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I am definitely so much more than my depression. Sunday October 12, 2014

Owing to quite an extended period of general "wellbeing", and reduced and increasingly distant episodes of utter despair, I have recently decided to attempt looking at a career change. It's something I've known I have to do for a while, but not had the energy or enthusiasm to embrace.

So I found myself at the start of this month, coming back from an information day about a possible new career, and feeling so excited.

And yet over the following weeks, whilst I have been waiting for application forms to be released, I have let my inner chimp (see the Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters for more info – I cannot recommend it enough!) poke and prod away at my self esteem, my confidence, and my faith in myself and my abilities.

"What if I can't do it? What if I become unwell? What if I can't cope? What if they don't understand?" To the point where I questioned if I should even bother applying.

I started to ask close friends whether they thought I could, or should, do it. The answers were unanimous – of course you can; but it's not about if we believe you can, it's about whether you believe it...

A particularly tough talking friend had a stern word with me. "Fiona; you are more than your "depression". You can't let it define you, and you can't let it dictate what you do, or don't do, for the rest of your life. What if you can do it? What if you don't become unwell? What if you do cope? What if they do understand? What if, imagine this, you love it, and go on to have a successful and exciting career there? What if, what if, what if...?! "

She was, as always, right. And it wasn't anything I didn't know; it was perhaps just something my chimp had hidden away in an empty corner of my mind.

I can not possibly predict the future. And I absolutely can not let the fact that I suffer sporadic depressive episodes put my life, and how I live it, on hold. I am definitely much more than my depression.

I am a strong and determined individual.
I am a loving and loyal girlfriend, and friend.
I am a daughter, sister, cousin, and aunt.
I am a Mental Health Advocate, and a trainer in Suicide Prevention.
I am a cat owner.
I am a yoga lover.
I am brilliant at making cards; I am thinking of starting to sell them.
I am an adult who loves colouring in!
I am a blogger for Moodscope.
I am a live music, and festival, fan.
I am annoyingly adept at spotting spelling and grammar mistakes.
I'm Fiona.

And I am definitely so much more than my depression.

A Moodscope member.

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Alexia Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 8:32am

I am sure you can do it Fiona! You are a wonderful human being. Please keep us posted with the application results. Lots of love xx

Ali Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 8:43am

Fiona I had a similar conversation with someone the other day who said Ali, you are more than your illness. When he said it I didn't agree but I know that he's right. Thank you so much for sharing .... and I am going to check out that book on Amazon!

Amy Piddington Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 9:01am

Thank you Fiona, this is most definitely true and certainly what I needed to be reminded of today. Good luck!

Anonymous Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 9:13am

Thank you Fiona for your very inspiring blog, and like Amy. just what I needed to be reminded of today. I am going to create my own list of what I am. Good luck with your application.

Anonymous Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 9:18am

Very encouraging,Fiona! Must remind my daughter who has been going through a very bad patch, as sometimes I am at a loss as to how to help her.
Good luck...I'd love to see those brilliant cards!!

Jacqueline Labib Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 10:47am

Fiona, thank you for sharing this. I so needed to hear these exact words (even though I'm a life coach myself). I'm rooting for you and taking inspiration from you and keep close to your cheerleaders.

Anonymous Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 11:03am

Superb post Fiona. I think we are all wishing you well and look forward to hearing of your progress. Much luck and positive thoughts go with you - Karen :)

Dawn Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 12:48pm

Good luck Fiona. The trick is to not judge any feelings, however bad and severe, that might be triggered by change. Feel them but let them pass by you like leaves down a river. easier said than done I know but it's when we start thinking 'Oh my God this is terrible, I shouldn't be feeling this way, it's all going to kick off again' that trouble starts. I hope your brave decision leads to much happiness and success

Anonymous Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 2:17pm

When we pick an area of our lives that needs attention something wonderful happens. When the student is ready the teacher will appear. I have been struggling with leaving my marriage for several reasons. I was recommended reading a book recently.."Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay"...I ordered it on Kindle and it has been providing me with the clarity I need. I may not be ready to leave tomorrow but it certainly is helping me take the first step in accepting what I need to do. Best of luck with your new endeavor and don't pay attention to the chimps.

Gordon Dimmack Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 2:30pm

If you are suffering from depression, I recommend the Destroy Depression System.
Written by a former sufferer of depression, it teaches a simple 7-step process to eliminate depression from your life.

cloud3 Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 4:02pm

Fiona- I love your attitude! It is one we all need to take. The battlefield is in the MIND and nowhere else!!

Anonymous Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 4:10pm

Yeah! Fiona,
The possibilities are endless. This is wise.
Thanks for your inspiring words.
Have fun and meaningfullness with your cards.
Hope you do really fine.

cloud3 Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 6:34pm


cloud3 Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 6:37pm

cloud3 2nd attempt: Fiona thanks for sharing what many of us feel. It is heartening to think that people who do NOT suffer from depression or bi-polar also can have feelings of inferiority etc before important interviews or special occassions....guess we all are just plain HUMAN! :)))

Anonymous Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 8:04pm

I liked you posting, too. Tony Lake's book called Defeating Depression has always seemed accessible to all my friends, and has influenced my life, so now I can deal with whomever or whatever is triggering depression, and build myself up to be more resilient.

Anonymous Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 8:23pm

Best of luck in your future opportunities, Fiona! You sound as if you can do it , while still nurturing yourself. You have achieved so much already and are a true and honest fighter.
PS: I am sure your cards are beautiful and imagine what artistic creativity brings you and allows you to express..

