Next week I have my last therapy session in the UK. Though I have been receiving on-and-off treatment for about eight years now, I have never had to face the idea of finishing therapy like this before. I wanted to write about my feelings towards it, what the treatment process was like, and what I plan to do next. I also want to share some of the things I’ve learned from therapy and give you my best mental health tips.
A persisting low mood, loss of interests, declining self-esteem and little energy to do things – it can happen to anyone. Depression is a common mental illness that affects about one in ten people in the UK, according to the NHS. Causes may vary, but one thing is certain: depression does not discriminate.
Unfortunately, people with depression are often misunderstood and have to deal with many hurtful comments about what is essentially an invisible but very serious illness. Nevertheless, a healthy support network can make a world of difference for a person with depression. So how can you help someone cope? And what should you most certainly not do?
I have drawn up a number of tips from years of dealing with depression. These include things people have said to me that were not helpful, and things people have done that were helpful. What I want to emphasise most of all is that depression can be very hard – not just on the person themselves, but also on their surroundings – but that you can help someone a long way even with the tiniest gestures.
Also, please always bear in mind that you are not a professional and it is not your job to “fix” the other person: all you can do is be there for them. At the bottom of this post I have listed some resources that can help when you or another person is having a hard time.
Lately I have noticed a modern issue become addressed more and more often: people are struggling to balance work and personal life. Flexible hours for work may sound like sweet freedom, but it can actually be a terrible trap. So now, many of us are having to look for healthy work habits while we keep our mental health intact.
Whenever this question comes up on my Twitter timeline, I start typing out advice as if my life depends on it. Throughout my years of coping with mental illness, I have had to develop sturdy methods of self-care and strong coping mechanisms. I have learned to protect myself in all sorts of ways, and now I am very glad that I can share a wide range of tips and methods with other people who are struggling.
This blog post may help you if: you are a student or employee with flexible hours, you find it difficult to separate your work from your personal life, you are self-employed/a freelancer, you struggle to balance work with your mental health, you have additional needs. Continue reading