About the Make a Ripple campaign
This series of blog posts are part of the See Change Make a Ripple campaign, an initiative to help end the stigma of mental health problems by sharing experiences and building public understanding. If you’d like to tell your story, you can visit the Make a Ripple stories portal. If you’d like to write a longer piece like the one below, you can contact a member of the See Change campaign team firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01 8601620
Depression to me was something that was alien, a condition I presumed I would never have to deal with. I was the quintessential positive guy, A beautiful wife and children, living in a nice neighborhood and doing well at my career, I had completed a marathon and had been approached by a company to come and work for them, so my confidence was at its highest ever level.
In March 2009 I moved to, what promised to be the job of a lifetime. My family life was going well and physically I was in great shape, however in the back of my mind I knew that there was something up, the new job was very demanding and I was working long hours and hitting a lot of stressful situations during my working day.
I stopped running, which was something I had enjoyed and an activity that gave my head time to clear out, I started to drink more often, using the “odd glass” of wine as a way to forget the day, my hours of sleep became less and less. I battled through and told no one of how I was feeling, within three months of this lifestyle and work load, I was starting to have anxiety and depressing thoughts, suicidal thoughts were always nagging me and convincing me that they were the solution.
In September of 2009 I crashed, I was now only sleeping for a few hours at a time, I was drinking most nights and doing zero physical activity. I had become withdrawn form absolutely everything apart from work, my family life was suffering and I was a crap friend. During September 2009, I built up the courage to explain how I was feeling to my wife, my employers, my family and my friends, this was both the scariest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.
I was so afraid of where I was in my head and also of how people would react to what I was telling them, I was lucky and everyone close to me gathered around, lots didn’t really understand what I was telling them, but they reacted brilliantly. Having gotten my thoughts out in the open it was was time for me to start getting better, I had two attempts at Suicide at this point, now when I say attempts, I was not caught in the act, but I had it planned and my head, had me ready to go.
My plan of action to get myself better, was to attack this illness on a number of fronts, I visited my GP and got prescribed Anti-Depressants, I ensured that some member of my family was with me at all times, this ensured I was not alone with my depression and could take my mind off it until the AD’s kicked in. After two weeks the AD’s started to work and I was ready to start going outside and look for a group to attend to discuss my illness, through family friends I started to attend meetings by Recovery International, I found this to be invaluable, Dr Low developed his method in the early 20th century in Chicago and it is still as relevant today, I owe a lot to him and to the people that I met at these meetings.
I knew that my job was a big obstacle for me, so I handed in my notice, this was not a very easy thing to do, as this cut of our main source of income, we don’t have a lot of money but this was the right thing to do to get my mental health back on track. I had a long fight back from depression, I could go on for a bit more here, however to end with some positive messages. I completed the Dublin City Marathon in 2010, I started a new job in Jan 2010 and we had our third child in March 2011, so we have well and truly beaten depression! I am now more aware of keeping my mental health, healthy! It is just like your physical health, it has to be maintained.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in Gary’s story, or if you need to speak with someone, click through for a list of organisations that can help
See Change understands that there is a complex multiplicity of perspectives on mental health problems and the experience of being unwell. See Change encourages the publication of material that promotes understanding of mental health problems, the experience of being unwell, and recovery. The opinions expressed by contributors to the Make a Ripple campaign are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of See Change, funders, or partner organisations.