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My Mind App Launch Speech

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My Mind App Launch Speech

  1. 1. Hi,my name is Grainne, andI am delighted tobe here talkingtoyoutoday,Iam delightedtohave beenpartof the app and I wishthe westerntrusteverysuccesswithit. It’sdifficultforme to identify the start,the middle,the endof myjourneyinto,throughandoutof depression.The startI am sure is rootedinthe DNA determinedbefore Iwasevenborn,inthe way my life waswhenIwasyoung,inhow I,Grainne,interpretedall the thingsthathappened,orthat didn’t.The middle isroughlythe sumtotal of the experiencesIhave hadfrom childhood,andthere isno end.Our mental healthjourneycontinuesaslongaswe do,and itslegacyisaround for generationstocome. My earlyfamilylife wasas perfectandas imperfectasanyone’scanbe.We had stuff,like all families have stuff.There wasno majortrauma,I hada mumand dad whoeachfacedtheirownstruggles but wholovedme andwhodidtheirbestand I had twosisterswhowere amazing.Deirdre,atom- boyand feistyashell withit,she protectedusfrombulliesandscarythings.Ciarawas our golden child,she wasthe image youwill see inyourheadif youpicture the perfectwee girl,she literallyhad goldenhairandgoldenskin. The firstsignificanteventinmymental healthwasthatI tookan overdose atage 13. Thiswould devastate myfamily,fracture myrelationshipwithmymum, andsomehow give me the message that askingforhelpwasnot goingto work.Thingswere verydifferentthen, itwas1984. Withouta doubtthingshave changednow.A 13 yearoldadmittedtoa&e will nothave hisor herstomach pumpedandwill be offeredhelp.Thisisnottocriticise the care I was given,Iwasattendedwell and I didhave a psychiatricappointment.There washowever,nosupportofferedtomyfamily,tome, on howwe wouldgoforwardafter thisevent.We have along,longway to go intermsof reducing stigmaand changingattitudes,butmyexperience isthatthingsare movingandtheyare movingin the right direction. I wouldgoon to discoveracademicsuccess,alcohol,spendingmoney,relationships,aswaysof distracting,self-medicatingandsoothing,forawhile,the sense of dreadthatI carriedwithme
  2. 2. everywhere.Ithoughtthatthiswaspart of the humancondition,thateveryone feltthis.Itwouldbe as a 36 yearoldwoman,underthe care of an excellentGP,thatI wouldlearnthatthiswas anxiety. I was a well-educatedlady,Icouldhave toldyouthe OxfordDictionarydefinitionof anxiety,butin termsof myown experience,mybrainandmy emotionswere completely disconnected. By 36 I had a beautiful 8yearolddaughter, I was paidwell formyjob,I travelledinternationally,I owneda 4 bedroomsemi-detachedhouse andIdrove a sports car. AndI waslivingmyownpersonal hell.All of these thingsthatIusedtodistract and soothe,theyworkedforawhile.Increasingly howeverIbattledeverpresentanxietyandlow moods.Iwasconflicted,Iwantedtobe withpeople and I pushedthemaway,the effortof keepingmymaskinplace was becoming more andmore difficulttosustain,Idrankmore,mybehaviourbecome erratic,Iwaslonely,Iknew Ineededhelp and I wantedtoask for it.But I wasterrified,terrifiedof whatwouldhappen.The truthwas,if I stoppedpretendingtobe the smart womanwiththe career,andthe car, and the travel andgreat social life,whowouldIbe?Ihad no idea. On the 12th March 2007, that all stopped.Thatwasthe dayI just stoppedpretending.Iwill never forgetit.I woke upand I startedto get outof bed,tobattle anotherday andI startedcrying.And I surrendered,finally,tothe awfulnessthathadbeengrowinginside me. That day I receivedmyofficial diagnosisof depressionandadiagnosisof anxietywouldsoonfollow.I wouldgoon to discoverthatI was pregnantwithmysecondbeautifulbaby,Iwouldlose the career, the house,the car, the