Hello, my name is John A Wilson and I struggled with severe depression and suicidal thoughts from 2008, at the age of 26, when I had just graduated as a part 1 architect but with not one vacancy for a job In my locality and unable to move because I was engaged at the time.
Due to this, I retrained as a teacher in ICT, a PGCE that takes 2 years rather than 1 due to needing to learn the programs I would be teaching to children (as well as how to teach) but encountered work place bullying in my second school placement, which, in turn, put me off becoming a teacher for life.
I had taken a chance on higher education, twice, but after 6 years studying as an architect and teacher neither studies led me to a job opportunity, only excessive debts of over £30k.
In the summer of graduating from teaching, I came to a realization my life was not what I had expected to achieve after gaining an education, completing two very difficult degrees I thought to myself, I wanted to start my life again. I became suicidal.
I can still just about remember shaking and sweating on my flat floor praying over and over again in my mind for some help until, I rang my mother and finally admitted I was struggling, always previously suffering in silence, being the happy strong guy everyone expected me to be.
She took me to their house and told me to write down everything that I was feeling and thinking whilst she made an appointment with a GP ( I still have this list in my bookcase).
It was a long list of at least 20 things, once I gave it to my GP and began to open up about my many disappointments and hardships I couldn’t contain it, I broke down badly and was put on the highest dose of antidepressants available.
My mother, worried about my health, asked me to stay with her but due to having a fiancée I worried about I would only stay with her 3 times a week (although she eventually left me 4 months after my breakdown on Boxing Day as she couldn’t cope with my illness anymore, I do believe it was because she was suffering too).
Anyway, when at my parents, most of this time was spent sleeping.
My mind was completely exhausted after the emotional release of all the tension that had built up inside me for six years and also the effect my depression was starting to have on me.
At the same time as having my breakdown my younger sister, fifteen years of age at the time, also was suffering from anxiety at school due to bullying and seeing me, the one who is always smiling, have a breakdown was too much for her to handle with what was going on in her school life. So I would be laying on one sofa whilst my younger sister was curled up in the corner chair. We would both sleep and only wake up to watch ‘the twilight zone’ have lunch and go back to sleep.
This felt like it was a huge burden on my parents seeing both her children not well mentally and emotionally I knew I had to do something to improve my life and so I started to learn Spanish, practice my art again that I had so longed to do since teaching wasn’t so creative and also study more web design and graphic design as well as push myself to exercise and lose weight I had put on due to stress.
I eventually got myself my own design website and made several freelance websites for small businesses and then decided, enough was enough, to get myself to a happier place I had to get a job and it didn’t matter where in the world It was, I just needed one! The debt on my head was causing me the most problems and I had to start earning money. After only 1 week of applying for jobs all over the UK I ended up in London working for a data centre company.
The feeling of relief and happiness at the moment I first received this job was immense. It truly was like the pursuit of happiness. I finally knew what that feeling was like after all the struggle.
Moving to London was a big step but I felt I had nothing to lose. London was a great escape, it helped me to overcome my depression, gave me purpose, challenged my social anxiety and I also met a woman who, unlike my ex, was very supportive towards me. I thought great! Now I am on the right path again maybe my family will be able to focus on my younger sister but 5 years later…
…it wasn’t to be. My sister had got worse and contracted not only depression and anxiety but also anorexia, agoraphobia, and social anxiety. Unbelievably, in 2015, whilst I was on holiday in Egypt, she nearly died due to being so underweight. This was painful.
Not only was it painful to be in Egypt when my family needed me but for 5 years I was 200 miles away in London whilst she was becoming iller and there was little I could to help her and my family. Whilst she was nearly dying my older sister had been suffering from excessive stress levels, and lord and behold, she is ALSO a teacher!
It was always difficult knowing my family was suffering back in my hometown but I needed a job and that job was, unfortunately, in London.
I tried for several years to get a job in the North West but there was always something I was missing…so I trained myself on those things I was lacking in and I trained hard, most evenings when I had a chance.
I wanted to get back to be supportive now I had come out the other side of my long battle with depression and anxiety and fought daily the heavy feelings of difficulty.
Finally, after two years from the day, my sister nearly died from her illness I got a job back in my hometown!
Now, I am married, I am stronger, I have better career skills and it was all through this hardship, depression, and anxiety I had to experience that I achieved a new version of myself.
All this experience I have amassed through lived mental health challenges that I have had and my close family also has had has caused not only pain but also a deep understanding and compassion for people suffering mentally and emotionally. Due to this I set up a blog about my strategies for coping in 2015 called Battle of Mind, just over a year later I created a therapy directory to help people find therapy easier simply by entering the postcode to show varying different therapies that are available called https://www.seekatherapy.com.
I did this because I want people to be able to reduce their suffering as easily as possible by educating everyone that there are many therapies that can help reduce the suffering caused by depression/anxiety and stress and there are many strategies one can use to improve their own life.
Also, with my mother being a holistic therapist I knew how difficult it can be to gain new customers so I also wanted it to be easier for therapists to reach as many people as possible because it is the therapists that can help make this world a happier place for more people.
In some ways I am thankful for my experiences of depression and anxiety and also my families challenges happening at exactly the same time as my own because it gave me the strength to keep pushing forward and also, I would not have thought about creating Battle of Mind website to help others like this if I hadn’t had my illness.
Sometimes, although at the time it doesn’t feel like it, experiencing depression for me has been a good thing because I feel now I am able to help others more readily.
Hi, folks! John Wilson is the founder of Battle of Mind and Seek A Therapy and a practicing web and graphic designer. Before this John was also a part 1 architect in 2008 but due to the recession found it hard to find part 1 positions so retrained as a teacher only to find that wasn’t right for him too…this led to him having a severe breakdown due to excessive debts and no opportunity. He had to refocus himself, his life and how he saw the world. It is with these difficult experiences that Battle of Mind was born and the desire for people to know there is a way out of any difficulty they may be facing. “When things seem to be falling apart they are actually falling together”