Why has mental health taking this long to become so well publicised and taken seriously?
Social media has a lot to thank for the awareness it brings but does it help or give individuals who are breaking point the wrong thoughts?
I think we all need to realise that you WILL be down at certain points of your life and the older you get, the more death and bad news you will receive but it’s how you learn to embrace the situations that keep us moving forward positively.
I myself dip in and out of so called "depression" but is it a condition or am I just going through difficult times? I believe it is the latter. By labelling your issue really makes you believe there is something wrong with you and this brings panic, which ultimately leads to a trip to the doctor's and what is their answer - medication!
- Has medication been proven to help individuals who suffer from depression and anxiety? – Yes
- Do I believe it works for everyone? – No
So, what's the answer? - Who knows for sure, but this is my story...
See if you can relate and hopefully you can realise you're not alone and you can overcome anything to be where you want to be without being labelled.
Now, cast your mind back to our school days. Some memories will be further away than others but there are always visions you can never forget since they have such an impact on your life.
It was approaching time to leave school for good and the teacher casually passes a questionnaire around the class asking us to explain where we wanted to be in 3, 5 and 10 years. 3 years? I didn't even know what I was doing that evening.
That feeling of not knowing hung around my neck for the next years and with age this burden got heavier until thoughts of "what does the future hold" plagued me daily.
Eventually, I became very puzzled, distant and blocked the world out in the hope I could somehow find the answers to my future uninterrupted.
Did it help? - No, of course not. Now, not only did I know what my life had in store, but I didn't even have anyone to talk to about it.
Weeks moulded into months, then into years. 4 to be precise.
So, what changed I hear you ask?
DEATH! Was it planned - No, that is not the answer!
NEVER THE ANSWER!!
I was in fact involved in a near death experience after being hit by a lorry and after crawling out of my crumpled van, I came to the realisation that things in my life needed to change.
This is where I found fitness and ultimately my future. Unbeknownst to myself, I would eventually go on to be a personal trainer, gym owner and father. All which give me the opportunity to use my experiences to help others through tough times and make them realise there is always sunshine after the rain.
Has this stopped my down days - Definitely not!
No matter where you find yourself in life, something will always happen to turn everything upside down. What turned my life upside down - DEATH.
My thoughts? - Definitely not, it is NEVER THE ANSWER!
My Father was diagnosed with Cancer. Did this get me down - surprisingly no.
This doesn't make me a monster, this makes me human. I took encouragement from my Father's positivity throughout his treatment and continued battle to the end.
I'm under the impression that everyone deals with loss in their own way and mine seemed to manifest itself in anger. Not at anyone in particular but just at the fact that my only Father was taken from me.
- Was I down? - Yes, is that not natural?
- Was I depressed? - Apparently, yes!
I truly believe I could've handled this devastation and moved on with happy memories in my heart, but it was the following 4 months which were about to be the most testing times of my life.
As within 3 months, my Grandad passed away, closely followed by a very close friend which made my anger with fairness grow.
There was however a silver lining within these dark days. A new life was realised and due the following September.
May be life isn't so bad I thought. There is a light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel but little did I know, this tunnel was about to get a lot longer and indeed darker.
During a well-earned break to America, life was about to take a turn with untold devastation. The loss of our child after 8 weeks took all hope away and left me feeling lost and, in a bubble, - back to the days of the unknown.
So not only was I dealing with the losses of the people closest to me but now I had to mourn a future I never got to know.
This was of course the toughest and most challenging time of my life but when I reached out for help from the professionals, all they could offer was a mask in the way of anti-depressants. Did they help? - Definitely not!
Could they help you? Who knows but I believe the issues should be faced head on and dealt with, instead of burying them under a prescription of pills from someone who doesn't know your history or ins and outs of everyday life.
I turned to counselling in the hope I could talk through and deal with the unstoppable amount of loss in my life. Did it help? - For me, no. Would it help for you? - I definitely recommend it over medication.
The reasons behind my lack of results from therapy wasn't down to the counsellor but in fact, me. I carried to much stress from work and let it sit on top of my untold issues, so a resolution was solely down to me. There was something I won't forget from my sessions and something that often brings me back to earth when I feel myself slipping into this so called "depression".
I explained my rough times as a metaphor which looks like this.
Imagine yourself swimming at the beach of your favourite holiday destination. Everything is peaceful, the waves are calm, and you are relaxed.
Then suddenly some storm clouds appear over the horizon and after taking advantage of your relaxed swim, you have become too far away from shore to avoid a huge wave which ultimately submerges you.
After being tossed around, you find your way back to the surface, albeit a little dazed and confused, you can eventually breathe again but wait, what's this? Another wave! Without time to recover, you are submerged again and this time when you recover, your breathe is even shorter. What’s this, more destruction in the way of another wave.
When will it end, and can you survive these waves before they eventually take your breathe for good?
What's the answer I hear you ask?
I can only speak for myself here but the way I explained it to my counsellor was that by using therapy and talking, I could find my way to a boat to get myself above the waves and eventually ride the waves to shore.
Once on shore I could these waves coming and make sure I didn't allow them to drag me down.
Will bad things happen again? - OF COURSE, that is life my friend but always take comfort that someone else has faced similar issues and has found a way to cope without using popular medications gifted out by your loving and caring health care professionals.
- Are they trying to help? - Yes
- Could they do more to visit different avenues? - Definitely