My first experience with depression was in 2004 following the death of my mother. No-one can describe the feeling adequately and you will not understand fully until you experience it for yourself, but I will tryto explain it,

I chose to keep working. I needed a sense of some kind of normal, routine in my life, everything else felt like chaos. Thoughts in my head (not voices) were so loud I could hardly hear anything else, let alone concentrate on my work. Adrenalin was pumping through my body, which was brought on by anxiety. I lost two stone in weight and I could not sleep, day or night. I could not cry. I felt that if I did cry, I would lose what little control I had over my life. However, amidst this turmoil, I did understand that if I turned to alcohol, things would be worse. My GP referred me to a day hospital in Barnet, which was for people with mental health difficulties. I had no expectations of what I might find. I was welcomed by other service users. Who made me a cup of tea and brought me biscuits. My feelings almost overwhelmed me and I never forgot their kindness.

My second experience with depression left me in a much darker place. It was again caused by loss. This time it was the loss of a business I was trying to create for myself. It left me in complete despair. I felt there was no hope. For what are we in life if we don’t have hope?.

I spent a month in Chase Farm Mental Hospital. For the first two weeks I was not even allowed out into the hospital grounds. My mobile phone lead was taken from me. This was only given back to me when I was sent to a mental health recovery house for another month. Being in hospital was the worst experience of my life. I felt no different upon coming home. I suffered from flashbacks, which lessened over the years and now have almost completely gone.

I wanted to give back to those who had given to me and I needed a focus.

Reduction in mental health funding has created a need for more mental health support groups to come from the local communities, so in January 2015, with the help of my two friends, Jonathan and Peter, we formed the Mind & Mood Talk & Support Group which is run by ex-service users, for service users, their carers, families and supporters. It does not matter what your “diagnosis” is, but what you are prepared to do about it.

What good can just ‘talking’ do? - Many of us have or have had long-term mental health conditions. We may or may not have spoken to others before. All this can often affect our own opinions of ourselves. If left unsaid they can often feel like a burden or heavy weight bearing down upon us. We may have had different experiences with the mental health services. This is also likely to have left an effect on us.

Talking is one of the best forms of therapy.

Our Support Group has been run online since the start of the pandemic. We hope to run them face-to-face as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Sadly Jonathan is no longer with us.

Please contact me for further information.