Saturday, 18 June 2011

Wear that frown upside down

Today's post isn't my usual sort of post its something more serious, more personal, I want to talk about mental health with the focus of that being on depression, 1 in 4 people in the UK alone will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, mixed anxiety and depression being the most common and lucky us, women are more likely to suffer but also more likely to seek treatment than men, perhaps this is no surprise then that British men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide than women.

I talk about this today because I have suffered from depression at times in my life and today I'm having a bad day. I'm guessing that most of you at some point have said "I'm feeling a bit depressed" without actually knowing what real depression feels like, that being said we do all have sad days and no one should judge or tell you that you should just get on with it because everyone feels differently and no-one can actually truly feel how you are feeling know matter how empathetic they may be.

My depression started after the death of my daughter , it's what they used to call Reactive depression, Its now been given different classifications and the diagnosis and treatment for depression has changed but I know why mine started it was as reaction to grieve and loss so I'm happy to talk about it as reactive. My depression also shows itself in the form of anxiety I worry about everything but when I'm feeling low these small worries become big and all I think about is worse case scenarios , I've jokingly talked about these before about how my mind works but the reality is I joke as a defence mechanism at times, I smile and laugh as a way of protecting myself mainly from sympathy because for people feeling sorry for me is the worst!

I'm known as the one who is always smiling, always happy, the strong one etc, etc and for the most part I am happy I love my children, I have good friends but even with all this there are just times when I want to run away for a while and be alone but I never act on that , I breathe deeply, meditate on how and why I'm feeling this way and sometimes have a damn good cry, it all helps.

5 years ago I decided to train to become a counsellor, I wanted to facilitate other peoples therapeutic journeys to be able to accompany them on their road to understanding and dealing with what was going on for them in hope of better mental health and on my journey to becoming a counsellor I actually learnt so much about myself , about how I deal with situations and people, I'm not saying that becoming a counsellor is the way for everyone to deal with their depression far from it you need to be in a positive place, not undergoing any stress or difficulty when you begin your training otherwise you would never cope with it as it very in depth in terms of looking at yourself and your experiences but the process helped me understand myself and enabled me to stop and think about what's going on for me and explore why I feel a certain way, so on days like today when I'm feeling low and a little bit lost I can stop breathe and objectively ask myself, "ok what's going on here?" instead of blaming everything else (I used to do that) and try and deal with it and find a way forward.

Really I wrote this post not just as a form of self therapy , though it does help to express how you feel! but to try and break down the taboo that depression still is, as a society in general we in the UK are embarrassed about depression we view it as a sign of weakness, we wonder what people will think of us so we try to pretend its not happening.

So what I'm saying to you is don't feel embarrased or ashamed , talk to someone it doesn't have to be your G.P it can be a good friend you trust, someone at your church anyone you trust to listen. Schools and colleges all have counsellors and more and more work places are realising the importance of mental health and have a counsellor you can contact and anything you say to a counsellor is confidential but if you are feeling really low and its affecting your everyday life I would suggest you see you doctor or find a good therapist one that you feel comfortable withand worse case scenario you are feeling suicidal then ring Samaritans or go in to your local A&E.

Please don't suffer in silence , It really is good to talk.

Samaritans In the UK dial 08457 90 90 90
or email :

you can even write freepost to

P.O. Box 90 90

Sometimes we find it easier to express how we feel in writing and everything you say is in confidence.

And if you'd like to find a counsellor or phsychotherapist a good place to start is

Here you can learn more about counselling and therapy and find a list of  BACP accredited therapists

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