all that good fun.

All of that could have happened so much sooner if I’d have helped myself and left that relationship. I wouldn’t go back and change it if I could, because the way things have worked out is great for various reasons, but it’s a good lesson to learn.

No matter how bad things may seem, there is always another option. That’s very, very, very, very hard to see when you’re in the grips of depression but it’s there and reminding oneself about that constantly (especially when well) is important to help keep depression at bay.

One final caveat: my depression has always been fairly mild. I have never had to struggle with it day after day, as some people (including friends) do. I’ve had it relatively easy, all told, and I’m very thankful of that.

* not sure I like the “little lady” nickname really… still deciding…

It’s always #TimeToTalk

We shouldn’t need an excuse to talk about mental health but why pass up the opportunity. Any time is a good time to talk about mental health.

I’m depressed right now (sort of). I’m on anti-depressants to help me cope with a very difficult situation. This is the first time I’ve had medical help with depression, but not the first time I’ve suffered.

Only now am I receiving treatment because a few months ago I was ready to kill myself, and realised I needed help to survive.

I have an amazing little boy and, at the time, was expecting to be a father again, I have great friends, a great job and a loving family. You might wonder why the hell I could even contemplate suicide in those circumstances. But that’s one of the most misunderstood aspects of depression – it defies logic.

Many times in the last two years I’ve been in the same position and I kept it to myself. I told no-one until recently. Looking back I’m amazed I survived and at the moment, I mostly feel great.

I feel great because I’ve told those around me. I’ve been completely open with family and friends, including telling them about my past depression. As a result I’ve had an outpouring of selfless support and help.

Without that support and help I’m not sure I would be coping as well as I am now.

I am better because I talked about it.

It’s always a good time to talk.

Update: I wanted to share this post from James Smith that highlights really well some of the effects of depression. You may well have experienced some but without thinking of it as depression. But as James says, it’s a bug in the system, not you failing.