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The Beginning

It’s very hard to tell when your depression starts.  Is it even possible to know the exact day/month/year?

In my case, I’ve only realized now when this awful weight started growing on my chest.

I was around 13-14 years old and everyone was mistaking my depression for puberty.

I was confused, frustrated and worst of all – I was alone.

It was just right after my mother divorced my step father and we started living alone just myself, my mother and my then 4 years old brother.

Divorce is a hugely stressful life event not just for adults but kids too.

In my case, my mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, working as a sex worker and I was left on my own to look after my brother for most of the time (sometimes my mother would be gone for days).

Because of my mothers mental issues, we had no contact with any family members so I had no one to turn to.

I couldn’t understand what was wrong with my mother at the time – I only started to do research about her mental condition around age of 16-17.  Until then I simply went to school and pretended to be an ordinary kid who fought demons at home when school time was over.

To this day, most of my friends and people I know are not aware of my life story.  I was too scared and ashamed to tell anyone.

By now, I’ve shared some of my life stories with my closest friends but I feel like I need to tell the world too.

I hope with all my heart that someone dealing with the same issues will find this Blog and it will help them.

I wish I could have read stories like mine at the start of my rocky road of depression.

If I will manage to help at least one person from 7 billion people in the world – my mission will be complete.

Grieving an absent parent

And just like that… you are gone. You were never here, but now you really really are not here. And I feel like a lost child, missing something so deeply and not knowing what. My mind keeps racing asking hundreds of questions – what if I tried? And should I have tried? Did you think of me when you were dying (how very selfish of me, but yes, this question kept lurking in my head – maybe a video tape type of memory lane people supposedly see when they are dying)… am I allowed to grieve? Am I allowed to be sad? People giving me condolences and I don’t know how to accept them, I feel like explaining myself, but at the same time so in need of all the support. I am nearly 30 years old and only now calling you “dad”, it was always “my father, but I don’t really know him” and now here I am crying and crying and missing my dad! How could I miss something I never had?

I am thinking and thinking over and over, reading online forums, searching for answers for all of my questions and yet the main question is still up in the air and no one can answer it – what would it have been like if I had you in my life?

And the grieving time is over and I can no longer cry and no one is talking about you anymore, I am starting to feel like “I am slowly moving on” but yet some emptiness is stinging inside me and I keep randomly thinking about you and just hope that maybe next time, if there is such thing as your next life, maybe I can have you in my life.

***

Panic attack in public – what to do?

Panic attacks – it has been months since I had one.  I was on top of my depression what felt like being on top of the world and I felt like stress free – new me.

Having Reactive Depression means that you do not necessary feel depressed every single day – rather every second or every third day but when you do, oh boy – “the shit hits the fan”.  The smallest stressful situation brings all the emotions out – anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness and even suicidal thoughts.  It might sound like not knowing how to cope or manage stress like a “normal” person (which is also that) but what it actually is, let me put it this way – it’s listening to your depression telling you how weak you are and how crap you are at dealing with ANYTHING in life, how this (whatever it is) happened because of YOUR fault and how this now is the end of it because how many more times are you going to FAIL.

 

I have been feeling tensed for the last few days due to an stressful event coming this weekend and unconsciously anger and frustration started building up together with a sudden feeling of failure and disappointment in myself which brought me to the aforementioned Panic attack.

Wow.  I have forgotten how awful it felt and I realized that they do not get any easier.

Having previously had panic attacks were I could easily run away and hide in a safe place this time I sat at my desk surrounded by people.  I had been sitting at my desk for the last 4 hours but all of a sudden I felt out of breath like after running a marathon and when someone rang my phone I jumped in my seat.  I felt my palms getting extremely moist, my throat tightening up and tears just rolling down my face.  I couldn’t type or speak or look at anyone as I just kept shaking and at the same time trying my best not to start roaring crying at the same time.

