My name is Oisín, I am studying at AIT and a few years ago I was diagnosed with depression. Depression is a very incapacitating and damaging illness, but over the years I have learned different methods and developed different strategies to help make it much more bearable and manageable.
I have dealt with depression for as long as I can remember, and used to think of my bouts of it as “bad streaks” of sadness and frustration that would pass eventually. However, in my late teens these bad streaks became longer and much more severe, and I found myself in a depressed state that lasted more than a year and a half. At its worst, daily tasks as simple as making tea, doing classwork or even getting out of bed became near impossible struggles. I didn’t seek help during this period, but it eventually passed. A few years later, I found myself becoming more and more depressed again. I became extremely anxious, fearing that this episode would be as long and debilitating as the last one. I finally made the best decision of my life so far and decided to ask for help. I called the hotline for The Samaritans, who recommended I visited my GP. So I did.
My doctor was extremely understanding and empathetic, we chatted for ages about how I was feeling and what I was going through. He said what was happening to me was definitely clinical depression, and eventually after more chatting he called my parents down to talk about it with me. He helped my open up about it to my family and recommended that I open up to my friends about it too. Talking about it to those close to me relieved the stress and constant pressure I felt. That really helped lift my mood immensely. He even organised a counsellor for me to visit and gave me tips and information on how to seek further counselling in college. I found the counselling to be a life-saving intervention, as at this time my thoughts had become suicidal.
Since then I have developed my coping skills to help combat depression. These methods vary from playing guitar to going for a jog, to simply talking to my close friends and family about my experiences and feelings. Simply opening up to loved ones is, in my opinion, is the best and most uplifting way of improving your mood. While I still struggle from time to time, these days I have gained the knowledge and skills from the help that I have gotten, to deal with these depressive episodes when they crop up.
I’m now in college and really enjoying life again. I started playing music with two of my mates, and started AIT’s mental health society with my friends. While depression is a serious and devastating illness, and though I do still go through difficult periods. I have found that if you find professional help and find your own ways to fight it, staying positive and being happy will come back to you naturally in time.
At one point I never thought this would happen but once I took the step of seeking help, things started to get better.
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