I was diagnosed with depression when I was 8 years old.
My grandfather had died. When I was 11 I had a breakdown and was seen by a psychiatrist. My grandmother had died. I don’t remember much of these times other than crying a lot. Over the next years I had many episodes of depression and anxiety usually related to death and loss. I was afraid of death; I kept all my thoughts and fears inside and didn’t tell anyone.
I got married and had a son. Life was good.
2009 started off a good year for me. My son and his fiancé announced the date for their wedding, it was to be September of that year. I was so excited, telling all my friends about the wedding. I bought my outfit complete with handbag and shoes. It wasn’t long until reality hit me. I began to think I was going to lose my son forever, even though he was only moving to another county. My depression got worse as the months went past. The only comfort I got was by staying in bed, although I didn’t sleep day or night despite medication. Everything was complete darkness. I couldn’t see any light.
Thoughts of suicide were now in my mind and although I loved my husband and son dearly I could see no other way to escape from what I could only describe as torture. I managed somehow to perk up a little and be at the wedding although I don’t remember much of the day. The day after I went even deeper into depression. I became psychotic; these episodes would last 2 -3 days at a time, where I would just sit there and stare. I couldn’t do anything for myself. My husband would have to wash me, dress me and even feed me. Worse than that, I didn’t know who I was, who he was or who my son was. This was a very difficult time for them. The crisis team were called and I was seen by a Psychiatrist.
Soon after that I was admitted to Holywell. This was a very frightening time for me as I thought they wouldn’t be able to help me out and I would be kept there. I did settle, the staff were lovely, and although they had to observe me all the time they were very kind and always reassuring. I think this was the first time in my entire life I knew someone who could help me and I decided that with their help and with the appropriate treatment I would get better. I had been imprisoned long enough, had enough dark days of depression and fear and wanted to get better. I did improve and was allowed home.
I realised there was life after depression but I had to take responsibility. Life would be different, I would still face many challenges, but I would know where I could find help and I wouldn’t be afraid to speak out. Life for me has changed, I now have my own depression support group, I volunteer for Aware Defeat Depression and now am involved as a volunteer in the Northern Trust.
I have just completed a WRAP Recovery Programme which enables me to facilitate WRAP groups. My passion is to reach out to those with mental illness and I will never be ashamed to tell my story. The person I am now is because of the experiences I have come through. There should be no stigma, depression is an illness which can affect anyone at any time, despite who you are and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I tell my story to bring HOPE in the midst of darkness. I came from darkness to light – so can anyone.
Read the full story – From Darkness to Light