 

I didn’t know what to do.  What do you do in such situation?  I didn’t know whether I wanted to ask for help or go to the toilet and hide until I calm down but I remembered one thing that to overcome a panic attack you have to get control of it – running to the toilet meant I was going to completely give in and probably end up really winding myself up.   I started drinking water and counting the sips trying to ground myself and think of nothing else but the present moment.  I opened a window for some fresh air and took deep breaths and even though I felt like I just got hit by a train – panic attack was gone and I was still sitting at my desk surrounded by people who hardly ever noticed it! 

So what to do if it happens to you?

Don’t run away and hide.  Face it face to face and take control of it.  Breathe, count your breaths, meditate or even think of gratitude.  Find what really works for you and most importantly know that no matter where you are or how hard it gets – it will be over soon.  
 

Could I Have Bipolar 2? // Guest blog post

When I was in my 30s, I reached a point at which I spent days in my living room seated in a chair with my feet on a footstool, while I alternately drank beer and nodded off to episodes of Supernatural. I couldn’t bring myself to clean (my apartment, my clothes, or myself). I tried to get work done, but it wasn’t happening. Going to work was becoming more and more difficult. And, when things got bad enough, when I had extended people’s patience as much as possible, I would stay up for days without sleeping and get everything done that I had ignored. I thought it was simply a lifestyle born out of procrastination.

However, when things progressed to the point where I sought psychiatric help, I was surprised to be diagnosed with bipolar 2. I had a history of depression, extending all the way back to high school, when I first began taking anti-depressants. I had been on multiple medications without a sizable improvement in my depression. But, I still assumed I was depressed. Through continued treatment and the use of mood stabilizers, I was able to climb out of the cycle I had established.

I don’t know that I would have gotten better had I not been given an accurate diagnosis. And, I didn’t go into that situation thinking I was bipolar in any form. But, the signs were all there.

What Is Bipolar 2?
Most people are familiar with the signs of standard bipolar disorder. They understand that sufferers fluctuate between states of mania and depression.

People who have bipolar 2 also cycle between high and low, but their up moods aren’t outright mania. They are still elevated moods, but they are less intense than those experienced by traditionally bipolar people. These states are called hypomanic.

More often, people with bipolar 2 are in a state of depression. And in the times between fluctuations, people with bipolar 2 generally live traditional, stable lives.

Is It Common?
Everyone could develop the disorder. Currently, bipolar (in all of its forms) affects almost 6 million people, or 2.5 percent of the US population. Most people will begin to see symptoms in their teens and early 20s, and it is incredibly rare for it to develop after age 50.

People who have an immediate family member diagnosed with bipolar face a greater risk of developing it. My father had been diagnosed bipolar, which made the likelihood that I was suffering from it much higher.

What Are Some Symptoms?
Most people with bipolar 2 experience a lot of depression, much more than the hypomania. As hypomania subsides or some time after it has gone, depression will set in. I dealt with an abundance of it. I had more time being depressed than being normal or hypomanic. These symptoms are not that different than those associated with traditional clinical depression. The following symptoms of depression can continue for weeks or months.

• Feelings of guilt
• Feelings of worthlessness
• Depressed mood
• Thoughts of suicide
• Low activity
• Low energy
• Loss of pleasure
Alternately, sufferers experience the euphoria of hypomanic episodes. Symptoms include:

• Decreased need for sleep
• Increased energy
• Hyperactivity
• Loud, rapid, and uninterruptible speech
• Quickly shifting from one idea to the next
• Inflated self-confidence
It can manifest as a general positivity that makes the person showing the symptoms really fun to be around. During these episodes, I joked and laughed and entertained everyone. But, it can also shift toward full blown mania and cause people experiencing it to become impulsive and engage in dangerous behavior. This can include spending money they don’t have and engaging in risky sexual activity.

If your experiences sound like mine, you should talk to a mental health professional. With the proper use of therapy and medications, you can find balance in your life.

Alia Stearns is a former college instructor who now works as a freelance writer. Her diagnosis allowed her to transition to successful full-time self-employment. She is an expert health blogger specializing in behaviors, addiction, recovery, and treatment such as treatment for cocaine. You can visit her official website at: http://www.addictions.com/.

