Depression and how to live with it – Tanya’s story

At some point in our lives around one in ten people will suffer from depression. There is no set demographic; male, female, young or old can all suffer.

“All I can remember is opening my eyes and realising I wasn’t hurt. I had just driven my car into a tree – deliberately. When I left the house that morning it was like any other day, I didn’t make a conscious decision to try and kill myself, it just happened.”

Tanya tells us of her way of coping with her depression; how she was diagnosed and how that led to her recovery.

Find out more about depression here – including how to recognise it.

Feeling alone

I loved my job looking after people, it was all I cared about but I didn’t realise how much of a toll it was taking on my body both physically and mentally.

Some senior members of staff were bullying me but even though I told my colleagues nothing was done about it and I just felt ignored. Work for me was everything, when I took some time off for an operation I was so concerned about it that I think I did 22 hours straight on my first day back.

When I look back now I realise that I had become bad-tempered and tetchy. I felt alone and exhausted. I had started taking anti-depressants – but something really still wasn’t right.

I thought it would be a good idea to go to a yoga class to see if that would help, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. The trigger for my actions was an ambulance. It whizzed past me, its sirens wailing and I just snapped.

None of it made sense but my thoughts were all over the place. I didn’t even think that I might die, I was just completely overwrought. All I could think was to punish my colleagues in some way for how they had treated me.

It was not even a conscious thought. I just pressed down hard on the accelerator and aimed the car toward a tree. By some miracle, the car spun and I wasn’t harmed. I broke down and cried. Sobbing and shaking, I never believed I could ever do anything like that to myself.

The treatment and being an in-patient

Being admitted into a hospital with a mental health issue has a stigma to it even now, but the hospital where I was treated wasn’t at all like I had envisaged it would be.

It didn’t feel like a hospital at all. The psychiatric nurses and therapists were amazing, extremely talented and caring and I felt safe.

Recovering from depression

I was really fortunate to have private healthcare through work but I regret that mental health issues had never been spoken about as I may have been able to realise that I needed help earlier.

As a private patient, I was seen quickly and the anxiety was removed around obtaining treatment so I could concentrate on recovering and re-taking charge of my life.

A number of different treatments were offered to me and it really helped that the worry was taken out of how, where or when I received them.

Speak out about mental health

Mental health needs to be spoken about more. We shouldn’t be worried about asking for help and it is the responsibility of everyone to be more aware and give help to anyone who reaches out to us about their problems. No-one should suffer alone.

We need to realise that we are not superhuman and things do affect us. We shouldn’t just keep on going. And employers need to be more tuned into mental health issues and recognise that it is just as serious as physical health. If someone has the courage to speak out then they should be allowed to be heard.

Life does go on after depression or a mental breakdown. Be reassured that you can feel better and there are people who are trained to help you. Please don’t try and cope by yourself, you must ask for help. I did and I succeeded in turning my mental health around – you can too.

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