FYI – Why am I writing this blog post?
1. To show people how others are affected by the horrible disease that is depression – from anxiety, to panic attacks, right up to suicide.
2. To help those suffering from this horrible affliction by demonstrating that people from all walks of life experience this (70% of population of Ireland suffer from anxiety according to Rachel below).
3. Hopefully demonstrate that there is a way to deal with all of this from the sufferer’s point of view to those trying to help them.
As I work in the media industry, they contact me from time to time to interview people in certain professions. On Tuesday, the production team at Cork’s 96FM were in touch to see if we had any clients or contacts in the mental health area to bring on to their show called ‘The Opinion Line’, on Wednesday.
Having worked with St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services Dean Clinic before, they were my first port of call. Then I thought it would be a great idea to have someone who suffers from mental health problems as part of the conversation, so I contacted an old school friend of mine Sinead O’Callaghan who has been brave enough to document her mental health journey on the blog Another Voice. The third item I thought would round it off nicely was looking at it from a youth perspective and I contacted one of my oldest and dearest friends Olive who is Clinical Coordinator at Jigsaw Kerry – The Irish National Centre for Youth Mental Health – and nicely enough they are expanding in to Cork this year.
St. Pats and Sinead were brought on (keeping it in the adult sphere) and when I listened I have to say I was on the brink of tears throughout – it was so emotional to hear the stories of those suffering from this incapacitating disease.
The whole conversation came from a video that was posted online by actress and Founder/CEO of the Irish Film Academy, Rachel Sarah Murphy (she played Jo Fahey in Fair City for those of you that watched it). The video entitled ‘Panic Attack’ was posted online by Sarah on 2nd February 2017 and went viral. Instead of explaining it to you, watch the link to it below.
So as a result of that, the production team at Cork’s 96FM wanted to hear from other advocates or experts in that area and hence my aforementioned suggestions.
Olive didn’t make the cut due to delays on the segment and time constraints on her part but I might get on to her at a later date to help me write something on youths and mental health issues that arise there, how we can identify them, help the youths and work with them to overcome this horrific affliction.
So have a listen here to Rachel and Sinead’s stories and the piece from the point of view of St. Pats on Cork’s 96FM. It’s so insightful and useful for anyone experiencing these issues or for those that have friends or family that are going through it. (Scroll to 1:22:12)
Now I’m no expert in this area – no one is in fact (we are all always learning), but here are some tips from what I’ve learned from all the various sources over the years be it clients, friends, those in the public eye, experiences or whatever!
How can you deal with your own depression?
As you heard, there are techniques to try and help people through a panic attack, anxiety or ongoing depression. Here are some suggestions:
- Train your mind, through meditation and breathing
- The Medicine route – anti-depressants – talk to your GP
- Counselling – be it psychology, psychotherapy or counselling of some sort. Again your GP will recommend or do some research on the type of help you might need.
- Other options such as acupuncture – here’s a good article recommended by Hayley Power – https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/02/new-data-supports-acupuncture-treatment-depression/
- Or a combination of all of the above.
What I would say too is, a lot of people still think there is a stigma with depression and there probably is, but you know what, I think if you want to tell someone, tell them. If your friends and family love you and have the mental capacity themselves to be able to help you through it or just be there, then take that support. Be aware though that some of them may also be suffering from this disease, but not in a place to be able to tell you and may distance themselves as they simply cannot take on helping you through it when they are trying to deal with it themselves. Those that can support you will and those that can’t will be there when they are able to.
Most of all, as Rachel says ‘Don’t give up hope’…..
But do seek help I say!
How can you help someone through depression?
- Be there – if you can!
If you know someone dealing with depression and you are capable of being there for them, then all you can do is let them know you are there for them, give them a text, a call, pop over to their house (give them a heads up beforehand), make them a cuppa, bring them some food, give them a hug, tell them a joke, listen, learn. Anything healthy that has worked for your relationship in the past should work during their depression too.
- Understand that they are not ignoring you for anything you have done.
People suffering from depression tend to cut themselves off from the world from time to time, be it that they just need some time alone, they don’t have the energy to talk, they don’t have the wherewithal to interact, or they don’t want to burden you.
If you find a person shutting you out, don’t take offense, just let them know you are there if they need you and check in if you can every now and then.
- Don’t Judge them
Don’t judge them for having depression – it is a disease, it is an affliction, it is not really in their control. As I always say, you can’t help how you feel but you can help how you deal with it and trust me people suffering with depression generally are dealing with it be it through medication, counselling or alternative methods.
Also, if they don’t want to do anything and want to chill, let them chill, let them deal with what they are dealing with. Energy levels get zapped when someone is depressed so just keep that in mind.
And again, most of all, as Rachel says ‘Don’t give up hope’!
Look after each other no matter what! We are all human, we are not robots and we need each other.
If you found this helpful and are dealing with mental health issues, give me a ping and I’ll try and help put you in the right hands to help you through it.
Sending you all lots of virtual hugs! xxx