Couch Chat: Coping with Depression, Anxiety and the related

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Dealing with Depression
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A couple of weeks ago I read about  the demise of Amy Bleuel a promising young lady and strong advocate for mental health issues. She was the founder of project semi colon ; a not for profit mental health initiative. She was also the brain behind the extremely popular semi colon tattoo that trended on social media for quite a significant period of time, to stir a further awareness of mental health challenges bordering around depression, suicide and self harm.

Amy drew strength from what would ordinarily have drained her will to live, her father's demise(and the circumstances in which he passed away) and other personal life struggles she had contended with and overcome. She started project semi colon as a mark of respect to her father, providing what became a strong advocating platform for various mental health issues. Just like the semi colon in writing (or Literature if you prefer)  the semi colon project reiterated the fact that whatever situation you find yourself, its not the end of you.  No matter how clouded things may seem its ok to definitely keep going because hope, love and comfort can and will abound. In Amy's words ''In literature, an author uses a semicolon to not end a sentence but to continue on. We see it as you are the author and your life is the sentence. You’re choosing to keep going.”

Its very sad to know that Amy lost her own battle with depression but its reassuring to know that her story and the legacy she left behind will continue to live on and I write this post in memory of Amy. Thank you for being such a strong voice and source of inspiration people struggling with their emotional and mental wellbeing.

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your story isnt over;not yet
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Over the past few weeks as well, I have continued to come across several personal stories, many of whom have found the courage to seek help and others who have sadly lost the battle.  I really felt compelled to talk about my own personal struggle with depression perhaps not so much in details but as form of respect and support for anyone going through the struggle alone. I understand that it might feel like a personal struggle no one understands but please know you are not alone. I realised that quite a lot of people struggle with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues but there is already so much stigma associated with these conditions making it such a battle to reach out for help support. However, its about time we all understood mental wellbeing is just as important as physical well being which is why I feel its important to share my personal experience as well.
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Coping with Depression:My Experience
Its been close to four years but it always feels so fresh in memory. I recall those ''cloudy'' periods in my life  when everything seemed like a haze and it just felt like it had to end. I had no inkling of what had to end but I knew something had to give. I knew what it felt like but I struggled to put it to speech even though the words constantly played in my head.  Sometimes it felt like I was stuck in a maze and there was just no exit. Other times ,I felt like I was trapped in a can of bubbles, I wanted to be free but I didn't know how to set myself free. Other times, i felt like recoiling into a world I had created in my head,the feelings were emotional draining and left me empty most times.
I was surrounded by so many people most especially my beloved family but I felt extremely lonely and alone, I struggled to share how I felt but I dreaded the hurt, fear, backlash and mockery that would come from it.I feared I would be misunderstood. To the rest of the world,I functioned as a normal human being,capable of loving, living and achieving but within me I fought a silent battle;every minute, every hour,every day. I couldn't bear to speak out for fear of letting my loved ones down, I had quite a handful of people who looked up to me, how dare I portray myself as a weakling!
Because as I came to understand it there was a lot of misconception around depression and mental wellness.  I remember once having a conversation with someone along those lines which broke me further but ironically strengthen my resolve to continue to suffer in silence.  Over several nights, I kept playing the conversation in my head. I tossed in bed, I shed a lone tear and silently questioned my emotional and mental capabilities. I thought of the many times, I would take toilet breaks at work and spend all the time crying and questioning the will to live but would step out afterwards all smiles and ''refreshed''. I thought of my commute back home and how I often longed for a window seat so I could look out of the window and drown myself in tears. I thought of how my mood alternated from happy to sad and often remained that way for a long time, I was unstable, low and on the edge; These unexplained feelings never went away, it was a constant companion. I searched for answers in books, the internet ...just something to help me understand how and why I felt the way I feel and I found the answer. I realised I was depressed and I could fare better with  help, support and guidance..........


Today, I am in a better place and faring well and am grateful for the help and support I had that made it all possible . Things might not always seem the way I want them to be but I am getting a grasp of life and coming to terms with the fact that sometimes it will get rough  before it gets better and sometimes its plain landslide victory- easy peasy! Such is the beauty of life.
I am learning not to wish my challenges away or recoil into a corner, rather I choose to put in some effort no matter how minimal and I find satisfaction in knowing  I tried,its hard sometimes but still I keep trying!  I am not going to lie by saying its been all pure bliss and happily ever after! Sometimes the past still lurks in the shadows and on days when it feels like am ''slipping'' back I find strength in my personal mantra ''Some days are sunny, Some days are rainy and some days are just a mix of both;I will endeavour to get by''
I am not ashamed to share my story, on the contrary I find comfort in the hope that someone reads this post and realises that they shouldn't have to suffer in silence. If that person is you I want you to know that you are not  a loony, odd, abnormal or alone, there are lots of people going through similar so don't be too hard on yourself.

