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From burnout to balance: The value of support

From burnout to balance: The value of support

I just read ‘How to support someone with depression and anxiety,’ and boy did it bring back some memories. (You can have a look at it and other advice on mental health and resilience here. It took me just moments to put together this incomplete list of the people who supported me when I felt overwhelmed by depression and anxiety.

  • To the flatmates who wouldn’t leave me alone in the house and had to cut short nights on the town so that one or other of them could be there for me, thank you.
  • To the little brother who opened his home to me when I needed a place to stay, thank you.
  • To the boss who quietly said, ‘There’s depression in my family, too,’ and granted me a year off, finding a much less demanding role I could do to keep me connected to friends and colleagues at work, thank you.
  • To the colleague who spent a Sunday helping me finish off a work project that was too much for me to tackle alone, thank you.
  • To the colleagues who cheerfully gave me lifts to work when I was unable to drive myself, thank you.
  • A special mention to the friend who drove miles out of her way to pick me up, take me to work and drop me off again at the end of the day, making what must have been at least a 90 minute round trip every school day for a year, thank you.
  • To the friend who took me out for a quiet dinner on my birthday, pretending not to know it was my birthday, not even mentioning the ‘b’ word, knowing it would upset me, so that I returned home a little more cheerful than when I went out, thank you.
  • To the friends who cooked so many dinners for me, sending me home with leftovers, thank you.
  • To the friends of friends who gave me a place to stay when I went back to work on reduced hours and, when the topic of rent came up, just asked me how much I thought I could afford, thank you.
  • To the friends who patiently dealt with the side effects of different medications, when halfway through a visit I would suddenly need to sleep for an hour or two, thank you.
  • To the friend who saw my depression was getting worse and called my doctor’s office, thank you.
  • To the friend whose internet ‘research’ revealed that depression could be treated with potato juice and brought me a freshly squeezed glassful every morning – I am sorry to say that after the first mouthful it all got tipped down the drain. But, thank you anyway.
First published: July 2019

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