It’s my Depression, not me

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I’ve been so angry with myself for my actions and words that came out of my mouth in the most “uncontrollable” moments of my Depression…

I had to say sorry more times than I can remember because of believing in Depression but not in myself.

I have wasted hours and days worrying and stressing over something that never happened or is very unlikely to happen.

I cancelled so many plans when deeply inside I really wanted to go…

And even though now I am stronger than  my Depression sometimes there are days where I just…

run away and hide not because I want to get away but because I am afraid of being hurt and if I open up.

I stay quiet in work and don’t say much not because I am “not in a good mood” or not friendly enough but simply because I doubt that my thoughts are good enough to start a conversation…

I don’t call my friends not because I forget about them but because I worry they may not want my company when I am feeling depressed.

I annoyingly keep asking for reassurance in a relationship not because of trust issues but simply because Depression makes me feel “not good enough to be loved”.

I keep snapping, shouting and crying or even all at once not because I don’t want to be around but simply because all the emotions inside me burst out all at once and I feel lost.

and no matter how many times it keeps happening, I keep trying to get better and stronger than my Depression.

So bear with me please?

“I couldn’t be with people and I didn’t want to be alone. Suddenly my perspective whooshed and I was far out in space, watching the world. I could see millions and millions of people, all slotted into their lives; then I could see me—I’d lost my place in the universe. It had closed up and there was nowhere for me to be. I was more lost than I had known it was possible for any human being to be.” – Marian Keyes, Anybody Out There?

 

The bright side of Depression

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I came across this picture with a simply amazing message and it got me thinking… despite all the tears and suffer I had to go through living with Depression for so many years – it taught me the most invaluable lessons and made me the person I am today.

Depression taught me kindness because even smallest act of affection always makes a huge impact on my mental well-being.

It taught me patience because I have learnt that good things come with time.

It taught me mindfulness on my journey of seeking help.

Finally, Depression taught me humanity because it made me realize that more people than I could ever imagine are facing Depression in their lives too.

Sometimes I wonder – what kind of person I would be if I had “a perfect life/childhood” and not a single worry in my life… would I still be grateful for the little things such as nice food in the house, warm and loving home I have created for my family and my very few but the most caring friends I have today?

Would I still cherish every happy moment in my life and really pay attention to it?

Would I be ever as happy as I am today and would I want my son to learn everything I have learnt (just in a different way)?

And would I ever wish that perhaps one day, my little one will be like me?…

 

 

 

 

Things I wish I knew about Depression

img_3659I have been suffering from Depression for over 12 years and for the majority of years I didn’t even know what Depression was.  It was never talked about in school, at home, on television and the multiple Depression relating blogs didn’t even exist back then.

But Depression did and it hit me so hard – I simply though I was different, nearly “abnormal” in comparison to other people around me.

Being 13 years old I didn’t seem to be as happy as other kids around me and instead of really enjoying my life – I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  I kept having depressive suicidal thoughts every single day not knowing what a suicide was until one day my thoughts became so real – I tried to take my own life.

The easiest and “safest” way of living with my chronic sadness seemed to be by simply keeping it quiet.  And I did for 12 years without telling anyone I needed help.

You get so used to living with Depression when its the only way you have lived all your life.  Depression doesn’t give you high expectations, it doesn’t require excellent diet or a super active  social life.  All I ever had to do was just to live in my own misery and to not anyone else know about it.

There were some very difficult days where I kept having panic attacks, once again not knowing what they were, and other days where I just felt completely emotionless and as I used to think – numb.

But then one day I had my baby boy and it made me realize that I would never want him to have the life I had and to feed of my anxiety.  By being stressed and unhappy all the time I was only going to make him feel the same and that was something I could never allow myself.

So I went to the doctor and with tears in my eyes, struggling to put the right words together but asked for help and from that moment I have learned a completely new way of living my life Depression free and full of happiness.

I have learned the strangest things about Depression which I only wish I knew so many years ago that helped me to get where I am today:-

  • I am not alone

Living with Depression from my early teens I truly believed that no one else was struggling with depressive thoughts like me and no one would understand if I ever told anyone about it, hence the silence.