A few more things you could take away with you:

-You are not WEAK: No matter how you feel,  or however much insensitive comments you have to keep up with be rest assured you are not weak.  You are simply going through a period of life you have no control over. No one has the right to judge you for being human or make you feel less of yourself  just because of what you are going through.

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-Don't  be afraid to seek HELP:  I can understand if you choose to suffer in silence especially if your life seems to be the picture of perfection to the outside world. There is so much misconception about depression and anxiety and its not uncommon to hear people say things like ''oh you'd be fine'', ''snap out of it'!'' ,''...but you don't look depressed'' and all other insensitive remarks.
Still! don't let that deter you,  when you feel like you could do with some help and support don't be held back by anything and if you do find help please don't feel like you are burden. There's people out there who genuinely care and are more than willing to help.

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Please speak to someone if you experience any of the above more often than usual.
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-Its not about who YOU are! : Your appearance, social,financial and academic standing ,race,gender or abilities have absolutely nothing to do with depression,anxiety or the related. Its simply no respecter of who you are or what you have achieved. Its doesn't play out like the lottery, or cherry pick so please don't consider yourself a victim. You are going through a phase perhaps not pleasant but definitely through no fault of yours so don't be hard on yourself.  Things will get better with time.

-Identify the CAUSE - tackle the EFFECT:  Whilst the same might not be said for everyone, from personal experience I found that identifying  and come to terms with the ''triggers'' helped me a great deal.  By triggers I mean the root cause of whatever it is you might be going through. I realized that my situation at the time was embedded in a particular situation I thought I could not get over, constant nagging fear and worry is all it took to get me spiraling down. It was such a relief to face my supposed fears just by speaking to someone about my deepest worries in therapy over a period of time. As you get better you might find yourself experiencing those ''trigger moments'' or similar that can cause you to go spiraling down again, don't feel overwhelmed or scared. You have got to remember that you have been through a phase, you can get help, you can get support so don't feel afraid to ask.

Help doesn't necessarily mean Medication: Most people think opening up about their fear, anxieties and depressive feelings automatically translates to either being sectioned or being placed on heavily sedating medication.
NO! No two people are the same just as no two situations are the same. I for instance benefitted from a lot of counselling therapy where I was able to express myself freely,talk about my present worries and concerns for the future. As I slowly eased out of therapy, I buddied up with a very friendly lady who often checked up on me at regular intervals. It was a smooth transition. I found a great support system in my family as well too as I was finally able to open up and carry them along with me during the process. All of the help and support was based on specific assessment and relevance to my individual needs. The first step is seeking help and being rest assured in the fact that whatever help is being offered is of your best interest and wellbeing so please don't feel hesitant to reach out.

 I end this post on a positive note because I feel fulfilled to have spoken about an issue so delicate yet important . I want to thank you for letting me share my thoughts and experience with you and I hope you find one of two things useful. I might not know you in person but I care about your emotional well being and I wish you the best for life's onward journey.
 Allow me to leave you with this last few words  '' Flip over to the next page because your story isn't over;not yet!'' <3

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*Post written in honor of Amy Bleuel:  Founder - The Project Semicolon*
Read more about The Project Semicolon HERE
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*For free confidential emotional support contact the SAMARITANS HERE

* For help,support and advice with mental health issues contact MIND UK HERE

*Please also get in touch with your GP/Doctor/ health care professional for medical support,advice and help.

                                                                                                                             You are not alone x


  1. Thanks for sharing! I love that use of the semicolon as a symbol, it's very nice. Glad to hear you're doing better too! I would also add though that although help doesn't *always* mean medication, sometimes medication is the right help for a person, and that's ok too. :) x

  2. Thank you for stopping by Aileen. I really appreciate your kind words too.

    I realised there is so much misconception that makes people shy away from reaching out at all.
    I think I mentioned that whatever help is being offered is definitely tailored to individual circumstances/needs, so yes we definitely are on the same page regarding medication :)

    Really do appreciate your input and hope it helps someone too.
    Thank you so much :) x


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