Too many friends, comrades are suffering in silence, for fear of how others will react to their depression. I too was one of them and it brought me to a place I never believed I would ever go to. The strength of the negativity was so powerful and disabling I had lost control. I was in danger of losing everything I hold most dear to me. I pushed friends , family away and it nearly ended into fatal consequences for me. When I was in despair I welcomed the thought of release no more campaigning, fighting every day those who sought to attack my members and our services and myself, was targeted for hate crime once outside my home and once outside my work place.
Once depression takes hold it takes over and whilst I tried to fight back, I finally ran out of gas. As a dear friend told me I was like a car trying to run on an empty tank.
At that point I could no longer defend myself, I lost control and the feeling of helplessness was really scary, but by then I was past caring.
I think I was lucky, I was strongly encouraged to see my GP. I want to thank again those that made me go, I think I know what would have happened if I hadn't gone.
What have I learnt?
I've learnt lots from others who have been in similar or mostly worse experiences. Sharing is my first step to learning to live with depression. I know just how quickly it can surface and I am trying to learn how to avoid stressful situations (which in Barnet isn't easy) but when I do, I need to develop coping strategies to protect myself so I can continue to support my family my friends and members.
Depression robbed me of the chance to have spent sometime with my childhood friend Craig who passed away earlier this month. He was one of the many close friends I pushed away when I was slowly losing my battle with depression. I am determined not to let that happen again and am actively now contacting my friends again.
I am also keen to help union activists who find themselves burnt out, depressed and helpless of which there are too many. This is going to be one of my projects and if anyone is interested in helping please let me know.
Finally, so much is written about depression but I find spoken word in itself is never enough. This morning someone shared a World Health Organisation (WHO) video about Depression. It is brilliant and I would encourage everyone to share it far and wide.
Wishing everyone good mental health.