Kelly's story: Overcoming depression

I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. As a teenager I had no idea that I had depression. I kept my feelings of deep sadness, loneliness and the feeling of being worthless to myself for many years. I coped with these feelings by cutting my arms and by keeping a diary of my thoughts.

By the time I had reached the end of University I had taken an overdose of tablets which was a cry of desperation. I was hospitalised for the night but chose to discharge myself. It was only at this time that my family and friends began to learn of my illness. Still, I chose to try and hide it from everyone. I felt that there was something wrong with me and I was ashamed of the way I was.

After losing my job and a good friend I made through university I hit rock bottom again. I managed to pick myself up again by volunteering in an orphanage in Romania. This gave me a sense of self worth again and allowed me to see that I was wasting so many opportunities in life.

Eventually I managed to get a job again as a teacher and was given anti-depressants by the doctor which I felt helped me for a short time. For the next 10 years or so I tried various anti-depressants and seemed to be on countless waiting lists to see a counsellor. Still ashamed of the way I was I kept all this hidden from my family as best I could.

I began to suffer from panic attacks at work and when I went out and it was impossible to hide my illness from everyone. After what I consider to be a mental breakdown I knew things had to change. In the last couple of years I have found the courage to talk to my friends about my depression and I have been so fortunate to have such amazing friends that have seen me through the difficult times, never judged me and encouraged me to seek help.

After feeling let down from the NHS I decided to pay privately and saw a psychiatrist who has diagnosed me with moderate depression and anxiety. I am on two different anti-depressants and see a private counsellor each week. I still get scared of having depression as I know it will always be there but I am finally beginning to accept it and no longer feel ashamed of the illness.