Learning from depression

Having always thought needing to talk to someone made you ‘weak’, Darren now says that going for counselling was the best thing he ever did…

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Aged 30 and a student for the first time, after a difficult childhood and lifelong bouts of depression, Tonya feels on top of her depression much of the time – though it can still affect her on occasion.

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Moving to a new country allowed Kristy finally to shake off the depressed habits she had got stuck in…

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For Gareth, depression also brings anxiety and paranoia. Undiagnosed dyslexia and other learning difficulties meant he was in his mid-20s when he first went to university.

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Fayola believes that being a sensitive, emotionally tuned-in person makes her vulnerable to the low mood and depression which has affected her since her mid-teens.

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Elena is still working on overcoming her depression, but she is no longer concerned about suicide and feels that she has learnt how to manage the depression better.

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Safa found it particularly difficult not having an understandable explanation for the depression affecting her, and at one stage also battled with an eating disorder.

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Severe bullying at school and betrayal by a best friend meant that Ben came to hate himself and found it very hard to trust others. He came close to suicide but is proud of building his life back up again.

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Bullying at school set Katie off in a downward spiral towards a suicide attempt at 17. Following a bout of chronic fatigue syndrome she has learnt what helps her combat both CFS and depression…

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After bouts of depression during 6th form and at uni, Andy found counselling to be a revelation despite initial scepticism, helping him recognise how earlier experiences had affected him…

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Missing home at the start of his first year, Daniel found himself increasingly severely affected by low mood triggered by unhappiness on his course and relationship difficulties. He is proud of successfully tackling things without using anti-depressants…

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A shy person from a close-knit family, James found the move away to his second choice university and course triggered a downward spiral into depression. He hopes the story of his experience will help others challenge their resistance to seeking help…

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Racism and confusion over her mixed-race identity gave depression a way in to Leigh’s life. Grief over a miscarriage more recently ‘pushed her to the edge’, but she has found several creative strategies for moving forward…

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A high achieving international student with previous anxiety issues, Aron slumped into persistent low mood during an ongoing conflict with a housemate. Counselling has helped him understand better the contributing personal and family dynamics…

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A tendency to social isolation and harsh self criticism left Ed vulnerable to spiralling depression, culminating in an existential crisis. From this low point he began to seek out the meaning in life, broke his isolation and found many strategies for keeping depression at bay…

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Depression runs in Gina’s family and bullying throughout school left her with low self esteem and vulnerable to depression and self harm. After starting well, she relapsed at uni but sought help and has stabilised through counselling and medication…

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Coming out as gay early in secondary school added to the effects of a turbulent family life for Dani, who turned to daily self harm to cope with her self loathing and depression. Counselling and the support of friends and her partner has helped her turn things around…

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Postgrad international student Joshua has battled insecurity and self-loathing developed over a lifetime of comparison with a high-achieving elder sibling, but in recent years has started to replace depressive rumination with compassionate self-understanding…

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Nicky was a painfully shy child who was then bullied at secondary school. After many years of self harming in a variety of ways, she was finally able to seek help herself and build a support network at university, including a mentor funded by the Disabled Student’s Allowance…

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PhD student Dave learnt to bottle up his feelings at an early age, leaving him vulnerable to peer pressure and lacking his own identity. Depression in his second year led to him dropping out and starting on a new course after clarifying his life values and building more supportive relationships with friends and family…

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Zoe’s long-standing habit of perfectionism and the resulting anxiety and self-criticism made her vulnerable to depression, which was eventually triggered by a build up of stress over unpleasant accommodation. She suddenly felt cut off from reality, but medication and self help have helped her back on track…

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Isobel’s childhood was hugely impacted by having to cope with a single parent mum with severe depression. Counselling at uni helped her acknowledge and come to terms with the impact this had. She has many tips for self help strategies to combat both depression and the legacy of childhood difficulties…

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After years of worsening depression due to performance pressures amongst other things, Dean feels that finally seeking help from his GP in the final year of his undergraduate degree was the best thing he ever did. He encourages others to keep trying different options until they find what works for them…

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After suffering serious physical abuse from an alcoholic mother and losing his home, Pete has had to fight hard for his education and is embarking on his first year at uni after successfully completing a college Access course…

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Several traumatic incidents and a difficult bereavement left Donna battling depression and post-traumatic stress, but with the help of religious faith and a determination not to be defeated she now describes herself as happy, strong and confident.

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International PhD student Yasmine describes depression as a sign to oneself that things need to change. Medication, counselling and a determined commitment to working on her own wellbeing have turned things around for her after a serious bout of clinical depression.

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