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Mental Health: Love is All Around

“I’m treating you for severe depression”….words I never thought would be said to me in a million years.

My names Danny Martin and to a lot of people I’m known as Sinbad. A happy go lucky, first on karaoke, loudest person in the room type of person. So to find myself sat in a GP surgery being told that I’ve scored in all but one of the sections for depression was life-changing.

"Change is not merely necessary to life - it is life."

-Alvin Toffler

I had never suffered with my mental health. I had seen in the media of others who had suffered and others who had struggled and I was quite ignorant to it. I never believed it could or would happen to me and I suppose until it did, I wasn’t too sure of how it could happen to anyone else. Then, one night I was sat in a McDonald’s car park with my son and they hadn’t put a toy in his happy meal. He didn’t care but I broke down. I was inconsolable and unable to stop to crying. I realised this wasn’t right, this wasn’t me; more importantly, this wasn’t an isolated incident. I had found myself getting upset or angry at the slightest things and had no idea why. Then my GP explained everything to me. I had let a lot build up over a course of 18 months and was unable to bury it anymore. From suffering a near death experience to on-going family issues I had reached my limit. I was diagnosed with severe depression and from there my road to recovery begun.

"There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man."

-Sean Connery

I could say that sending me home with a repeat prescription for Fluoxetine sorted me out and cured everything. It didn’t. It helped knowing I had been diagnosed with an actual condition and was being assisted, but the truth is that if I didn’t have the understanding of friends, family and a wider support network then I don’t think I would have got through it. As I mentioned above, I’m often the loudest in the room. I need company, I need conversation but how can I talk about what I’m going through to these people? How will I be judged?

"You always get judged on your last game. Whoever you are, or how amazing you are, it's the last game that everyone has seen."

-Thierry Henry

I need not have worried; I wasn’t judged and I wasn’t treated differently. I was just made aware in no uncertain terms I was not alone. I had help and support whenever it was required. That helped me more than I could have ever imagined. I cannot understate how important it was to have a support network and just people to talk to if I needed. Talking and communicating is a more effective recovery tool than any medicine for me, so I was extremely concerned when we were put on national lock-down earlier this year and I was placed on furlough for 3 months from work.

"There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing."

-Robert Burns

Luckily, I was kept busy as I was looking after my two children. But despite the home schooling and keeping up with Joe Wicks I was starting to struggle again. Therefore, I was so grateful that I had a strong network of friends and family who all insisted on daily and weekly group chats over zoom/messenger. Our Saturday night quizzes became a highlight and offered so much more than a weekly round of general knowledge. It was a chance to talk. A chance to offload and most importantly it was a chance to be there for each other and offer support when it was needed most. I never truly understood the benefits of talking. I never really needed to until I had to. However, I cannot stress enough how much I was helped by this and how much I know it helped people closest to me.

"A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love."

-Max Muller

It can be hard, I know that. You may not know how to raise the subject. How to bring up to your friends or family you may be struggling. Please do. Especially now it the hardest of times for many. Speak up. Speak to anybody. Anybody who will listen and see the difference. Lock-down is not easy and can feel lonely and you can feel isolated. I know I did. You are not alone and people will listen.

Its not easy and it’s one day at a time for a lot of people, me included. However my personal struggles have eased by speaking up and speaking out. I’m not ashamed and nor should you be. Communication is key and this cannot be understated. Depression can be beaten if we talk to each other and we listen. I’m always available to talk given my own struggles and I know many others are too. Find someone who will listen and talk. It will get better. I promise.

“Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.”

– Rocky Balboa

Thank you for reading

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