But Depression is extremely common and on average – every sixth person in the world suffers from some type of Depression.

The only way to overcome Depression is by seeking help

For the longest time I believed that Depression, if it was ever to go away, will go away by itself.  I thought that Depression can cure itself like the body does after a cold or a virus but once again, I was wrong.

The longer we hide our Depression the worse it gets and the one and only way to overcome it is by seeking help.

Depression is  nothing to be ashamed off

Depression, like any other mental or physical illness is nothing to be ashamed off.  We are not ashamed when we catch a cold so why should we hide something so common?

It’s very important to maintain mental well-being 

Mental health just like your physical health should never be neglected.  In fact, some of very serious illnesses can be caused by stress such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease and even ashtma!

Even after overcoming Depression we must monitor our own mental well-being by making sure that we tell someone when we are feeling anxious instead of bottling it all up and letting it grow into something bigger and more stressful and by simply trying to destress  every day – be it going to the gym, meditating, reading a book or even going for a 10 minute walk.

Even though I didnt know any of the above mentioned facts while growing up and struggled with Depression for so many years by talking about it I want to raise awareness to Mental Health and the importance of looking after it.  By sharing my own experience I want to help other people fighting their own battle and I wish that it will help somebody to find a way into a happy, Depression free life.

Another cure for Depression

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Overcoming Depression doesn’t happen in one day or a week, usually is months and even years of hard work and effort towards a Depression free life. In my situation – after living with Depression for around 12 years I keep overcoming Depression and getting pulled back by it over and over again.

Although counselling has helped me to reach out of the depths of Depression – it hasn’t abandoned my side. Depression keeps paying a visit when I least expect it, especially when I am the most vulnerable and stressed.

There are times where I keep finding myself snapping out of nowhere over the silliest things, getting talked down by Depression and sadly, listening to it.

But having overcome Depression before – I don’t give up anymore. I grab myself in the very same moment and tell myself that I am not going back to that darkness.

I have shared a post with you some time ago about How to seek Help when you are suffering from Depression? I took my own advice and had to read my own words on multiple occasions to remind myself that there is always a way to fight this bundle of stress and sadness. I have followed each and every step so why does Depression keep knocking on my door?

Everyone needs consistency and a healthy routine in their lives, especially people suffering from Depression or anxiety of any kind. Although I have a great daily routine and I try to organize everything I can (in a healthy way) – Depression still finds a small gap to get itself through to my life and so I have always felt like I needed something more effective to fight this powerful misery until I came across Gratitude and Mindfulness.

I started reading articles and blogs stating all the benefits of Gratitude and Mindfulness but I was never quite sure of how does it work or how could I make it work for me until one day an amazing blogger Alison Canavan who has overcome years of Depression herself announced a 30 day Gratitude Challenge which she encouraged everyone to join, share their experiences and spread the positive message of the importance of gratitude in our daily lives – read more about it here.

A challenge at first seemed quite simple but there were times when I found it to be the most difficult.

Waking up each morning and thinking of 3 things I am grateful for was challenging, enjoyable and a real eye opener. It made me realize how far I have come and how lucky I am to have everything I have today (and it’s not even the material things) and how I should just take a moment each day to simply enjoy the things I am really grateful for.

Each time I snap I quickly remember to be grateful for my partner’s patience who calmly puts up with it and helps me to get through whatever puts me in that situation.

Each morning when I see my sons smiley face I am grateful to have a healthy boy and I appreciate all the love he gives me – especially when I am feeling down.

Every night when I go to bed I feel grateful for having my close friends who have become a family to me and for being able to reach out to them whenever I struggle.

Each day when I go to work I am grateful for people believing in me and giving me an opportunity to prove myself in my dream job.

When things go wrong or if I have a bad day – Gratitude always fixes it and makes me realize that there is always something good in our lives even on the worst kind of day.

One day I overslept for work and even though I felt a bit panicky about being late for work – I chose to be and feel grateful for an extra sleep which I really needed.