Mary Sun, Oct 12th 2014 @ 9:40pm

Hi Fiona, I just loved that title line. Completely inspiring. Please Fiona, when you read my posts, give free rein to your grammar and spelling adept and let me know. I am always concerned that my grammar is not as perfect as it could be and would love to have a friendly critic pick me up so I can improve. I too make cards: it's very therapeutic and have recently discovered the delights of zentangles - which, of course, go as toppers on the cards...... This was a great post Fiona. Many Thanks.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 6:43am

Good for you. I'm not.

Steve M Nash Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:05am

Thank you, Fiona, for your brave, honest post! :-)

I think this is the trouble all of us find ourselves in, from time to time, we define ourselves by our failures (or our successes), and we let the definition stick!

So talking about me, now, and not you, Fiona (but as, you're a human being, I suspect this is as true for you as it is for me)... I am a wonderful and flawed person. I am capable of strength and inviduality, just as I am capable of weakness and conformity. Neither defines me. The fact that I am capable of these things, and so much more, simply means I am a human being. And, the sooner I realise that what I have experienced in the past - good, bad, indifferent - is NOT what I necessarily will experience in this moment, and especially in the future, then the sooner I will find my innate peace of mind, find my ease, accept my flaws as well as my wonderfulness-es! (Is that a word? :-) )

Thank you, Fiona, your friend is right - you most definitely are more than your depression!


Emsee Bristol Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 1:45pm

Thank you Fiona for your post.
On the subject of selling cards, do you have any Art Trails near where you live?
Here in Bristol, UK, there are at least 7 art trails over the course of the year (plus several art/craft fairs) and they are great ways to get your artwork/craftwork out there and get lots of feedback from the general public with very little financial outlay - just the cost of joining the art trail (about £20 which usually includes the cost of the space and a table) plus the cost of getting the cards printed and any other odds & ends like a card display rack.
I've taken my phototography hobby to the next stage this year and started exhibiting at art trails selling cards, coasters, fridge magnets and prints of various sizes. The cards always sell very well (giving a discount for buying several cards is a good trick too).
The experience of selling my photographs have also helped pull me out of my depression as it not only helps motivate me to take more photographs (getting outdoors in nature in the process) but I've found talking to the general public and other artists really lifts my mood and I get lots of lovely feedback and helpful suggestions. This is despite the fact I often suffer from Social Anxiety and normally find dealing with people quite stressfull....when I'm at art trails all that seems to dissapear and I seem to find myself talking to people with an unusual amount of confidence.
Basically, following your passion is a great way to help increase your sense of identity, self-esteem/confidence and beat depression :D

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 9:57pm

Thanks Emsee! I'll take a look at the Art Trail suggestion. I've just this week booked to do a local church fete at Xmas; just to see how it goes. I love making them; I never did it with the intent to sell them but figured I have nothing to lose really. Interestingly I have also recently been doing some different projects at work - one being training - never done it before but handling it really well. The other one being promotional stands at events for the company - again, not my thing AT ALL! But like you I find myself talking to total strangers quite naturally and comfortably. Odd isn't it?! Actually my entire job involves speaking up for and looking out for other people - yet I have spent many periods failing to do this for myself! Love Fiona Xx

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:02pm

Thanks Steve - interestingly I just had an appraisal at work and it was quite humbling. I already know that my own view of myself and others view of me spans a massive gap; but the amazing comments I got made me think "they can't ALL be wrong!" In fact the only constructive criticism i recieved was about the negativity I feel towards myself and my own abilities.
I am my own worst critic!!
Fiona x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:06pm

Thanks Alexia - I submitted my application on Saturday and it is currently "under review" - fingers crossed! Fiona x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:07pm

It's such a great book Ali! Let me know what you think if you do have a read. Fiona x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:09pm

Thanks Amy - I think we all need to be reminded at times don't we? It can become a bit all consuming otherwise and we end up limiting ourselves and then blaming the depression! Take care. Fiona x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:12pm

Thanks! I submitted it on Saturday and its "under review" so fingers crossed... Hope you made your list and saw how awesome you are. Fiona x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:15pm

I'd love to offer you a professional website to show you them but currently I'm working mainly via Facebook! The page is called Hearts and Crafts or on twitter I'm at @Hearts_Crafts. Would love your thoughts! Fiona x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:18pm

Thanks Jacqueline - I think we all need to hear those words sometimes; no matter who we are or what we do; we are multifaceted creatures! I like your analogy of cheerleaders - that's exactly what they are. I am lucky to have a small but elite squad! Fiona x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 13th 2014 @ 10:23pm

I'm sorry you aren't feeling you're more than your depression. I don't feel like I am every day believe me but thankfully those days become fewer and fewer. I hope in time they do for you too. It's so incredibly hard to see beyond the illness when it's got it's vice like grip on you. I'm glad you commented - that shows you took the time to read the post and to react to it. Small things maybe but even they show some elements of you that are more than depression. Take care. Fiona x

suzzi Tue, Oct 14th 2014 @ 7:12am

Hi Flora
we have a lot in common as I read your blog as I am a mental health advocate a mother grandmother sister etc also I have mental health change is so hard that pest of an inner voice tells you to doubt but you can do it and be happy. My self at 57 thinking of change but comfortable as I am in the job I love it's only thinking .. but I am open to change reading your blog was ace good luck sweetie xx

Anonymous Mon, Oct 20th 2014 @ 10:22pm

Just thought I'd update those that were interested that I passed the application stage and have an internal assessment next Friday! Fiona x

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