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  • Author : Judi9877
  • support : 2
  • Blog : Forums Blog
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Hi @nashy and others here. 

My experiences of depression have been as follows:

- 1st episode happened at 19 when I was unemployed and not studying but my GP only put me on meds short term;

-2nd episode was when I was 24 and lost my mum to cancer suddenly but as I wasn't living with her, I didn't think it was depression.  I struggled to understand why I kept making mistakes at work and was crying, etc, thinking it was just grief only to get told by my GP that it was depression and was put back on meds again.

- Finally got properly diagnosed at 26 when I moved interstate to study at uni and the depression really commenced when I couldn't afford to fly home at Easter in my first year. I had strange ideas of wanting to do things but a voluntary psych ward admission finally diagnosed me with depression and was put on meds full time due to blood tests revealing a chemical imbalance in my brain that was a possible cause of the condition. It helped that I also researched my symptoms on the Internet and through books and uni resources that assisted in me linking things to depression. 
- I have had depression ever since along with 2 other mental health issues, diagnosed 2 years later but have noticed that my depression is episodic so only happens at certain times.
- I've had several voluntary psych ward admissions interstate due to depression  when I was at uni but none in my home state. I have been to PARCS here in Melbourne (a step up/step down facility for people who don't need to be in hospital but still need support in a community facility) several times and found them to be a great way of helping me learn ways to cope with my depression and other mental illnesses, like learning coping strategies and getting into a routine and taking care of myself.
- I've tried many anti depressants, therapy such as CBT, seeing psychologists, GPs, for treatment options and had a great psychiatrist for 10 years until they moved on. I had a great uni councillor who helped me get through uni when I was living interstate from first year until I graduated with them coming to my graduation ceremony, which took nearly 6 long years but I did get my uni degree which many people didn't think was possible for me to achieve. 

For me, the following things help-

- Journaling or writing things down as a way of helping me explain myself when I can't verbally speak;

- Craft things like knitting, crochet and cross stitching as I find it helps me by making me productive and keeping my bad feelings at bay as well as helping me relax;

- Listening to music on my iPods as I can put on a different playlist to suit my mood, such as happy songs, motivational music, etc;

- Drawing how I feel or things that resemble the emotions I'm feeling using colours to act as emotions/feelings;

- Taking photos of things that I like to remind me of good things that I like or finding photos on the internet that resemble emotions such as waves crashing or a storm to resemble my depression and 

- Looking at inspirational quotes from books, movies, people and reminding myself that life does get better.


My advice for anyone struggling with depression or other complex mental health issues is:

- Take each day as it comes and try to make the most of it by setting small goals. That may be as simple as eating breakfast or making yourself a coffee or cup of tea or even something more like going for a walk or doing something you enjoy. Little things all add up to bigger things. 
- Find something you enjoy or gives you a sense of purpose or achievement and use it to help you when things get bad. For me, when I was depressed at uni, I'd study as I loved learning and valued education and I really wanted to get my uni degree. It was a goal for me that I wanted to achieve, especially when I had lots of people from friends to doctors to members of my family telling me that this wouldn't be possible because my degree would be useless. That studying actually helped me because I learnt  how to research and find information in many different ways about depression and is still useful over 15 years later.

- Don't be scared to reach out for help if you need it. Call a friend, tell a doctor, call a helpline, visit the SANE forums, just ask for help. It's okay and there is help available. Just tell someone. 
- It's perfectly okay to cry. I struggled to let people see me cry as I thought people would see it as me being weak at first until my uni counsellor told me that crying actually helps release stress and helps your body in many ways.

- Just remember that depression is like the weather. I think of my depression as being like a storm with the rain coming down but I know that deep down, the storm and rain has to pass and that better weather does come along eventually. 
- Don't ever give up. Recovery is possible and can and does happen. You are stronger than you think and you can get through depression. Like Dory from the movie Finding Nemo says  to Nemo when Nemo is trying to find his family "Just keep on swimming". You can do this.



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