Member’s Shared Experience

In the Community Magazine One in Four, individuals have written personal accounts of their own experiences of mental health.   Here is an example from the last edition on Depression.

DEPRESSION

A STATE OF BEING IN THE PAST, THE FUTURE, OR IN THE PRESENT

If you are depressed you are living in the past,

If you are anxious, you are living in the future,

If you are peaceful you are living in the present.

Firstly, I need to tell you that I believe I am now over my depression and no longer on any kind of medication.

When did it start? That’s a really hard question to answer. I find it difficult to pinpoint the exact moment in time, but I think it was when my work / career started to go wrong. What do I mean by that? Well, when the income started to dwindle due to the competition undercutting me, I got to a point when I could no longer reduce my prices and make a reasonable profit.

But it was more than that. The pressures of working for yourself, self-employed; having to do everything regarding your business, the finances, the supplier management, dealing with customers, complaints, and so on and so on. Worrying about your family, how you are going to afford things, like the basic essentials.

One of the more prominent and lasting memories I have is that I felt isolated, stuck in an office, albeit in my own home. Even now I dislike the feeling when I am in that place. I used to lose my temper very easily. I would like to point out that I never became violent towards anyone, just angry with myself. I used to do silly things like shout at my computer when it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to.

I went to see the doctor who diagnosed me with non-specific depression and asked me to go on a medication called Sertraline, which is an antidepressant that affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. I stayed on the medication for approximately two years and it certainly helped to calm me down and make me feel more balanced.

What support did I get? I saw a Community Mental Health Nurse for a few sessions. I don’t really think that helped much. My GP was really good and understanding. I joined Brecon Mind and saw a Counsellor through them. I can’t mention names but just to say she really helped me a lot. It was because of her I am writing this piece, so thank you for that. Support from my wife was practically non-existent as she could not empathise with my problem and I frequently received comments like man-up and get a grip.

I kept the problem to myself for a long time but eventually opened up to a friend. He has been very supportive and understanding through the whole process. He lives in the same village as me and also knows my wife.

By Christmas 2014 I was very overweight, I drank a lot of alcohol and in April 2015 my wife told me she wanted a divorce. Initially I was devastated by this news but eventually, when I realized that the relationship was definitely over, I snapped out of it, began to look after myself, drank less and started exercising and going to the gym.  Between April and now I have lost nearly 5 stone (32kg). When you are overweight people tend to ignore you and look through you. Now I feel more confident and people seem to pay more attention to you. I can feel it when I walk down the street.

I know I shouldn’t have but I went cold-turkey on the medication, suffered a few side effects but got through it.

I see people around me going through a lot more pain than I did and I think it helps to step back sometimes and just think there are people in this world a lot worse off than you are. It makes you realize life is good and you should live it now and in the present.                                                                                                                            Anon