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Falling Off and Getting Back on the Road to Recovery

So I wrote an article a few months back when I was first coming to terms with my condition, and how important it was and is to speak up and seek help if you're suffering.

Since then, I've had some very turbulent times that have hit me very hard. One of my friends was taken into hospital following two thankfully unsuccessful suicide attempts, our family cat was killed by a dog, a close relationship I was forming broke down and my parents were divorcing; these events all took place within the space of two weeks.

I had actually started the CBT course I discussed in my last article, but my mind was in turmoil and any sort of difference it could have made was ultimately lost.

To make matters worse, I also managed to get a nasty shoulder injury that really reduced the amount I could go to the gym, which was always a way of treating the symptoms of my depression. I hit a real low that I couldn't shake, and I found myself drifting further away from everyone and everything that brought me any semblance of comfort and support. My sense of self-worth was so low I was finding it hard to go to work, and all I could think about was how much of a burden or complete vacuum of joy I must be to everyone else.

I ended up leaving my job, as I thought my colleagues hated me and I was doing them a favour. I stopped spending time with my close friends because I didn't want to drag them down and I spent a lot of time in bed or alone in my room. I'm sad to say that as this episode went on my thoughts took on a darker form; the ideas and feelings around suicide became a daily occurrence, and I began to take measures and steps to end my life.

In the end, it was actually the shoulder injury that ultimately changed the path I was on. I had begun seeing a physiotherapist before I had begun the downward spiral and he had advised and chased me up on going to the NHS to be referred to a shoulder specialist. So it just so happened that after one physio session I ended up calling my local GP and making an appointment for the shoulder, and I mentioned the depression without going into too much detail.

Luckily my appointment was the same day as I made the call, so I didn't have time to back out or over-think things too much. Now I know the NHS has garnered some negative publicity, but I've had such a positive interaction with them that I can't complain in the slightest. The GP I saw was very compassionate and professional and balanced, listening and giving me the verbal cues to the point where I was able to discuss the plans I had been making.

Following on from that appointment I was given a prescription for anti-depressants and I received a call within hours from the mental health crisis team to check I was ok and to set up a meeting with them. The crisis team were fantastic, and within weeks I went from daily visits to every other day until I was ready to be referred to a different team. They made sure that I took my medication and encouraged me to reach out to friends and family I hadn't seen for a while, which assisted my recovery no end.

It's been about two months since I first went back to the doctors and got back on the road to recovery, and my progress has been incredible. I went from absolutely hopeless without the will to live, to putting myself in incredible life-changing situations. I'm currently in the town of Iten in Kenya, running and weight training at high altitude with one of my best friends having some of the best times I can remember. But I couldn't have done it on my own.

At points I felt like a hypocrite after writing my last article urging people to seek help when I couldn't follow my own advice. I now realise just how right I was before and how important it was for me to reach out again and to make sure I don't isolate myself, as it just gives your demons more power to close the walls in around you.

This entry was incredibly emotional to write, as I haven't revealed any of this to my friends or family but I'm so proud to have it submitted to CALM; I can't think of a better medium to get my words across to others.

I really hope anyone reading this can find some measure of hope and positivity. I've learned that I don't have to suffer alone and neither do you. As cheesy as it sounds, we can make it together.

If you want to read more from Farrell, check out his blog about his mental health battle and passion for athletics and weightlifting.