See Change Ambassador Ellen Downey writes:

There are so many support groups for people suffering with mental health difficulties in Ireland today. If you look, you’ll probably find one within a town radius….if you look… I often looked up support groups, would find one and then convince myself that if i went that the people in the group would judge me,for my past,my present, what I say,what I do. I was too scared. But I have learned recently that I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I recently moved to Wexford from Cork, not a big move, only a two hour journey, but any move is a big move if you think about it. A move means change. Change is difficult. I am not alone down here, I have a fantastic job and things are going brilliant with my now fiancé, I can’t complain…or at least I feel I shouldn’t. I am finding it isolating,stressful,nerve-racking. So,I did what I do every so often, I looked up support groups in the area…and then put it off. I put it off until a day I could not open the door to my apartment because I had such a horrific panic attack that I dropped everything in my hands…and then dropped to the floor. That evening I decided I was going to make myself go to the meeting. My family,fiancé and friends were great but as one of my best friends always says, they can only treat me with sympathy, not empathy.

So, I went. And I’m not going to lie, for the first week I just listened to everyone and cried silently. Crying because they were so many people around me,young,old, male,female, employed, unemployed, all going through this horrific disease as well. And you know what, even in my silent tears and trembling, I felt the support already. I have been going for two months now, every Wednesday night. I look forward to the next weeks meeting as soon as one ends. We go there, all from different paths of life with the same struggle, to feel support, to feel like we are not alone, to feel empathy.

There is a man in the group who has been going for ten years. He says at every meeting that he is good health, mentally and physically, that he comes to be a support for others, like others were for him. He has been through it all, mental health difficulties, and recently the other side of cancer. He is just one of the inspirations to me. He says every week, cancer made him want to live, and depression made him want to die. Depression makes you feel like your brain,who you are in every way, is dying, and you just want it done. But we must try to remember, this too will pass. It might come back, those terrible feelings, thoughts, but this support group has taught me that I want to live.

Please look up support groups in your area. Please go. We can get through this if we help each other.

ellen1

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