My name is Derek. I have experienced depression for 20 years. My GP prescribed me anti depressants, but I didn't like to take them as it meant accepting the fact I have a mental health problem. As a man, I bought into the stigma. I thought admitting to having a mental illness was a sign of weakness especially given my cultural back ground.
Refusing to face up to my problems did not help and I spent over three years in a very dark depressed state. I barely left the house and just sat at home and vegetated. Thanks to the help of my wonderful mum and sister, plus a very supportive GP, I realised that unless I made a change I would be stuck at home for the rest of my life. I started to take my antidepressants and also began to attend counselling at my local Mind association in Hackney.
Two years on and my life has completely turned around. Attending my local Mind association has really helped to boost my self esteem and given my life direction again. I now help to chair one of our groups and feel like a positive person again.