Andy's Story: "I am now much more in the present"

On the surface I had the perfect life — beautiful wife, two amazing kids, great job, nice house and car.

I did have a lot of good times but I also had lows and the more of those I experienced, the more I became depressed by them. I began to think that there was nothing I could do — that there must be something wrong with me. It was always that despair that led to the depression. I had heard that Mindfulness— based Cognitive Therapy had helped a number of people deal with the low and was recommended the book The Mindful way through Depression. As I started to read it, it made complete sense — a real ‘aha' moment.

A mindfulness course was the natural progression from reading the book and I really wanted the motivation of being with others rather than doing
it alone. The course itself was made up of about 25 ordinary people, mostly 30-somethings. If you clapped eyes on them in the street or worked with them, you would probably have no idea that they had suffered from depression.

You are not trying to fix anything but instead just being aware of how you are feeling; what your thoughts are and what you are doing — without trying to change it. Normally, when I felt low, I would be trying to talk myself out of it in my mind — constantly arguing with myself that there were
all these reasons why I shouldn't feel depressed, but all these thoughts just made it worse. My number one strategy for sorting myself out had actually had the opposite effect. Mindfulness is a new habit that has broken the circle of depression; it enables me to be mindful of how I am feeling rather than judging it.

My life is a million times better now. I still have times when I feel down but that's normal and it doesn't cripple me anymore. I am now much more in the present — if I am playing with the kids, I will truly be there with them, playing the game rather than stuck in my head.