I was diagnosed with depression during my final year of medical school. Since then it’s been a struggle of relapses and recovery. Sharing my story makes things easier. If I tell you my experience it’s easier for you to share yours.
I remember I wrote a sort of suicide note when I was 12. At that age I self-harmed as well. I didn’t speak to anyone about how I was feeling. What was I going to say?
That was the first time I started feeling something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what it was. Even at medical school, I still couldn’t figure it out.
My name is Richard and I’m coming at mental health from the “other side” of the fence.
I have worked in mental health support for over 10 years and, thankfully, have witnessed many improvements in the way in which society in general treats people who experience mental health problems. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go to eradicate all the discrimination and stigma which affects people with mental health problems; but please allow me to share some of my experiences - from the early days of my flowering interest in mental health to where I think we are now.
What it took for me to recover from schizophrenia was having people who believed in me and who did not give up on me. Their belief and love for me encouraged me to believe in myself, so I could have the patience to heal slowly over several years, with the help of steady, continued medical treatment. Their love and confidence in me gave me a reason and the strength to try and endure the emotional pain and social stigma of having schizophrenia.