Depression Alliance has merged with Mind

This website is no longer being updated

We're Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to anyone with a mental health problem. We're continuing to run Friends in Need and to support Depression Alliance's self-help groups. We can offer you advice and support on depression, too.

Ending the loneliness that comes with depression

My name is Ian. I am single, 53 years old and have lived alone for the past 15 years with much of those years working in administration. I have a mother and am the middle child of 3 children from Afro-Caribbean dissent.

In the autumn of 2014, I reported to my GP of short periods feeling weak on the right side of my body. When referred to hospital I was diagnosed with having Transient Ischemic Attacks. This coincided with the constant visits to my parents where I witnessed the deteriorating health of my father due to Parkinson’s disease and the strain it put on me and my family. My distress increased and I was referred to a therapist who diagnosed my depression. During therapy sessions, my father died and the sense of anxiety and isolation deepened further. My therapist suggested an organisation that I could, perhaps, look into called Depression Alliance. This took some courage, as it meant trying to force through the granite shell of my routine reluctance in joining anything that would have me as a member! However, since reaching out to the branch of Friends In Need, I have since attended coffee meet ups, and have been on meals out, which have been great socially. Walks in the park with other members have been of great social benefit also, especially to my lungs! Attending various artistic ‘happenings’ such as classical concert recitals, visits to the Ballet at ROH and even joining a Poetry Group have all awakened my own, albeit fragile, creative impulses, as well as examining beauty and being challenged intellectually. These are things that have helped broaden my outlook.

Before I was made aware of this organisation, I had retreated into a more solitary lifestyle. Friends I had been betrayed by and the fatal loss of a potential partner had left me with a darker, cynical perspective. Yet despite this, the services Friends In Need have to offer have helped improve my sense of wellbeing. Attending the more social meet up groups, for example, has enabled me to listen, discuss directly with others and share recent experiences. This has been both a comfort and a thrill. The members are friendly and encouraging as is the staff including Liz, Imogen and Stuart who have all been very kind and supportive. I am even hoping to join their five- a- side football session, where I can shed my excess pound as well as meet new people. Even my Transient Ischemic Attacks have all but gone. I really believe that joining Friends In Need has helped, in some way, to make this happen.

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