A small thought of Gratitude can change your whole day for the better and most importantly – keep Depression away.

So is the Gratitude another cure for Depression? For me it certainly is!

It’s almost like an antidepressant which works instantly and has no side effects only positive outcome.

Although I have now completed the 30-day Gratitude challenge, I will not stop on the day 30… that’s just a start of a mindful and Depression free life.


 

Just an observation: it is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present oriented.”
― Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want

“How would your life be different if…you began each day by thanking someone who has helped you? Let today be the day…You make it a point to show your gratitude to others. Send a letter or card, make a call, send a text or email, tell them in person…do whatever you have to do to let them know you appreciate them.
― Steve Maraboli, The Power of One

I’ve been published!

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Hi guys, I just want to share a new book written by an amazing Author David P Perlmutter where you can also find my chapter in the book talking about Mental Health!
I am very lucky to be given the opportunity to be published and I hope that this book and my little chapter in it will bring more awareness to Mental Health, save people from suffering from Mental Illness, struggling on their own and feeling hopeless.

I am truly grateful and want to say a huge thank you to David for letting me to be a part of this amazing project.

Click here to get your copy now

More about the book by the author:

“Following the success of the previous MY WAY books, I would like to welcome you all to the next instalment of the MY WAY brand and the latest in the series is entitled MY WAY 5 about LIFE.

As you will read once you delve into this book, I have brought together 21 authors and bloggers who have bared their souls and kindly contributed their own LIFE experiences.

I wanted to publish this particular book to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week for a number of reasons. Firstly, myself and the editor and co-author of this book, Julie Tucker are both Cancer Campaigns Ambassadors for Cancer Research UK, and as such we know how important it is to spread awareness of the great work done by charities.

We thought it would be great to have a mental health charity on board with this project and were delighted when leading UK mental health charity SANE agreed to write a foreword for the book and I’m pleased to say that a percentage of the proceeds from book sales will go to SANE to help them continue their vital work.

On to the brave people who are featured in this book, who I am delighted to call my friends, are either writers themselves, bloggers or simply people who have used writing as a means of coping with life events, experiences and issues such as bereavement, child abuse, self-harming, depression, anxiety, addiction, loneliness, domestic violence, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, suicide….. I could go on and on but you will soon read all about it yourself.

Each has kindly answered a Q&A I set out for them and where applicable have submitted a sample of their work. There are also some links if you wish to pursue any of the stories herein.

Having read their contributions it has certainly put my own past troubles into perspective. Everyone has their own cross to bear but really some crosses are so much heavier than others. I applaud anyone who can turn past experiences, such as those suffered by the authors and bloggers herein, into a creative outlet which can help others who have perhaps been in similar situations.

I should just explain about the emojis! My co-author Julie and I chose these ten and asked each contributor to choose the three which they felt best represented themselves. Their choices are at the end of each of their Q&A’s and for a bit of fun we’ve done a little analysis and presented a bar chart at the end of the book which shows the tallies of their choices.” – David P. Perlmutter

Other books by DAVID P PERLMUTTER

WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME
FIVE WEEKS
MY WAY WON
MY WAY TOO
MY WAY FREE – TRENDING ON TWITTER
MY WAY FOUR – MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOUR

Coming Soon:

MY WAY SIX – SEX FOR THE BEACH
MY WAY SEVENTH HEAVEN
MY WAY ATE – FOOD FOR THOUGHT
MY WAY 999 – CRIME
MY WAY TEN – ME AGAIN”

How to escape an abusive relationship?

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Anyone who has never been in an abusive relationship will never understand how difficult it is to leave it.

The thing about an abusive relationship is that it does not start with abuse.  The abuser only attacks his/her victim when the ladder is deep in the relationship and is manipulated so much that the abuse is then believed to be a form of punishment for victim who is not being good enough, not succeeding at making the abuser happy and simply is given another chance to try harder next time.

Slowly but surely the victim will start apologizing for anything and everything the abuser is not happy about and become afraid of the abusive partner.

