Abuse

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Racist bullying and isolation brought about severe depression and suicide attempts for Angus, but he now channels his feelings into his creative pursuits and studies and vows to resist the depression so his tormentors will never 'win'.

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Mark was used to avoiding or ridiculing the feelings engendered by his insecure and abusive childhood, mainly through alcohol abuse or large amounts of time spent on video games. Counselling has helped him start to acknowledge and deal with his feelings when they occur.

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