Depression Revisited, it does get better trust me December 20, 2019 Another year has passed and as always it's a time for reflection. We, as people, look back at what we've achieved over the past 12 months and whether it can be deemed as a success. That success can be defined individually and what is most important to you. For some its wealth and material gain, having earned more this year and brought lots of fancy new things, expensive holidays etc. Others it may be pushing theirselves educationally, learning new things and achievements that seemed impossible last year. Maybe it is a combination of a few things. So last year was a steep learning curve for me, mainly on a personal level and I'll touch more on that in another blog post next week, but now I would like to talk about mental health and depression again as it affects lots at Christmas. As a previous blog last year touched upon, I went through a divorce, became a single parent alongside continuing to run my business and I got depressed. I'm not ashamed to admit that either, it was a extremely hard time for me and with the help of several friends I came through it. My focus was spread over several things and as such certain things I let slip. Basically was on auto pilot at work and had no motivation at all, the thought of viewing jobs filled me with dread and I definitely didn't have my usual vigour and enthusiasm I usually do with my work and this of course would carry on at home. To my kids I was fine but each night once they was asleep my mind would race overthinking everything and worrying about the tiniest thing, like what if I can't afford to buy shopping this week, are the kids uniform clean enough, what if I have no work how would I cope and so on. I didn't see a doctor about it at the time although I was a day or two away from doing so. It's not that I felt any shame in seeing one, I spent 12 months supporting someone through their own depression and saw first hand how brilliant our medical professionals are in helping people with mental health issues. I knew that help was at the end of a phone call away and I certainly didn't feel I would be a lesser man in seeking that help out. It was more that something, one day, clicked in me and I saw a better future for me and my children. Yes it's taken me 18 months to get to here and it will take me another 18-24 months to be where I really want me and my family to be at, but the initial baby steps I took last December are bearing fruit. It wasn't until July this year when I truly felt happiness again and believed it was time I can move forward without the weight of what was behind me on my shoulders. I still get low at times, as I think we all do, but I have learned how to cope with it now and not let it define my life.This time of year is hard for a lot of people especially men, the emotional and financial burdens we put ourselves through can be overwhelming for some. Relationship breakdowns, being completely alone, not having their kids Christmas day or even at all over the whole period is truly heartbreaking and mentally tough. Especially when all we see for weeks are those picture perfect Christmas family scenes on tv and people posting on social media what they've got. Remember, you only see on social media the side people want you to see, don't think it's all rosy for them too. I think it can be more demanding on those who are self employed too, as Christmas time and the following weeks are normally a period when earnings are low. Many will reach out on forums to their peers for advice and support. Having people saying you should've put some money aside or I can't believe you don't have this or that in place does not help ok. Do not judge or belittle others because they do not or can not save for whatever reason. A great percentage will live week to week and rely on customers/employers paying promptly. A delay in this can put a huge financial strain on them which leads to their depression increasing, pride in most men will stop them asking for that money too as they think they shouldn't be seen begging to be paid. So if anyone reading this are thinking things are too much, you're at rock bottom with no way out I can tell you from personal experience there is. Things do improve. Right now you don't see it but in time you will look back and see it has massively. But if you are thinking of ending it don't. Talk to someone, anyone, and let them help even if you are scared of opening up. Find things to do that you enjoy, having hobbies really helps. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. I get anxiety going places but have found my own fear is way worse than the actual experience. In fact I've often had the best time when I've dreaded going! In 12 months time you will look back and see how far you've come, from your lowest point and even if you still aren't fully there yet just seeing that is a massive spur.