"In 2009, I was depressed, tired, p***ed off, frustrated, anxious, afraid and contemplating/planning a way out.
This went on for months before I had to ask for help. Depression is a horrendous illness that takes over your life and the lives of the people closest to you.
In my opinion, you cannot beat this illness without some form of medication. Now, medication is not the entire solution, but it is a key component.
I visited my doctor in September 2009 and he encouraged me to do a number of things. I think a variety of things has to be thrown at your mental illness in order to overcome it and control it and, thankfully, he was like-minded. He recommended Lexapro as my medication.
I started taking it immediately and continued to take it every day for about eight months.
The GP advised that the initial period of serotonin balancing would be about two weeks and after two weeks I should start to feel brighter and have some space from anxiety and low mood.
I am not sure if it was exactly two weeks, but I do remember waking up one morning and noticing that I was a lot fresher. My head was not foggy and the level of tiredness had dropped considerably.
Coming off Lexapro did not cause me any great difficulty. I had been able to change the areas of my life that needed to be changed.
I had added a good amount of exercise into my daily life - mainly running - and I had become a lot more aware of myself. I felt that the time was right to reduce, and eventually remove, my dosage of Lexapro.
The most important thing is to listen to your GP. He/she has the experience of handling various people who are on, and want to come off, antidepressants.
In my opinion, you need to supplement the medication with education and exercise. Medication enables you to see and it enables you to work out what you are going to do in order to get your life back on track.
Depression is such a strong illness that you need to use multiple solutions to fix the same issue. If you educate yourself with regard to what depression is, how it affects you, what services are available and what methods are out there, that might work for you."
Gary Seery works in IT and is a father-of-three. He was diagnosed with depression in September 2009