From Luke

Dear You,

My name is Luke. I am 40 years old and live in the UK.

Since childhood, I have felt myself to be different to everyone else. I was on the fringes, standing alone at parties. I spent most my sixth form avoiding school and sitting in the local library. I made it through University somehow and worked in IT for a number of years, still not fitting in and turning more to alcohol to self-medicate my depression, anxiety and general ‘otherness’. I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I ran away to Australia for a year. My problems followed me. I had a string of disastrous relationships and many relocations back to my family home when the depression got too bad.

I am now back living with my parents and on new medication which needs a slow titration until I reach the appropriate dose. I don’t own my own house, am in debt, don’t have any income and most of my friends have long since given up on me. Some days I am overwhelmingly suicidal; and can’t do those small helpful things. And yet somewhere deep inside of me there is still hope.

I don’t know where it comes from but I still get out of bed most days and manage to wash. Brushing my teeth in the shower helps just a tiny bit. Getting out for a walk helps a little more. Exercising with a personal trainer has got me to lose almost 20 kg in the last 6 months. I am learning the guitar and hope to revisit drawing which I was reasonably good at when I was at school. I’ve joined a band (I am quite a good drummer) and am trying to get out a bit more. Maybe this letter will help someone to know that there are other people going through the same things. You can contact me on twitter @cryingontrains if you want to reach out or ask questions. I wish you the best of luck. Don’t give up. Keep talking. Try as many therapists as you can until you find one you are comfortable with. And one last tip:

If you are going to see a psychiatrist, don’t treat it like a job interview and present your best self. Be you on your bad days. Don’t deceive but be as detailed as possible about your darkest thoughts. It might save your life.

Luke