One in every four people will experience mental health issues of some kind in their life. That’s a lot of people. I am one of those people.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 20 and was given Prozac, it did nothing. Then my doctor prescribed seroxat. Seroxat really didn’t work, in fact it made things worse. I would space out and find myself out walking the dog but with no recollection of putting on my shoes, or locking my front door. It scared me so I stopped taking it and decided that antidepressants just weren't for me.

It’s not easy, some days or weeks are bad, some are better but I just got on with life as best I could. I went for 14 years with no medication for my depression but now anxiety was playing a bigger part in my life.The beginning of this year was tough. I was going through a lot of stress thanks to a group of “friends” going out of their way to make my life miserable. My business had failed last year and I have a neck and back injury that’s been plaguing me for almost 4 years now and it causes chronic pain, this pain alone was enough to make me depressed. My once very active life was put on pause and various stresses just pushed me right over the edge.

I was having panic attacks on a daily basis and my thoughts were becoming darker. I was also indulging in some self harming behaviours. I had stopped taking the painkillers for my neck because I felt I deserved to feel pain. When you live with depression suicide is always lurking in the background, the spectre at the feast.

I know I’d never kill myself but that doesn’t stop my brain from telling me that it’s a viable option. I was at breaking point so I made the decision to talk to my doctor about it.

Recognising the signs made me take the step to go back to antidepressants, I knew I wasn’t coping and things would only get worse if I didn’t do something. Call it physcosamatic but just the act of going to the doctor and discussing how I was feeling, lifted some of the weight from my shoulders. While a small part of me felt like I had somehow failed by going back to antidepressants a bigger part of me felt proud for taking steps to better myself.

I was taking control and while looking back I think I should have done it sooner, I’m happy to say the antidepressants are doing their job and I’m starting to feel stronger.If you are suffering from any kind of mental illness please remember you are not alone. Depression makes you want to cut yourself off from the people you love but fight that urge, it just might be that you have a bigger support network than you think. It’s a cliche but a problem shared is a problem halved and talking out loud about you feel with people you trust can do wonders.

If you are struggling are are some good links to check out and some tips on how to keep your mind healthy.

Food - eating right. This doesn’t mean going on a diet (because fuck that, riots not diets!) It just means try to get some fruit and veg in your food.

Sleep - Good quality sleep. Easier said than done isn’t it. I suffer from Insomnia and quality sleep sounds like a cruel joke but here’s where the next tip helps!

Exercise - even if it’s just a short walk around the block, it can really boost your mood. It will also help your sleep pattern by tiring you out.

Keep hydrated - Drink plenty of water

Talk to someone -  The worst thing you can do it bottle up your feelings.Remember it’s OK to feel the way you do, mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of. Ignore the ignorant who tell you to just “get over it” and focus on you. You are worth taking care of!

If you are struggling and are looking for some help and support check out these links!

MINDMental Health AmericaCanadian Mental Health Association