Self-care/compassion

Mike relates his depression back to living as a black child in an area of the country with very little cultural diversity and experiencing a lot of bullying.

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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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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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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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When depression hit for a second time, postgraduate student Sarah felt like she couldn’t face trying to get better again. Anti-depressants lifted her mood enough for counselling sessions to start making a real difference…

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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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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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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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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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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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Bullying, a bad accident, and a mother with mental illness contributed to Martha’s depression and suicide attempt at 16. Professional help through the mental health services have helped her learn coping strategies to manage her overwhelming feelings and give up a variety of self harming behaviours…

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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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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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Hospitalised at 12 for suicidal intent after her father’s unacknowledged mental illness made home life unbearable, Mina gradually took control over the depression which still sometimes affects her and now describes herself as a basically happy person.

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Harry’s upbringing was significantly affected by his father’s undiagnosed bipolar disorder. His own severe and long-standing depression has been eased mainly through long-term cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) from his university counselling service.

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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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