Mike lives in Exeter, with his wife Charlotte, and works as a refrigeration engineer, based in Plymouth but covering the South West.
My most recent experiences followed a TIA (mini-stroke) which happened in March 2017. The TIA itself had no significant long term effects, but I suffered quite severe anxiety and depression afterwards. My GP suggested that I might be depressed.
Whilst I had been diagnosed with, and treated for, mild depression about eight or nine years ago, this most recent experience was far more severe. The first signs were a consistent lack of sleep over many weeks. I became acutely anxious, with occasional suicidal thoughts, which resulted in a couple of visits to A&E and several weeks off work.
I had been treated by the Depression and Anxiety Service (DAS) in Exeter before, so I knew where to turn to for help.
I was offered CBT, initially in a group and then one to one with a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner from the DAS in Exeter. In particular the CBT helped me to understand that my thoughts did not always reflect reality and to see that the outlook was not as bleak as I thought.
Whilst it may be possible to recover without help, it will be much, much more difficult. We are extremely fortunate to have such good support services locally, so grab every opportunity you can to be helped to recover.
My life is very good now. I am in a much, much better place. Last autumn I completed an eight-week course in mindfulness, and I have continued to try and practise this in my daily life. I have also tried very hard not to take my mental health for granted. I have realised that time and effort needs to be put aside to maintain good mental health.”