MindClinix cannot offer emergency medical services for urgent or crisis situations or for patients who are acutely ill. If you need urgent assistance, please follow our advice here.

R

Approved by Dr Adil Jawad MBBS, DPM, FRCPsych — Clinical Lead for MindClinix

3 Inspiring stories about struggling with depression

As we emerge from the pandemic, many of us are battling depression, some of us are trying to help friends and family, yet few of us are sure how to help. 

The answer lies with those who have experienced depression, and have talked about it.

Here are three stories of people who were brave enough to openly talk about their experiences. 

Their stories may help some of us.

 

Amy’s Story

Depression the monster

Depression is a monster, Amy discovered, that devours you from inside.

Negative thoughts which appear like ‘voices’ in your head, tell you that you are a burden to society, ‘voices’ that speak louder than any of your family who may be urging you to get help, ‘voices’ you try to block out because they play havoc with your sleep. 

Life for Amy became a never-ending cycle of exhaustion, sleep and insomnia, and she didn’t have the energy to fight it.

Flight not fight is just easier

“Why bother asking for help?” Amy told herself. “Everyone’s saying cheer up. Your anxiety levels are at a fever pitch, and your motivation is at ground zero.”

She wanted to tell the world but, instead she retreated into the secure confines of her bedroom and shut the door.

Depression & the battle within you

In 2013, something positive happened. Gradually, Amy turned her rollercoaster life from one of endless negativity to one with a hopeful future. The medication helped but the real change came from within. 

Amy stopped being relentlessly hard on herself. Slowly she re-discovered that the key to life is knowing how to be happy. University, which had previously been unthinkable, followed in 2014 – and suddenly, a business career in football seemed possible.

Is Amy cured? She admits that she is not, but her depression is under control. She has some advice for those struggling with depression.

“Stop feeling guilty. You are ill, and it’s very treatable, but don’t struggle in silence. Accept the help that is out there”.

This is sound advice that fellow student, Harry, would recognise.

 

Harry’s Story

Just talking about his depression makes Harry shiver all over and ask the question “fight or flight”.

However, Harry doesn’t fly because he’s acutely aware of his depression. He knows what he’s dealing with and has learned how to manage it.

Harry’s journey started early in life and has been long and painful.

Depression, a daily battle 

At school, Harry realised something was wrong and saw his GP, who diagnosed depression. 

“I can handle it,” he told himself,  and self-managed his depression. Then suddenly, at university, Harry found this DIY approach wasn’t working.

Every day was a battle in self-motivation, to get out of bed, and to eat and be social. It was a  never-ending treadmill that seemed impossible to break.

The breakthrough moment came when Harry realised he was experiencing more than acute boredom and tiredness, and being introverted couldn’t explain away missed lectures, parties, and life.

He finally admitted something to himself.

“You are suffering from depression” 

This admission and the recognition that Harry needed help were even more significant. He withdrew from his studies, realising that this was a sign of strength, not shame.

Harry then sought treatment, referring himself to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). He started to understand his behaviour and how to change it. 

Slowly but surely, a positive re-set in Harry’s brain replaced the self-pity that had dominated before.

Depression, routines & fulfilment

He developed routines that continued to improve his mental health, to the point where getting a job was no longer a terrifying prospect. 

Is he ‘cured’ of his depression? No. He admits that his depression will shadow him for the rest of his life, but he is now considered ‘low risk’,  and is passionate about helping others avoid what he went through.

Harry’s advice for those struggling with depression is very clear. “Share your battles. Don’t struggle alone.”

Mandy Stevens would probably agree. 

Mandy’s Story

You spend your working life in mental health helping others struggling with depression but you don’t expect it to happen to you.

As Mandy Stevens discovered, depression can happen to anyone. It’s not always sudden, but can stealthily creep up on you, striking without warning.

When you are the Director of Health at a busy London Hospital, and one morning in your office, you break down and cry, you know something is very wrong.

Depression hiding in plain sight

Looking back, Mandy realised a lot of the symptoms were hiding in plain sight: being a harsh self-critic; no longer finding joy in things you love; procrastinating and feeling perpetually tired.

She recalls that her speed of decline was rapid and complete. In just ten days she went from being a fully functioning professional to someone who needed to be referred to her local response team, and then almost immediately to the hospital, for her own self-protection.

Mandy suddenly found herself in that dark pit of despair that many who suffer from depression experience. Thoughts of the ultimate step, suicide, became very real and a constant companion.

Inner knowledge 

Gradually, Mandy’s professional, rational mind started to push back. 

She reminded herself that she was a healthcare professional with years of clinical experience,  a valuable human being with lots to offer, not a person who was a burden to society. 

This inner knowledge, together with compassionate, expert care from the NHS, turned her life around. Taking a day at a time, she slowly pulled back from thoughts of suicide and began a journey of recovery with which she had helped so many others.

Recovering from depression

This journey looked at the complete human being, from medication and mindfulness to getting fit and being socially active again. All those recovering from depression know that this isn’t easy, and there will always be challenges.

However, you can win. Ten months after being admitted to hospital for depression, Mandy was back working full time, and she believes that this is possible for everyone.

She says we all need to talk about depression and help break down the stigma that persists on this subject. You may think no one wants to hear or discuss, but you’d be wrong, as Mandy discovered. All she met was kindness and love. 

Most of us, she realised, just need a gentle nudge.

 

Last Word

These three stories are all individual yet share joint suffering. All overcame their depression and their message, in the words of Harry, is simple.

 “Share your battles. Don’t struggle alone.

 

All content within the MindClinix website is provided for general information purposes only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. MindClinix.co.uk is an independent website and a source of information.  If you wish to contact individual services for support, please contact them directly. MindClinix is not responsible for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Any links to external websites have been carefully selected, however, MindClinix is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advertised on these linked sites. Listing shall not be taken as endorsement of any kind. The site is hosted by HLP-U Ltd, an independent company affiliated to Psychiatry UK LLP and the views and opinions on the site reflect the ethos of this organisation and are expressed with the aim of improving wellbeing. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health. You should always promptly consult a doctor for all matters relating to physical or mental health, particularly concerning any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.