I always encourage everyone and anyone suffering from Depression, Anxiety and any other Mental Illness to seek help.
Depression is one of the struggles that doesn’t go away and just keeps getting worse instead.
I wish I didn’t wait for 12 years to finally seek help (read about my seeking help experiences here) but since I can’t go back and change it – at least I can help others to overcome their Depression.
It does not matter how long you are suffering from it or how bad it is – I can GUARANTEE you that you can overcome and treat ANY Mental Illness with the right treatment. All you have to do is seek help.
But from my very own experience I know that it’s easier said than done when someone tells you to seek help (hence why I waited for so long).
I kept putting it off even though I wanted to get help the whole time. Depression makes you think that it’s a sign of weakness, that no one will understand what is wrong with you and the Stigma around Depression and Mental Illness makes you feel ashamed of it.
What we have to realize is that no one can overcome Depression on their own without help and support. Depression is extremely common – globally, over 350 million people of all ages suffer from Depression!
As I have said before – you don’t have to keep it all to yourself, stay silent and most importantly – you don’t have to suffer.
The help and support are there.
So how do you seek help?
At the very start it is very hard to tell anyone what is going on in your head, especially when you can’t quite understand it yourself. Most of the people don’t tell anyone about their Depression in fear of being judged but the more you talk about it – the easier it gets and finally you begin to notice Depression going away. If you are still afraid to open up to your family and friends – talk online.
Talking to a complete stranger who can’t see your face and doesn’t know anything about you is the easiest way to start opening up more. There are so many Depression and Mental Health Chat Rooms online and Mental Health Helplines that no matter what time of the day – there will always be someone to listen.
I have talked to people online, rang a help line a few times and all it did to me was – help. I felt an incredible relief after talking about what was bugging me at the time (no matter how little or big) it has ALWAYS made me feel better.
Finally, read other people stories online to see how they overcame their own battle and what treatment has worked for others.
Check out some of my favorite Web Sites and Mental Health Helplines:
Mental Health Helplines (in Ireland):
- Call the Samaritans 24 hour emotional support Helpline on 116 123 or email them at email@example.com
- Call Console’s Suicide Prevention 24 hour Free phone Helpline on 1800 247 247
- Call Aware‘s Support Line on 1890 303 302 Monday – Sunday, 10am to 10pm or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call Shine’s information helpline on 1890 621 631 or email them at email@example.com
- Call the Bodywhys helpline on 1890 200 444
- St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services has a Support and Information Service staffed by experienced mental health nurses, which you can contact by phone on 01 2493333 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday – Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm, with an out of hours call back service. There is also a drop-in information centre.
- The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has a national helpline which is available Mon-Fri 10.00-17.00 and Sat 10.00-16.00 by phoning the free and confidential number 1800 341 341
- The Huntington’s Disease Association of Ireland has a freephone helpline for families. Phone 1800 393939
- Inclusion Ireland provides an information and advice service to people with an intellectual disability. Phone 01 8559891
Websites sharing people stories of overcoming Depression and experiences of suffering with Mental Health issues:
and many other, the list is endless!
Family and Friends
The next and the most important step is to tell your family members and your closest friends what is happening to you and how it makes you feel. When overcoming Depression family and friends support is essential. It makes you feel safe, more confident and most importantly – not alone. Your family and friends might lead you the right direction to overcome Depression and even share experiences of their own.
It is also very important to remember that no one will ever judge you or treat you differently because of your Mental Issues.
Depression is no different from Flu or a Stomach Bug and so no one should be ashamed of talking about it.
In some cases, Depression and other Mental Health issues must be treated with medication. Attending your GP and clearly explaining how you feel is a very important strategy for overcoming Depression.
Once you are prescribed medication make sure to watch how it’s effecting you and if it’s making you feel better but not worse (please note that it takes from 7 days to 4 weeks for antidepressants to work – depending on the type and dosage of the medication). Sometimes it takes a long time to find the right medication and in other cases it’s not even needed.
If you feel that medication is not helping in your case or is making your Depression even worse – go back to your GP straight away and ask for different kind of antidepressants or a completely different kind of treatment.
In my case, medication wasn’t helping me, even though I have tried it a few times, the only treatment that has finally helped was counselling.
Talking to someone who has knowledge of Mental Health and is in no way judgmental and extremely supportive is making it so much easier to completely open up and explain what kind of emotions you are dealing with.
During my counselling I have learned more about myself and my Depression and once I clearly understood the roots of it and what was triggering it the whole time – I then managed to overcome it.
Your GP can refer you to the counselling in your area and you can also attend public counselling sessions.
See the list of the public counselling sessions in Ireland: – http://www.counsellingdirectory.ie/
Finally, the most important aspect of overcoming Depression and maintenance of your Mental Health after overcoming Depression is Self Help. Self Help includes doing things that relaxes you and relieves your stress, helping you and others to cope with Depression and making it easier to deal with stress and a day-to-day basis.
Some of my favorite and time-tested methods are:
Reading can not just help you to overcome Depression but it can also relax you and also educate you about Mental Health. See the top books that helped me to overcome my Depression here.
Music has an amazing power to reduce stress and even help you to get through difficulties in your life. Music has been a huge part of my Depression and it even taught me a new language! Read about it here.
Meditation is known from 1500 BCE and has been one of the best stress reliefs at all times. If you are a beginner and have no experience with Meditation like me – try the app called HEADSPACE – I absolutely love it and find it extremely helpful and most importantly, it helps me to find time to meditate even with my crazy busy schedule.
Mindfulness is an amazing stress reducer in our lives and should be remembered daily. I have only come across Mindfulness and Gratitude recently but once I started practicing it more, I soon began to notice a huge improvement in my mood and attitude and how it made me look at life in a positive way.
Here is one of my favorite pictures I came across online and I think all of us should stop for a minute every single day and remind ourselves to stay on the right side.
Finally, do whatever makes you happy such as painting, fishing, baking, working out and etc.
Once I have finished my counselling sessions I realized that writing is helping me to keep my Depression away and it also became one of my hobbies.
The best thing I have done in my life was seeking help. I am finally living a happy and fulfilling life and so can you.
If you ever need an advice or just someone to talk to please feel free to send me a message at any time. I always reply to every single person and I am glad to be there to help.
© 1st picture – Guy Cohen Photography