Breaking Free From The Darkness, A care leavers story.

"Breaking free from the darkness came when I took control of my life."

Depression is the bummer of life. It gets you down and takes over your life. My life had been an upward battle for so long. I had it tough just like many other care leavers. My head was in a real bad state. So confused with the way things had turned out. Living alone at 16 was so isolating and lonely. I had no friends and really struggled to make new friends. But this year life has changed for the better and I want to share with you my secret to living a happy life and how I have managed to break free from depression.

The secret to living a happy life comes from within. Think of it like a key that you have yet to discover. A key that unlocks your dreams.

For as long as I can remember I have been going to the doctors and complaining about my depression and the bad thoughts in my head. It was the same old story every time. The doctor would write out a prescription for me. Id take a few tablets, forget a few times. Then id skip a dose because I thought id go drinking the next day. There were times when I would say I’m not going to take the tablets because I want to feel normal for an interview or don’t want to feel the side effects tomorrow ect.

I expected the medicine to fix all of my problems. I thought by taking these medicines I would magically get better and recover within months. As the doctor would say. I should start to feel better within 3 months. which was true. you would start to feel better after taking your tablets EVERYDAY. sometimes the doctor needs to experiment with different tablets but you have to keep at it and keep going and don’t give up. If you want something so badly you will get it eventually.

The truth is you cant rely on your medication to fix all of your problems you have to make some changes yourself to make your life better.

The first thing and most important thing is you have to remember is to take your medicine the doctor prescribes to you every day. If you skip your doses and make excuses you have to ask yourself. “do you really want to get better?” if you miss doses you are messing with the chemical imbalances in your brain and your head just gets pickled. your mood wont stabilise unless you keep taking the medicine

The second thing is you need to do is kick negativity in the butt. Think about what is affecting you? What’s dragging you down? Is there a pattern to why you are feeling down? sometimes the past can be the cause of your feelings. its not always easy but you need to let go of what’s happened in the past and look forward. you cant move on in your life if you keep looking back. learn from your experiences in life and remember your a stronger person now. You have made it this far and you can go further than you think. The possibilities of life are truly endless.

For me my biggest problem was binge drinking. I would live for the party. I used to binge every week. I would never admit it at the time and I wouldn’t say I was an alcoholic. I just used to drink to cheer me up and have a good time. I used to like going along to karaoke at the bars or dancing with my friends on a Saturday night. I also used to love throwing parties for whatever the reason no matter how random. But then I began to notice that every week after drinking there was a huge dip in my mood. I felt down in the dumps and hopeless. Not only did I feel down in the dumps I also felt poor. I would spend all my money on one night and then struggle to make ends meet until I got paid next.

So at first I cut back on my drinking by not drinking to get drunk every week I noticed that I was having better nights out and didn’t feel so bad in the morning. I also started to look for other things to do like going out for food and going to the cinema. Then eventually I cut booze out completely and my mood was a lot more stable. I felt more confident and comfortable within myself. I didn’t have to drink to have a good time. In fact I’ve had much better nights out without the booze. It was hard at first as some of my friends found it difficult to accept that I wasn’t drinking but my true friends respected me and understood that this was something I had to do to make a difference in my life. Since stopping drinking I realised that as a nation we are surrounded by a lot of drink. You only have to watch Eastenders for 15 minutes for at least 1/2 scenes set in the pub. In fact everything they do is around drinking....I started drinking through hanging out with the people I lived with in the hostel with when I was 16.

The other thing I had to do on my journey to happiness was cut some negative people out of my life. They were just really bad people for me to be around. So one by one I stopped hanging around with them. It’s amazing how fast life can change if you choose the people you associate yourself with wisely.

I also joined the gym which is my new drug. It’s given me a real boost in life. Making me feel confident and happy not only has it changed my body but its given me totally new perspective in life. I have goals which I am working towards which are keeping me motivated. Seeing my progress every week is the best feeling of all. I still go out and socialise with my friends but now I opt for the lemonade and have a great time. I don’t end up spending too much cash and I don’t lose control and do stupid things.

If you are suffering with depression or feel down at times I want you to know that there is hope and there is a way out of the darkness but that only happens when you take the steps to make things happen. When you take control of your life and you fight back. Don’t let your feelings rule you. Fight back and keep fighting back.

 Stick to it and it will happen. Its not luck of the draw its determination. I started out at the bottom and relying on no one but myself. You too can do this. Just take the opportunities that arise and use them well. Today is a new day, an opportunity to make a change and who knows that change might just be for the better.

 Take care!

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of Voices From Care.