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"You're not alone and asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do."

About Nick:

I’ve lived with treatment-resistant depression for over a decade. I’m in my early thirties and work as both a psychiatrist and an entrepreneur. The business I have co-founded, Minderful, is a mental fitness platform that aims to change how people look after their minds.

Nick’s Story

NickWHAT WAS THE MAJOR TURNING POINT IN YOUR RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION?

There have been many, but I feel the most significant one for me was accepting that being on medication was for the long term and probably for life.

A typical sequence of events in my twenties would be:

  1. I’d struggle alone (both proudly and desperately) for about three months.
  2. Cracks would then begin to appear. My family would notice I was struggling and actively support me in getting professional help.
  3. I’d then begin taking prescribed medication (and sometimes take part in talking therapy). It would then take me anywhere between three and nine months to recover.
  4. After a good spell of feeling well (which was normally during the summer), I’d stop taking medication, insisting that I could continue to thrive through sheer willpower alone.
  5. I’d then find myself struggling again, and so the cycle would continue…

It took me over eight years and six severe episodes of depression (and the completion of a medical degree!) to learn that I needed medication for the rest of my life.

Accepting medication as a core element of my mental fitness programme was huge for me, but having said that, it’s one of a whole range of diverse elements that have kept me mentally well for the last two years. This has been the longest period of good health I’ve had since I turned 21 years old.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

I have my own mental fitness programme made up of over 40 elements. Here are my top five:

  1. Be open and frank with the person you most love.
    • Use the time when you’re well to create some rules and identify early signs of ill health with people close to you – write them down.
  2. Accept your need for long-term medication if necessary. 
    • If you have experienced severe and persistent episodes of depression, it’s really worth considering medication. It’s important to try and accept that medication can be a necessary and positive part of your journey.
  3. Consider your body temperature. 
    • I find both cold water swimming and hot baths have a big impact on my mood, so I’ll have a hot bath or a cold shower every day.
  4. Track your mood. 
    • I keep a record of my mood on a daily to weekly basis using a platform called Moodscope. This helps me identify how my mood might be trending before anything severe happens.
  5. Stretch.
    • For me stretching is a broad term that includes back rubs, stretching my hamstrings, or even yoga – it’s all about finding what works and embracing how good it can feel to soothe your muscles. For me, a couple of minutes three to four times a day is perfect.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING DEPRESSION?

You’re not alone and asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do.

– Nick, Co-Founder, Minderful. London, UK.

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