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  • Writer's pictureBob Lepper



These are not really tips as such (we are all different) but just some thoughts on my current experiences of depression and anxiety. I am 62 and have a 'label of chronic depression but had always functioned reasonably well, holding down a full-time job, etc. Last August returning to work after a two week holiday I went into meltdown. I know doctors don't use the term 'breakdown’ but that's exactly what it was. I had a fairly disastrous return to work just before Christmas and have not worked since and have begun the process of retirement. Here is what I wanted to share:

The meltdown was sudden but getting better seems so slow. I have good days and bad days. I try to focus on the positives which is hard as the negative feelings seem much stronger.

There are different views on medication, I know, but I have found anti-depressants helpful. I would not hesitate to take 'tablets’ for a physical problem so why not for a mental health one? If you are prescribed anti-depressants remember they take time to work and suddenly stopping them can be disastrous.

I try to set achievable goals each day, polishing all my shoes might sound fairly boring but it meant I was not just giving up.

Really difficult when all you see is 'happy’ people around but trying to go out each day is good. I sometimes thought everybody in the shops was looking at me but this is London and people don't do that!

Avoid over-thinking (doctors call it ruminating). Trying to work out what had gone wrong for me did more harm than good. I didn't have loads of support but looking back on the last few months if I had had maybe 10 people a day ringing up asking 'How are you Bob?’ I think that would have driven me even more 'crazy’ than I was!

Avoid illicit drugs and alcohol. As my mum used to say 'you never find the answer at the bottom of a glass’.

I have found things like jigsaws (easy ones!) a lifeline. They are expensive but charity shops often stock them. Word games can be good: I recommend word chums on line. It's basically like Scrabble but the Chumbots are cool and make silly noises if you score a good word or your opponent does.

Online or in leaflets there is plenty of advice about diet, sleep and excercise. I have singularly failed to join a gym or go swimming so it's a case here of ‘do what I say‘ not 'do what I do!’ Seriously the body and mind are linked so caring for the body has benefits for the mind.

Several times when I was very distressed I called the Samiritans who were fantastic. You don't need to be suicidal to ring them.

Don't want to end with platitudes or cliches but, in closing, I would say if you are going through what seems (and is) scary and dark you need patience and to stop beating yourself up.


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