Mental health problems – specifically, three crippling episodes of depression – have had a huge influence on my story, and in making me who I am today.
I experienced my first bout of depression in 2006, when I was 32, and it is something I wouldn’t wish on anybody. Two subsequent episodes were every bit as painful.
But while I would never want to experience it again, I would not remove depression from my backstory. It has taught me so much about who I am, and how strong I am, and gave me a far greater appreciation of the depth of our human experience.
It also taught me this – if I can completely lose my identity and sense of self, become someone I don’t even recognise and sink to lows that I could never have imagined, then there has to be a flipside to that – I can soar higher and achieve more than I ever thought possible.
I share my experiences to help people to understand the nature of this vicious illness, and also to offer some comfort, hope and inspiration to those that struggle.
IMPORTANT NOTE: everyone’s experience of depression – and other mental health problems – is unique, and recovery is a personal journey where we need to find what works for us. The content here reflects my own personal lived experience, and is not a substitute for professional treatment and support. If you are struggling I would always encourage speaking to your GP and seeking professional help. At the bottom of this page you will find a selection of helpful links.
Mind provides help and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and their website provides useful information and resources. Click here.
Local Minds provide local support, projects, and services. Find your local Mind here.
Every Mind Matters is an NHS website containing lots of useful advice and resources for managing mental health. Click here.
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is leading a movement against suicide. They offer a free confidential helpline and also support those bereaved by suicide. Click here.
Young Minds is the leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health and their site contains useful resources. Click here.
Time to Change was a campaign to end mental health discrimination using the power of people’s personal stories. Sadly Time to Change closed on 31st March 2021 but their resources and stories are still available. Click here.
SANE believe that no-one affected by mental illness should face crisis, distress or despair completely alone. Click here.
Shout 85258 is a free text messaging service which provides 24/7 support for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Click here.
Kooth is an online mental health and wellbeing community for children, young people and adults. Click here.
Samaritans are there on 116 123, day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Click here.
BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK; their website allows you to find qualified and registered counsellors and therapists in your area. Click here.