My Story: Valerie

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I have always known that I had some sort of mood disorder. Even before the age of 10, I was wondering why I existed and why I was put on this earth. I had my first suicidal thought at the age of 11. I suffered a lot of emotional abuse growing up; my sister was verbally abusive and girls in high school made fun of me. Being bullied definitely left a scar.

I have stayed strong and silent for so many years, but recently I could not take it anymore. A few months ago, I started feeling down. I had a lot of repressed anger, which led to my current depression. Therefore, I decided to seek professional help in order to help me deal with all these negative emotions.

I have been seeing a therapist for about a month now and I can already see a difference. I do not suffer from severe depression, only mild to moderate. Thankfully, I do not have to take anti-depressants. I will continue doing cognitive behaviour therapy for as long as I need it.

Who has been there for you? How?

My therapist has obviously been there for me ever since I started therapy. She is a good listener, shows empathy and gives me useful tools to help me become more positive. My family has also shown a lot of support and I am very grateful for that.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I am trying to increase my activity level. As I learned, activity helps you to feel better, to feel less tired and can help you think more clearly. So every week I try to incorporate a fun activity into my schedule. It really helps to lift my mood. I used to be an athlete, so I try to exercise a few times a week. I am also doing research about anti-inflammatory diets, as good nutrition is essential for mental health. I also stay in contact with the people in my life because as I learned, isolation worsens depression.

I have stayed strong and silent for so many years, but recently I could not take it anymore.

Despite my on and off bouts of depression, I have still accomplished a lot in my life.

Despite my on and off bouts of depression, I have still accomplished a lot in my life.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

Despite my on and off bouts of depression, I have still accomplished a lot in my life. I played competitive tennis for almost 10 years. Last year, I finally graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management. I have also completed studies in Business Management. It took me about six years to complete my studies, because I was working full-time at some points and my depression and anxiety meant I had to take breaks from studying at times. In the end though, I finally made it.

What I am most proud of at the moment is my decision to seek professional help for my anxiety and depression. My goal is to feel at peace within myself and live life to the fullest.

My goal is to feel at peace within myself and live life to the fullest.

What's your advice to someone else living with Depression?

Seek help if you haven't done so yet. Speak up about how you feel to other people. You might be surprised at the support you receive. And most importantly, do not give up on reaching mental wellness. Keep in mind that there is support out there.

Is there anything else we should know?

I have made it one of my goals to help other people who also suffer from depression or anxiety. Therefore, if anyone needs someone to talk to, I am available. We can help each other.

About Valerie

My Story: Valerie

I am now 30 years old, single, no kids. I work as a law office administrator and enjoy what I do, but I am still trying to find out what my purpose is on this earth. One thing I know is that I want to help other people who are going through the same thing as I am. Every day is a struggle, but we are stronger than we think. I want to share my story to let other people know that they are not alone. We can help each other get through this.

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