Nothing Was Ever The Same After
Most of us experience even the mildest form of depression at some stage of our lives, its just for some it can become a snowball effect that kind whacks us like a steam train before we notice. I believe the sudden death of my ex-partner’s mother in 2012, was my trigger point. We were close, but I was so focused on my partner’s grief, and how I struggled to cope with that, I didn’t give myself time to grieve. I also changed jobs in the same year, so I guess the upheaval contributed too. I am guessing here; I just believe nothing was ever the same after.
After that I had several different jobs, but I walked out on them when the going got tough. I did quite frequently question whether I was depressed but used to say get a grip. As usual, I buried it instead of facing it. I was living in London at the time, and London is not a city to be changing jobs regularly in or to be unemployed. To add further pressure, I ran up a lot of debt very quickly, I was basically drowning.
It was July 2016 when I had a massive breakdown. As I had done so often, I thought the best solution was burying my head, or in this case running away. I left my partner without saying anything, took money from her bank account and thought I’ll leave London, get a live-in pub job and I’d pay back my ex. As I type that now I think it sounds daft, but I was very unwell.
I Needed Help
Long story short, I had moment of clarity, where after wandering aimlessly around London for hours, I went to my sisters in east London and got a flight back to Ireland a few days later. I needed help, I had to stop kidding myself. It was the intervening support of my family in the UK but here in Ireland that afforded me the opportunity to seek help. I attended sessions with a psychologist and went to a weekly peer support group.
Recovery for me was more than just seeking support. The assistance from my psychologist, my peer support group and the unwavering support from my family was a key part in my recovery but what was probably the most vital component was my own actions in trying to help myself. There is a great video online about facing the black dog (aka depression) and that’s exactly what I had to do, to face down my big black dog and stop it barking.
It’s easy to get into a cycle of sort of “why me” but you have to help yourself. I knew I was good at helping people and starting as an email support worker with Aware gave me the platform to do that. I went back to full time education completing a social care certificate course. While the pandemic has been challenging, I have managed to get a job working with a housing charity and I get to help people every day.
It is Scary at First
Depression isn’t easy, any mental illness isn’t but it does not have to prevent you from approaching life to the best of your ability. It is scary at first, especially if you do not know what is happening but rest assured there are many out there that have experienced similar feelings, but it is important to realise that there are supports out there. I am reminded of a tag line from a telephone company advert with legendary actor Bob Hoskins in which he said, “It’s good to talk” and honestly, It’s the best place to start
– Shane Reid
This post “I needed help, I had to stop kidding myself” is part of the Aware Mental Health Week (4-10 October 2021) campaign which is focused on causes, course and consequences of depression.
“With this campaign, we want to give people who are impacted by depression a voice. By sharing their inspiring stories, our goal is to provide hope, help people to feel less alone in their experience and most importantly empower anyone affected by depression to reach out for support.”
Dr Claire Hayes