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.