I recently went to Cyprus on my own to recharge, reexamine and rethink my next steps in life. My depression has meant I had to step down from my role as a restaurant manager as I was unable to function at the level required of me. I must commend my former employer for their unwavering support and kindness during this time. It showed the lengths certain companies are going to to acknowledge and help people suffering with mental illness. With life flipped on its back like a turtle, I went on holiday to get off my back and walking again.
For the first five days everything was okay; I was fairly relaxed and quite happy. On the sixth day though, I went into meltdown. I cannot exactly pinpoint what triggered my rapid mental decline except that I felt alone and worthless. I envied the apparent carefree people around me and wondered what it would be like to be blissfully happy. Nevertheless an inky, intrusive cloud descended upon me and I sobbed and either wanted to be locked up or die.
In my despair a semblance of sanity reared its head and I phoned the NHS Crisis Line. A lovely lady spoke with me, listened, cared and calmed me. She assured me someone from my NHS trust in Colchester would be in touch. I then spoke with my identical twin brother who too listened to me and loved me. If you are fighting depression please don't block out your family and friends, they are a life-line and will not see you as a burden. Unconditional love is a sweet, sweet thing. Incidentally, one of the most encouraging things said to me over the phone was by my mum. My holiday was for ten nights and it was the sixth where I had a mental fall. She said, "You should be proud, you've done really well. Ten nights is a really long time." It was quite a profound comment because I realised I could be proud. I may have faltered but I didn't crumble.
I received a phone call from Colchester's Crisis Team and another lovely lady helped me as I grappled with dark thoughts. When our call finished I managed to sleep with an awareness that I could face another day. I wasn't suddenly 'better' but I was able to cope. I do not believe it sensationalist to write the NHS saved my life that night. They were willing to talk and listen to a sobbing mess, late at night, with only care and compassion.
We have a health service built on providing even the most vulnerable a chance to receive holistic care and attention. On that lonely night in Cyprus the Crisis Team fulfilled that wonderful and simple ethos created many years ago. Amongst all the political soundbites surrounding the NHS; all the hand wringing and blame game; all the difficulties to wade through, I found dedicated and devoted people. I was in another country yet was blessed with support. To all those beautiful staff I am very thankful.