“Sharing Stories” – Tales of Depression, by Gary Cooper.

“Hi, my name is Gary Cooper, 26. I am a Lecturer in Biological Science, Zoo Keeper and I have depression. Throughout my life I have, like many others, suffered the tragedy of loss, of relationships, friends and quite recently; Family. Surprisingly it is none of the above that defines who I am, I’m just a guy trying to make his way through life the best he can. I suffer from chronic pain these days and surprisingly my depression has subsided, probably because the pain tends to keep my mind from wondering. Anyway i’m sharing some of my writings in the hope that at least one person can find comfort and maybe feel a little less lonely in this big crazy world.

If I could give anyone suffering from depression / social anxiety any advice it would be this;

We need people, without them we can never truly understand ourselves; how we treat others can say a lot about a person. So be kind, be patient, be the person you want others to be, remove negative people from your life and be with the people that matter to you and make you feel like you matter. Enjoy the little things in life.”

Giving to others gives back.

”It’s always crazy this time of year, getting students through their qualifications but this year has been pretty rough, i can see the light at the end of the tunnel just a few more sleepless nights on the cards before next week ! I can do this.”

Sharing Stories

Things like this that makes waking up in the morning a little easier, written by one of my students when asked to write about what they liked about college.

“One student made my day today, through all the hard work it’s amazing how a positive comment from one person can make it all worthwhile. This is my first year teaching, taken on a hell of a lot for a newbie …… it’s more than hard work but it will all be worth it in the end, presentation of awards evening next Thursday, I will watch my course group stand up and receive their qualifications, nobody will ever be able to take that feeling away from me and that’s what’s keeping me going.”

Thoughts on losing yourself.

“Losing somebody close to you or feeling betrayed by a person or a number of people; forcing yourself to deal with this and suppressing the resulting emotion makes you switch off inside, your mind makes the decision somewhere along the line that it is easier to carry on in life being contented and numb rather than to feel the highs and the crippling lows that come with it. You lose your sense of yourself; you forget what makes you special and no longer place any real value on yourself. If your mind won’t let you get excited or have any real sense of achievement or happiness for worry that it will ultimately cripple your soul again, how you possibly see yourself as being of value. This means you search for beauty in the wrong places, you wonder why you only find people physically attractive now and not adorable, why you only muster a smile at a joke rather than cry like you used to, why you haven’t got a competitive bone in your body. You make acquaintances with everyone but never true friends because you can’t distinguish between desirable and undesirable qualities. There is a disconnect between your dreams of your life as a child and what you believe to be a harsh reality, a total and disappointing lack of any magic. This isn’t true and is a warped perspective – as a matter of urgency you need either go for counselling as I did, or make the decision, at some point every day to go back to the situation that caused this. You need to write down everything that you used to feel and where/why along the line you’ve lost hope. Then you need to make a conscious decision every day to let yourself feel happy and excited about life again because you deserve it. Let your mind know that it is ok to feel the pain next time it comes because without it you can’t enjoy anything; let your mind know that you will deal with it next time no matter what.

This problem can be especially difficult if you’re the rare type of person that is always self-analysing, and trying to improve on who you are, stretching your social boundaries and putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable, that important and developed image of yourself (that you spend your whole childhood creating), whilst your spiritual side develops and your view of the workings of the world become clearer, you have confused your sense of self which is what makes us human. The image of who you are becomes too vague and you lose any sense of self – and thus self worth – and you naively but understandably come to the decision that nothing really matters. Along with the above you need to rein it back in, close your bubble that you have allowed to expand too far. Make your world yours again, it is yours and it is personal, unique and beautiful. People are interested in it and you and you are fascinating and fervently loved by select group of equally fascinating and lovable human beings who have remembered what is important in life. Because you think the opposite you have ironically turned into a selfish person who refuses to be interested in the people most close to you, no one expects you to be interested in the world, just a selection of the world, so choose wisely and be passionate about it.

Write down your qualities and think hard about why they are attractive, think about the kind of people you want to hang around with and what you want out of life, and how you want to make your stamp on this world. If you do this every day, it will take a few months to connect with yourself again. Strip away everything and feel the uniqueness of your soul, remember that that is what makes you attractive, this is the only thing that you used to function as a child which is why your childhood memories are so clear (the good and the bad). Function as you did then, live life in the moment and stop over analysing, just be. If you believe the noises of the world, rather than the silences of your soul, you will be lost.”

By Gary Cooper.

Do you have a Mental Health experience you would like to share? Send your story, name and picture in to themanicyears@gmail.com and be featured in the Sharing Stories series.

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