As next week is Depression Awareness week (18-24th April) I thought would use this post to talk about my own experiences, to help with the campaign in reducing the stigma.
Depression and other mental health problems like anxiety are more common than some realise, with at least 1 in 10 being affected at some point. Unfortunately nearly nine out of ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result, which can be worse than experiencing the actual symptoms. Time to Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination, which has been growing hugely since starting up in 2007.
Since around 18/19, so all of my adult life and possibly before I have experienced anxiety. I remember being on a train and after leaving a station on route suddenly feeling an intense feeling of having to get off. It took me a few hours of walking around thinking to get myself back on that day, but I’m glad I did. I also have experienced fear, anxiety and dizziness at times to do with heights and large open spaces where I feel exposed. I have been on medication on and off since back then (around 2004), and had some counselling which has helped, but I feel still have some things that need to change.
From the anxiety I have also experienced mild depression. I think this has been due to spending days stuck in the house and feelings of inadequacy in regard to employment. I constantly compare myself to others, and get into a cycle of feeling like I am not worth as much as others, as haven’t “made it yet”. Application forms and interviews I do dread at times with the feeling I won’t be good enough so what is the point? I know I have made mistakes in a couple of jobs I didn’t enjoy and have feelings of guilt about letting myself and others down. I also know have at times procrastinated not knowing which way to go next. Although I know I am lucky relatively living in a house, get the food I need, have a loving partner, and some great family and friends, and get to visit places I enjoy going to. I need to remember my positives of gaining my degree and the community groups I have been involved with locally.
More information about depression, self-help techniques, and local and national organisations which offer information or support, can be found at Warrington’s Mental Health Awareness site: www.happyoksad.org.uk
The charity Depression Alliance has set up Depression Awareness Week and more information can be found at: