Chris’ Story

I’m too much of a scaredy cat to do a video post so I said I’d write a post instead…. I am a father of three (Lanky, Brains and Boo) and I am presently working in IT. I’ve worked in IT for nigh on 20-odd years (I lose count) and prior to that I worked in Mental Health which is where I met my wife, Amanda.

In terms of mental health issues, I have in the past suffered greatly with depression. I also have fairly massive anxiety issues as well (the two often go hand in hand). About four years ago I had what is commonly described as a breakdown. At that time, I honestly knew (and couldn’t be convinced otherwise) that I was of no use to anyone. I was a failure as a husband, a father and a friend. I knew that everyone would be better off if I weren’t around. As a result, I did that classic thing where I started to cut people out so they didn’t have to suffer my uselessness or see me.

I thought I was somehow doing them a favour. Being depressed isn’t feeling sad. It’s feeling everything without any barriers or protection and at the same time being unable to show how you are feeling. It’s like being in a suit of armour growing every tighter and closer until you can’t breathe. It’s screaming inside yourself for help but being absolutely unable to say the words. It’s knowing with absolute certainty that you’re almost not real, that you don’t think or feel like normal people, that you are somehow terribly wrong. It’s despairing that no one can see it; that no one hears the screams.

Now though… I’m way better. I still panic about pretty much everything but I’ve coping mechanisms in place. I’m with my family and that gives me worth. I took tablets and I went to counselling. One good thing to come out of all the above is that I have realised how wonderful my circle of friends are. There are people out there who never gave up on me; who persevered with me when I was unable to give a thing back. They are people who, when I felt like an astronaut cut free from his tether, grabbed hold and pulled me in. They don’t even know they did it.

In my picture I am holding a photo of Amanda, Sam, Thomas and my Boo. They are my why and my how. When things ever get on top of me, I think of them and it somehow gets easier.

If anyone reading this thinks their friend or relation is depressed then trust me, they know they’re of no worth. You won’t convince them otherwise. What you must do though is just keep plugging away. Tell them what you see. When they come around, they’ll remember that. They’ll remember every kindness you did them. It will help.

And if you think that in some tiny way you might be depressed then, trust me, you are. If you’re cutting people or places out and making your world smaller, then you are. If even walking down stairs is a heroic effort, then you are. Go to see your doctor. Let your friends mither you. Allow yourself to fall. Somewhere, somehow, someone will catch you.