People with depression talk about their experiences in seeking professional support and treatment.
Wendy - I now see the psychologist to help me to learn other ways of coping with the way I see things. To look at strategies and better ways to cope with situations.
Carole and Scott - Scott's doctors have been very good, in terms of including me as well. Especially in the early days when Scott was so unwell, we'd have regular meeting to see how it was going and what do we need to do to work together. Scott can contact him after hours or on weekends, if there is an emergency.
Matt - I don't feel the need to do something like that, to see a counsellor or something. I have people that I can talk to, if talking things out is an issue. It's not really a problem for me. It's obviously quite viable, but in my particular case I don't feel that it's necessary.
Carole and Scott - You just have to recruit help from wherever you can. When he was in his worst phase, he'd be seeing someone nearly every day. He was seeing a psychiatrist twice per week. He was seeing a counsellor as well. He was seeing a vicar at the local church for support.
Richard - I went with a kind of positive attitude, but I was also thinking that I was in a very bad situation and something needs to be done. So, I was quite committed to the idea.
Wendy - There's no way that you can talk about the very deep and intimate things you need to talk about to try to deal with the depression, if you don't feel confident with the person. There's just no point, you're wasting their time, you're wasting your time. It's really important that you shop around.
Richard - The woman that I ended up seeing was extremely helpful, essentially because I got along with her.
Carole and Scott - I was receiving some psychotherapy. That psychotherapy went very, very badly. Largely, I think, because of the incompetence of the person involved, unfortunately. That lead to a very, very severe breakdown, and I was hospitalised.
Helen - I thing in the same way that you can't just pick up one drug and drop it and try another. You've got to give someone a reasonable chance, to see if that's the right thing.
Wendy - Eventually I realised that the depression... the techniques that we were trying weren't getting me there. My psychiatrist explained it to me that if I had a broken limb or something, I would get a splint put on it or a crutch or something. That I should look at the medication like that; it's a crutch to heal the other problems in my life. Without it, I'm trying to fight the problems, and I just don't have the strength to get beyond it.
Carole and Scott - I'm receiving psychotherapy and I'm on large doses of medication. But I don't respond to medication particularly well. I think it does make some sort of difference and it does make life easier.
Richard - I was very concerned that I'd start to feel ludicrously happy for no particular reason and that I'd start to feel some sort of euphoria. But that's not how it works at all. In fact, I remain the same person, having the same thoughts, almost. With the exception that some of the more disastrous thinking about suicide, I'm relieved from that. That no longer occurs with such intensity.
Helen - I have tried a number of different medications and some of them had difficult side-effects. So, I've changed medications in order to be able to minimise the side-effects. I've played around with the dosage, with the encouragement of the psychiatrist that I go to.
Matt - I'm only on a small dose of anti-depressant. I found, initially, that it was making me quite tense and a little bit erratic, but that seems to have settled down a bit. At the moment it all feels pretty good, but I'm not sure what would happen if I went off it; which is something that I'll try and do at some stage.
Helen - I received ECT, which is totally painless, and in my case, seemed completely miraculous. After the ECT, my husband said he would never forget me just getting up out of bed and walking to the toilet and saying, 'Where am I and what am I doing here?"
Carole and Scott - I had eight treatments in all, and they discontinued them because I was getting very confused and they didn't seem to be doing any good. But, I suppose, 4-6 weeks after that, I noticed some improvements happening. I can't really explain them, and I don't think they're directly related to the ECT. I think they have more to do with calling on my own resources and maybe putting my foot down and saying that I'm not having that again - particularly if it doesn't work.
Helen - Recovering from a severe depression like that, the easy bit is being in hospital and being looked after and feeling out of it. The hard part is when you have to come out, it's like you have to start building your life and yourself again, brick by brick.
Carole and Scott - While I would encourage anyone who is suffering from a mental illness to get it checked out and get all the medical treatment that they can, I don't think that medical treatment can ever be the total answer.
Helen - Your depression is part of you. If you've lived with that for years and years, then the drug may change something about the depression, but it doesn't change you. You're still there and you're still left with your habitual ways of dealing with things.
Carole and Scott - When you've been through a very deep experience of mental illness, recovery is always an ongoing thing.