Afraid to stand up for herself/himself, terrified to say anything back to the abuser and finally – leave.

So how to find enough strength in yourself to just get up and leave?

What if you are under circumstances where you are financially dependent on the abuser and have nowhere to go?  What if you have children with your offender? Can you still escape the relationship and start a new life?

In my case, I moved to another city where my ex-partner lived so I didn’t know anyone around me, my friends were far away, I lost my job and my maternity leave payment stopped leaving me with no money or savings and on top of it – I had a new-born baby in my arms.

At one point, I thought that there was no way I could manage to leave and I didn’t know or have where to go.  I felt completely hopeless but I knew that I had to leave for my child’s sake.

It wasn’t an easy road but I did it.  If I could do it – anyone can.

And here is how:

Understand why you need to leave it

It is very hard to leave when you don’t 100% understand why you should leave in the first place.  In my case, I didn’t understand it either and only left because I was worried about my child’s safety.  Only a year later after leaving the relationship I finally realized that it wasn’t good for me either.

Some relationships can be abusive even if the partner is not physically attacking you and let me tell you, the mental abuse hurts more but it’s harder to notice.

If you are not sure if your relationship is abusive and not good for you, ask yourself these questions:

Is your partner constantly bringing you down?

Is your partner controlling and restricting your life?

Is your partner negatively effecting your self-confidence?

Are you afraid of your partner?

Do you have to hide anything from your partner such as meeting up with your friends?

Is your partner being judgmental towards you?

Does your partner force you to do things you don’t like such as forcing sexual activities and other?

Finally, has your partner physically attacked you?

If more than ONE answer to the questions above is yes – you are more than likely to be in an emotionally or/and physically abusive relationship.

If you have children and even though you are not happy in your relationship but staying for children’s sake – take a look at this quote:

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Speak up

Once you understand that you are in fact in an abusive relationship and that you must leave, speak up.  Don’t keep it to yourself and reach out to your family and friends.  Stress caused by an abusive relationship is too difficult to handle on your own.  Don’t be afraid or ashamed to tell your family and close people to you.

Seek help

Reach out to social services in your area asking for an advice and looking for help.  When I had my child I wasn’t on the social welfare and didn’t have any income and once I applied for a social payment I was refused as I was still living with my ex-partner.

Even though we were living together he wasn’t supporting me and even started starving me so I kept looking for help as I had to feed our child – read more about it here.

I looked online for domestic violence and abuse support organizations and started emailing every single one I could find online.

Cross Care replied to my email and asked me to come to their office where they asked me more about my situation, gave me an advice where to seek financial support and finally referred me to a place where I was given food. I am truly grateful for their help to this day.

If you are really stuck, I suggest you do the same.  You will be surprised how much help you can receive if you ask for it.

Finally, ask your family or perhaps your friends if they could help you out with escaping the relationship.  If you are unemployed and have no money or savings, ask people around you if you could stay at their place until you get back on your feet.

In my case, most of my friends have offered me a shelter and where extremely supportive.

Leave as soon as possible

It’s much easier to leave if you don’t have children with your abusive partner.  Either way, leave as soon as possible first of all, for the sake of your children (the longer you stay in the relationship, the more it will affect them) and finally for your own sake (the longer you stay, the worse it will get).

If you don’t have children together I would advise to leave when your partner is not around, perhaps in work or away and run without looking back.

If you, like me, happen to have kids together then running away gets more complicated as you could be accused for kidnapping your children if you leave without giving him/her a notice.

If you feel like you can’t talk to your abuser about leaving on your own, ask your or his/her family to act as a mediator.

Have a family meeting together where you can inform the abuser about leaving, where are you moving to and when.  This way the family will know what is going on and the abuser won’t have a chance to explain the situation from his point of view as if you just left him unnoticed.

Bear in mind that some families can be just abusive as the abuser itself and can get very nasty with you, in that case ask your friends for support instead.

