I felt it was about time to open up about something that i was only recently diagnosed with but have been going through ever since i can remember.
It has taken a little time to adapt and improve in how i deal with my problems, but i am steadily improving as i go. I also have found that medication has made a huge difference, along with several lifestyles changes.
Several people in the media have recently discussed their own experiences with depression or similar mental health problems and it helped me to get a better understanding of what i was going through myself, and to finally seek help.
One struggle that i have constantly had is convincing or communicating my own problems to those close to me. It is easy for others to understand a broken leg or other physical ailment, but mental illness is hard to understand for those who do not suffer from it.
It was only when my wife witnessed my close brush with traffic in Greenwich that she understood quite what was going in my head. Before that she felt that maybe i had been brought up in too soft an environment, but now has a better grasp of quite how low my lows are. It did not fill me with happiness to see Ruby quite so worried about me, but ultimately she helped to give me a kick up the backside to deal with my problems.
How Long it Took Me To Diagnose Depression
How I Would Hide My Problems from Others
How I Deal with Depression
I have found that establishing a consistent routine is the best way of keeping my mind healthy and stable. Exercise is a great way of clearing my mind of any build up of anxiety. When i was out of work for several months in 2014 i started feeling like a lost part, without enough to fill my days. Once i had a programme for each day, i immediately felt happier and more productive.
Since working as a contractor, my working weeks are far more varied. Rather than having a settled routine of 5 weeks off a year, with every other week filled with a permanent job, i have been completing contracts of around a month at a time, and then being off for an unknown period. Whilst this new way of living has been superb, overall, it has required adjustment in order to avoid becoming lethargic and, at times, feeling guilty at a lack of enterprise.
Filling my time off with trips abroad, and then working at all other times seems to be the ideal way for me to keep my mind occupied. Weekends at home i save for exercise. Gardening is also a new passion of mine and serves as another excellent remedy for removing anxiety from my brain, i particularly appreciate how it serves as a complete alternative from my constant use of technology at home and work.
Another option that i have found to be successful was oil painting, though i have not been able to do any recently because of a lack of space in my flat. I found that art is an awesome way of distracting your mind from anything else, and forcing you to focus entirely on the blank canvas in front of you.
Meditation works in a similar way to art, in clearing your mind of clutter. I have not added meditation into my routine, but i can imagine that serving as an excellent alternative to the options that i do already use. It is also regularly recommended by medical professionals for reducing the impact of a variety of mental illnesses.
One remedy i use to cope with work-related stress is to take a day off when needed, even though i won’t be paid for doing so. When i can sense that things are becoming unbearable, a day at home away from technology seems to bring clarity to my mind and make me more able to deal with any problems that crop up when back at work.
My Outlook for the Future
I feel alot more equipped to deal with depression since i sought help. I can now combine medication with lifestyle changes to effectively manage it. I can also recognise warning signs and take action prior to things getting worse. Many of the actions that i take will actually benefit my general health anyway, which is no bad thing.
Advice for Others
Seeking medical advice is always going to be the best advice! I found that once i had completed the depression/ bipolar test with my GP, i felt that finally someone actually believed and understood what i was going through. It also helped me to benchmark my problems against others, after being assessed as having a mid-level depression.
I have also found some useful resources that may provide additional help. Reading about other people’s experiences can help you realise that you are not alone, and this can serve as a helpful form of support by itself.
This lady blogs about mental health issues and gives some interesting insights.