Grainne McAnee emphasises the importance of seeking help and talking to someone you trust, if you are feeling low and unable to cope.
Grainne McAnee has experienced mental health problems since her early teens and has attempted suicide. Grainne believes that people may cover up their problems as they are afraid to ask for help, but she stresses that talking to someone about how you are feeling can have a very positive impact.
I spoke to a friend of mine, someone I had known for a very long time. She was very supportive, my go to person, she told me that I needed to go to my GP.
For a number of years, the 43-year-old and mother of two tried to cope with her low moods and anxiety herself and says that the image she portrayed to the outside world was very different to how she was feeling inside.
“I tried various methods of coping, spending too much money and using alcohol. I did try to make changes but they never worked,” she said.
“I was very successful, I had a great career in IT, I travelled, I had my own house and sports car. On paper my life looked brilliant, but I hated myself and my job. I was completely false in what I presented.”
In 2007 she had a breakdown and lost her job, her home and her car.
She described how depression affected her.
“I wasn’t feeling anything there was just numbness, I was just going through the motions.”
In 2010 she was feeling extremely low and had suicidal thoughts. When she confided how she was feeling to a friend, it was the first step towards recovery.
“I was so exhausted it was a relief to stop pretending,” said Grainne
“I spoke to a friend of mine, someone I had known for a very long time. She was very supportive, my go to person, she told me that I needed to go to my GP. We made an appointment and she went with me. The GP reassured me, she said ‘you will be ok; I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but you will be ok’. She was very practical and reassuring.”
Grainne was referred to her local Primary Care Liaison team and started to receive counselling. As well as receiving medical help Grainne was also supported greatly by her parents and her friends.
She was out for lunch with two of her closest friends when she had something she describes as a “light bulb moment”.
“A friend said to me, I know how you feel and you can do something about it.”
Grainne says that at that point she started to take care of herself, seriously embracing her counselling. She was careful about her alcohol intake, ate more healthily and started exercising. These things have been instrumental in her recovery and she has built them into her daily life.
Grainne’s life has changed greatly since 2010. She now feels better able to care for her daughters and she has a job she loves at Aware Defeat Depression. Last year she graduated with a degree in Psychology and is now working towards a PhD.
Looking back, she says: ” It was the worst time in my life, I lost everything and I started over again. What happened to me has made me the person I am today.”