Opening up to others

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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Becky stubbornly refused to seek help or confide in anyone, so it was only when an acquaintance forced her to talk that she began to turn things around…

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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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Thinking that depression was something which happened to older people, Anna felt ashamed and utterly alone with her feelings.

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A homophobic upbringing meant Craig struggled to come out to his parents and to fully accept himself, leading eventually to drug and alcohol addiction. Inpatient rehab helped him return to uni

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After a tough childhood in the Ukraine, Tomas was suddenly moved to the UK as a teenager and had difficulties relating to his new stepfather and adapting in school. Depression led to a suicide attempt and has affected his studies…

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Having never had significant low feelings before, when Charlie felt low after some stress in his A-level year he hid how he felt from friends and family, but found himself in a worsening downward spiral. When he finally confided in someone it made a big difference…

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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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Growing up as a twin, Keisha struggled to find her own identity and got into the habit of presenting a facade of perfection to hide her depressed feelings. She is starting to learn to open up a bit more to others…

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Low self worth spiralled into depression during Hannah’s first year. Anti-depressant medication and a supportive academic department have helped her continue at uni…

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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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Years of bullying at school led to social anxiety and depression for Megan, who found socialising and making new friends at uni particularly difficult. Having the courage to tell someone how she was feeling helped her seek further support…

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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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Pressured by his parents to study medicine, Hiresh procrastinated and withdrew into isolation and depression. Now enrolled in an arts-based masters, he is challenging depressed habits with the support of his boyfriend…

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After several separate episodes of depression and anxiety starting when his parents split up, part time postgraduate student Will has learnt to accept his depression as a part of him that he needs to learn to live with and manage..

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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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An international PhD student, Alma made a serious suicide attempt in her teens and has battled with depression for most of her life. Intensive therapy has given her tools to help manage her depression and live productively…

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Emily doesn’t feel she has a right to label herself as depressed, despite the persistently self-critical thoughts arising from childhood experiences of being left out of groups at school and a growing sense of being a ‘black sheep’ in her family…

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Both Lucy’s parents have had bouts of depression and her GP says she has ‘bipolar’ tendencies. Her depression and self harm started young, and although she feels she will never be totally free from it she feels she can live a good life and not let it rule her…

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Both Lucy’s parents have had bouts of depression and her GP says she has ‘bipolar’ tendencies. Her depression and self harm started young, and although she feels she will never be totally free from it she feels she can live a good life and not let it rule her…

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During Iona’s most recent episode of depression she needed to plan strategies for keeping herself safe when her suicidal impulses felt overwhelming. Telling others how she felt, medication and CBT have all helped her back onto a more even keel…

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Social isolation and a sudden bereavement triggered depression for Rees on his year abroad, spiralling into increasing anxiety and sudden self harm. He is re-attempting his final year, having finally opened up to his parents…

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Sharon overcame a history including teenage pregnancy and an abusive marriage when a health visitor noticed her depression and encouraged her to join the local Sure Start programme, gradually building confidence so that she now aims to complete a degree…

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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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After an existential crisis at 14, when he started questioning the meaning of life, Rick descended into a downward spiral of depression. Naming the problem and talking to friends, parents and professionals helped him get back on track…

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Mature foreign student Jana suddenly experienced panic attacks while working full time and commuting long hours to college to study for her foundation degree. She found CBT self-help strategies the most useful in moving forward and is now pursuing her studies at university…

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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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A stressful move from primary to secondary school for Emma led to a rapid loss of confidence and vulnerability to depression. Struggling alone she found her mental health increasingly deteriorating into OCD and psychosis. Inpatient care from the adolescent psychiatric team helped her back on track…

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Mia became addicted to self harming as a way to release intense emotional pain. She has since found other ways to cope with her feelings, such as talking to people she can trust or writing her feelings down…

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After a few years experiencing waves of low mood and depression, when he kept asking “what’s the point?”, Rory recently took the step of starting counselling. He wants to encourage others to seek help sooner than he did, and also recommends the benefits of exercise for lifting mood…

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Joelle believes that the pressure she put on herself to be the best at everything contributed to the sudden anxiety and panic disorder she experienced during her GCSEs. This in turn led to depression and a missed year of school. She was able to turn things around step by step, once she made the decision to do so for herself…

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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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A traumatic childhood of deprivation and abuse left Daya vulnerable to severe depression from an early age. With a history of troubled relationships, self harm and suicide attempts, she eventually found sanctuary in a therapeutic community which gave the support she needed to turn her life around.

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Low moods associated with PMT intensified into full-blown depression for PhD student Lauren. She found antidepressants and counselling helpful in moving forward, and would also recommend mindfulness meditation.

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