Don’t listen to your abuser

Once your abuser will know that you are leaving – he/she will do and say ANYTHING to stop and get you back.  Don’t confuse this with a sign of love.  A loving person would never be abusive to you in the first place.  Your decision to leave to the abuser is a sudden loss of control and power over you, a feeling of failure as a dominant and a trigger to all of his/her insecurities – read about them here.

The abuser will of a sudden tell you everything you want to hear and will make you feel as special as he/she did at the very start of the relationship simply to get you back into his/hers trap.

Avoid any contact with the abuser

If you don’t have children together or any relations such as mortgage together etc. my best advice is to block their phone number.

Most of the phones nowadays have a blocking function but if there isn’t one available of your phone – contact your mobile provider and they can do it for you.

If you have to keep in contact because of your children (as it happened in my case) set some ground rules to your abuser and yourself.

As mentioned above, the abuser will tell you anything to get you back.  My best advice is to not take any phone calls, only contact through the text messages as hearing your abusers voice would be stressful as it is and the messages can be kept for the future references i.e. Court.

Do not reply to any messages not relevant to your children and do not get into heated conversations trying to explain your ex over and over again why you left.

Your abuser will try to provoke you to answer them by guilt tripping you, blaming everything on you and saying anything that would make your blood boil and want you to say something back to them.

But from my own experience, I can tell you – there is no point.

The abuser will never understand your reasons for leaving him/her as they don’t understand they are even abusive and most of them would never admit they are or were.

Don’t waste your time talking to the abuser except it’s about the children regarding visiting times and general information such as health, education and holidays.

Still, if you struggle to keep a normal contact with your abuser, I would suggest trying mediation which is usually free.

See more information for mediation services in Ireland here – Family Mediation Services in Ireland.

If the mediation services don’t solve any communication issues the next step is going to Court in regards to child’s maintenance, access and a restraining order if needed.

Remind yourself every day that you are worth better

Receiving loving and caring messages after leaving your abuser will make you start thinking that the person can change, that they have learned their lesson and a sudden living on your own will kill you with loneliness but keep reminding yourself while you left in the first place and if you want to go back to the same life.

I have given my abuser a thousand of second chances and went back to him twice after leaving but it only got worse each time.

A person can never change unless they understand what and why they need to change and do it for themselves.  An abuser will never give in his power and stop the abuse towards you just because he says so or because you ask for it.

Look after yourself

After leaving the abusive relationship the most important step is to look after yourself.  Attend support groups or counselling sessions where you can recover after your toxic relationship and slowly gain your self-confidence back.

Even though it takes time to get back on your feet, mentally and physically, you will get there.  Accept any help and ask for help when you are struggling.

If you are struggling financially (if you are unemployed), take up little job such as babysitting – that’s what I did for some time before going back to education and also find all the information about the social welfare support in your country.

If you are struggling mentally – don’t wait and seek help. See my full Blog post about seeking help here.

Finally, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and be happy again.

“Overcoming abuse doesn’t just happen, It takes positive steps everyday. Let today be the day you start to move forward.” ― Assunta Harris

“Poisonous relationships can alter our perception. You can spend many years thinking you’re worthless… but you’re not worthless, you’re unappreciated.” – Steve Maraboli

“Controllers, abusers and manipulative people don’t question themselves. They don’t ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else.”

How to seek Help when you are suffering from Depression?

gift

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?

Online

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:

Depression Chat Rooms:

https://www.sicknotweak.com/
http://www.healthfulchat.org/
http://www.peoplesproblems.org/

Mental Health Helplines (in Ireland):

  • Call the Samaritans 24 hour emotional support Helpline on 116 123 or email them at jo@samaritans.org
  • 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 supportmail@aware.ie
  • Call Shine’s information helpline on 1890 621 631 or email them at phil@shineonline.ie
  • 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 info@stpatsmail.com, 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:

– http://endthestigma.ie/
– http://recoveryrockstars.com/
– http://www.the2sidedproject.com/

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.

GP

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.

Counselling

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/

Self-help

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
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
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
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
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.
mindful
– Hobbies
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.


Sources:
http://mentalhelp.ie/getting-information-advice/
© 1st picture –  Guy Cohen Photography