Depression has been in my life since 2014, however in the beginning I didn’t accept I was depressed, I merely just believed I was low in mood, thinking it would eventually dissolve and be gone…

Yes, sometimes we have regrets, we feel shame, undervalued by others and ourselves. We at times suffer in silence for long sustained periods of time. Nevertheless, by shielding our hidden suffering from the world, we can take positive risks, challenge our existence formally by introducing our secrets, expressing to others our pain in the hope of seeking reassurance to alleviate such turmoil.

Acceptance of how we feel inside, the darkest of shaded areas we try to ignore can be such a positive but powerful importance in recovery. Reaching out is vital but yet anxiety floors your will in delivering truth. It is a precarious situation to be in, however it’s a balance between staying afloat and keeping your head above water. But once it’s out, the release of overwhelming stresses and the burdens posed onto your daily functions can be managed almost like a new release of energy determined to push you forward, enabling you to gain self worth, increase confidence and enhance self esteem.

Just accepting you need help is not a sign of weakness. It’s an opportunity to rebuild your life, a life that’s not just important to others, it’s important to you. Life can be once again worth investing in.

Let’s try to make changes, access support and build new foundations. Your journey will only continue if you allow it to…

Ask that simple question, “Are you okay?”

One thing I’ve always encouraged others and myself to do is to check in with friends, family and work colleagues. Ask them that simple question, “Are you okay?” This might just be the start of a vital connection leading to a conversation, one that may enable those suffering to reach out without feeling shame, to finally breathe easily.

If we take a moment to listen without judgement and without making assumptions, we may just change the thought process from a negative outlook into a positive one. Something that the individual deems a necessary action, promoting an outcome they relish, that outcome to offload doubts, fears and anxieties which potentially could develop into a crisis. It’s imperative we try to avoid such a thing.

Please just think that what seems okay might not be what’s going on inside. If you feel or have a sense something is wrong then give reassurance and please just LISTEN.

In the event of a potential crisis, ask if they have any suicidal tendencies. This may spur them on to say yes or no. You may think this is inappropriate, however this may be an opportunity to step in, promote interventions, signpost and potentially prevent such a drastic outcome.

Try not to avoid, miss or even dismiss that something that may seem like nothing. It could just save someone’s life.

If you need help, check out The Tees Online’s directory of organisations here.