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"Don’t hide your depression and expect it to go away."

About Jonathan:jonathan-profile

I’m a 46 year old ex-lawyer now working for an administrative appeal tribunal.  I’m married with two children. When I had my worst depression, I was married but didn’t have kids.

What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

I was driving back to the office after appearing in court.  As I drove down a fairly steep hill, I thought “If I just took my foot off the brake, I could steer into oncoming traffic and kill myself.” That was when I realized I was in bad shape. Instead of turning right to go back to the office, I turned left and went to the hospital.

What are some things that really helped?

Getting help.  

  • This is the big one. You have to realize there’s a problem first, then get help – from a doctor, from a counsellor, or from a hospital.  Professionals know how to solve the problem of depression when you don’t.

Having a routine to follow.

  • When I was depressed, I didn’t want to do anything, and couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do, but if I had something “scheduled” then it gave shape to my day and got me moving.  The sense of accomplishment from completing a task, no matter how minor, was also very helpful.

Getting exercise.  

  • It wasn’t always easy to go out for a walk, but once I did, I felt a lot better.

Having and spending time with supportive friends and family.  

  • Again, it often seemed like it wouldn’t be worth while, or like I just didn’t want to see anyone, but once I saw them, I usually felt better afterwards.

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

Don’t hide your depression and expect it to go away.  Don’t make contingent plans to seek help (like, “After such-and-such happens, I’ll go to my doctor”) – nothing’s more important than your mental health.  There’s lots of help out there, but you need to recognize that you need it before it can help you.

– Jonathan, ex-lawyer now working for an administrative appeal tribunal based out of B.C, Canada. Hear more from Jonathan and Jennifer’s story video.

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