From Jen

Dear You,

You have probably forgotten what a wanted world feels like. Just like how I, two years on from my last bout of severe depression, have forgotten what it feels like to wake up with the sharp dread of realisation that there is another day to face. I know what it's like to have to turn to your nearest and dearest and ask, "What did I used to do? What were my interests? How did I used to spend my evenings before I got like this?"

Depression. You don't always know you're in it so I trusted the people close to me. You may see the problem as being an intolerable impossible world which is stifling, suffocating. The world turned 2D for me. It helped when others around me would pick up on the physical stuff. My husbands asked me why I was walking hunched over with my arms floppy at my sides. My mother asked me why my teeth are furry. Imagine that! Aged 41 and being told by my Mum to brush my teeth! The social worker told me that she knew how bad I felt, she could see it in my eyes. I could have hugged her; the sweetest thing I'd heard in months.

It may bewilder some people. My husband started spending time in the attic. To my four year old I was a physical presence who wasn't really there. I was absent. But try and not worry too much about them, it's so important to look after yourself. I also let the health professionals look after me and advise me.

All you have to do is find a way to get through the hours in the day attending to your basic needs. If you are achieving one or two things a day, e.g. buying a pint of milk or washing your hair, those are your two trophies for the day. I chose to let depression run its course.

You may have to try a number of new drug combos but the good news is you get a slice of hope to hang onto each time it happens. "We will get there eventually," my psychiatrist once told me. And I did. And guess where else I got to? I took a plane to Hamburg after having a fear of flying all my life. Two years of stable mental health on the right drugs helped me achieve that.

Not too far into the future you will be able to look back and advise people in the same awful place you find yourself now. I can't wait to hear what you will say.

Love Jen on the Pen