image,myspark,my will tolive.Myamazingmum askedme to move home and mymum and dadcared for me and raisedmygirlsfor the next3 years. In spite of the difficulties that me and my mumhad, difficulties thathadbeencementedbythatsuicide attempt,mumwas my mainsupport.She neveronce toldme to pull myself together,she understood. Iworkedpart time andI had some daysthat were ok.My familyandmyclosestfriendsare the people whowere there andcan bearwitness tothose daysthat were notok. I can tell youthatI had givenup,there was nolightinme,I existedbutthere wasnojoyand I did not believe Iwouldevergetbetter.
  3. 3. Early 2010 broughtyetanothersuicidal crisisforme andthistime there wasa new andawful thought.I feltIcouldno longergoon. I wasworriedthatmy beautiful youngestgirl wouldnotbe ok withoutme andas my thoughtstooka terrifyingtwist,Iconfidedinaclose friendthatIwashaving thoughtsof harmingmy childas well asmyself.Thatfriendmade me anappointmentwithmyGP and came withme to ensure that I confidedthesethoughts.MyGPlistenedtome calmlyand seemedsure of whatto doand that I couldbe helped.Iwasreferredtothe primarycare liasonteam where Iwouldreceive excellentcare,againtheyreactedcalmlyandwithconfidence thatIwouldbe ok.I receivedall the supportnecessaryandI begancounsellingatZestwitha gentlemancalledGary. The professional helpthatIreceivedwithinboththe statutoryandvoluntaryserviceswouldbe pivotal tomy recovery. The ongoingsupportIreceivedfrommyfamilywouldbe pivotal tomy recovery. Whathappenednext,Ibelievewasessential tomyrecovery. I wentforlunch.I wentfor lunchwith2 friends.MeraidandRachel.Twofriendswhonevergave up on me.Andbelieveme,itisnoteasyto maintaina friendshipwithsomeonewhoisexperiencing depression.Ibelieve itwasStephenFrywhohassaiditis one of the mostdifficultandmostnoble thingsto do.In the course of thislunch2 suggestionswere made tome.One wasthat I coulddo somethingaboutwhere Iwasandhow I wasfeeling.The secondwasthatIshouldgo off anddo the Psychologydegree Ihadchattedaboutfor15 years.That dayI startedto contemplate thatmy recoverywassomethingIcouldtake intomyhands,and I startedto give shape towhat a life after depressionmightlook like. IstartedlookingforthingsthatIcoulddo myself,tohelpmyself.Ihave foundthat these thingsare the simplestandyetthe mostdifficultthingstodo.Theyare concerned withhowI spendmytime,whatI do forwork,what I do withmyspare time,whatI watch on tv, whatI do for exercise,whatIeat,howmuchI sleep.Itisnothingthatwe haven’tbeentoldisgood for our healthbefore,Idiscoveredthatinorderforthese thingstohelp,Ihave to actuallydothem! Do themrepeatedly.Change myhabits.
  4. 4. 4 yearslaterand I can say,withoutreservation,thatmyexperience withdepressionwasthe greatest giftI have everbeengiven. Thesewere the worstyearsof mylife andIwishnevertorepeatthem. Whenyoulose everythinghowever,the one thingthatisable tohappenisthat you can completely start again.I have constructeda life thatisspecificallydesignedtoprotectandmaintainmy recovery.There are thingsIhave gained,includinganew wayof thinking,anew career,new friends , a firstclass honoursdegree inpsychology,aplace ona PhDprogramme and the humilitytoaskfor helpwhenIneedit.There are thingsI have uncovered,includingmysense of whoIam, my self- worth,my optimisticnature andmy passions.There are thingsI have lostincludingmyneedto please everyone,the needforitall tobe perfectalways,fear,andof course,depression.Ihave bad days,awful thingshappenandIhave days whenIflounder.Justlike everyone else.ButwhatIalways have nowis the belief thatIcan cope withwhatevercomesmywayand all the new skillsIneedto do that. Thank youfor listening.

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