I’ve had problems with depression since I was a child. People say that your childhood should be the happiest time of your life. For me it was the unhappiest time and I’m often surprised when I occasionally remember something happy. My earliest memories are of my Mum and Dad fighting. I think my Mum had her own emotional problems. Her moods were erratic. She would fly off the handle at any minute and either go into a rage or floods of angry tears. We all felt we had to tread on eggshells around her. My Mum and Dad split up when I was very young, due to my Mum having an affair. My dad was my rock, my buffer between Mum and me. I loved him so much and I was devastated when he left. I still saw my Dad after he left and we continued to have a close relationship, until he met my step-mum and suddenly I was playing second fiddle to her and my new step-sister. I was often caught in the middle of my parents’ power games.
The other thing that was difficult was being brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness, especially when I was kicked out of the religion and cut off from my family. I left home and I went from living in a strict environment, with lots of rules and regulations, to suddenly being able to do exactly what I wanted. I went completely off the rails and started drinking a lot, taking drugs, shoplifting and sleeping around. I also developed an eating disorder and got heavily into debt. I experienced mood swings. Sometimes I would be manically happy and the next I’d be in the depths of despair.
I read “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise L. Hay 19 years ago, when I was 21 and that was really my first step on the path to recovery. From then on I had a fascination with helping myself to get better through positive thinking and spiritual practices and now I’m passionate about helping others to do the same.
In the past, I have been suicidal and tried to take my own life on a number of occasions. I didn’t actually want to die. I just wanted attention. It was a cry for help. I just wanted someone to take care of me. I’ve heard people say, “If someone wants to kill themselves, they would do it properly. They just want attention” and I think “If someone needs attention that badly, they must really need it. Isn’t it better to give them that attention? Show compassion rather than judgement?
I have made huge progress and I attribute this to my spiritual practices, reading various self-help books and taking part in workshops and retreats. I do still get depressed. Luckily it only happens occasionally now and when it does I come out of it again quite quickly, using the various tools I have been blessed with over the years. I am lucky that I’m now in a position where I am fulfilling my dream of having my own business and working as a writer. I would never have been able to do that before. I’m also writing an autobiographical novel.
I was delighted when I met Elizabeth from the Suffolk User Forum and discovered that there was a local charity that was supporting people with mental health problems, who were committed to helping end the stigma and I was determined to get involved. I was even more delighted when I later discovered that the Suffolk User Forum believe in using spirituality to help users overcome mental health problems. I’ve since become a trustee on the board of Directors and I’m excited about what we can do to help others that have mental health problems here in Suffolk.
This article was originally published on https://happinessclubuk.wordpress.com/.