Lauren has first hand knowledge of what its like to live with depression. At the age of 15 she began self-harming and attempted to take her own life.
“It all started when I was just 15-years-old, right before my 16th birthday. My boyfriend and I split, on his terms. This led me to cut myself and attempt suicide through overdosing, ever since this my life has changed dramatically.” She said.
“At this time, I was going out every night drinking heavily. This understandably didn’t help the loss I felt for my ex boyfriend, resulting in me hitting rock bottom.” She said teary eyed.
Ater a month, Lauren sought help from her GP and was referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.) Here she was given Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which helped her get over the break-up.
“The CBT helped me get over my ex boyfriend, however, the depression didn’t lift, so they put me on anti-depressants and gave me more therapy.
“The drugs I was given didn’t work, so I was put on Citalopram, and only the strongest dose would have any affect. Within 6 months my mood began to decrease, I attempted suicide another time by overdosing.
“I had never felt as terrible as I did that day. I wanted to disappear, so the pain would just go away. Nothing would help, I just wanted to escape; I’d had enough.” She whimpered.
The Stoke-On-Trent student found life unbearable and turned to self-harm as the only way to cope with her unhappiness.
“I used cutting and overdosing to get me through as none of the drugs seemed to work and when none of these helped I turned to alcohol. This seemed to ease me through college.
“With no luck finding a drug to suit me, I got very angry and went through phases of severe cutting, drinking and overdosing. This led to a hospital admission and a visit to Harplands Psychiatric Hospial.
“This was the place I made the decision to stop taking my medication, which meant I had to go cold turkey, in bed withdrawing from the medication, this made me feel better for a little while.
“However, I fell back into the hole of depression, but since I’ve been put under a new psychiatrist things have been up and sometimes down, but I’m back on the medication and I will get through this.” She added.
When asked about the statistics and the gender gap, Lauren replied with: “I don’t know any facts, but from my own experience, I see a lot more females when I go for treatment and I know females that have suffered with this, but not men.
“I think women may be more willing to seek help than men. But generally in this situation it takes a long time for anyone to seek help from professionals, there is a time when it goes undiagnosed and responsibility is on family and friends to support and convince the person they need help. I know I find it hard to accept and ask for help when things get bad.” She said.
According to the website MayoClinic.com, about twice as many women as men experience depression with several factors increasing a woman’s risk of depression.
It also states, puberty, premenstrual problems, pregnancy, postpartum depression and menopause are all factors that may increase the risk of women developing depression throughout their life.
Life situations and culture play a role too, with women having a higher rate than men.
Statistics found on MayoClinic state around 1 in 8 women develop depression at some point in their life with 25-44 being the most common age.
Jamie Nicol, a male counselor, works privately with individuals who have a range of physical and emotional problems. He believes women feel able to acknowledge emotional problems easier than men.
“I have past experience in providing therapy within a NHS psychological service to individuals experiencing depression and my belief is that more women than men feel able to acknowledge and communicate when they experience emotional problems.
“They are more likely to seek or ask for help when suffering from depression.
“I acknowledge that my client base consists of a 70/30 split of females to males. I believe this is likely to be influenced again by some male’s uncertainty around talking about their depression and sharing their thoughts and feelings.
“I have worked as a therapist for over twelve years and although I recognise there has been a gradual shift and more males than ever before are coming to therapy, my experience and diary shows evidence that women are more likely to seek help.” He said.
Anita Redfern, also a counselor in private practice, too believes females are more likely to seek help with depression but also believes women take on responsibility for others; which can lead to stress.
“I think females are more likely to seek help with depression and therefore there is more information on them to base statistics on.” She said.
“However, women tend to take responsibility for others more readily and therefore women can lead more complex lives, where satisfaction can depend on others and this could lead to stress.
“Often women take on more emotionally than men and it is these situations that can lead to anxiety and depression.” She said.
Lauren added: “Depression is a mental illness that I believe a lot of people will live with, without seeking help That is the first step; more people need to face the realisation in order to deal with it.
I know when I got help, the weight on my shoulders began to lift, and I know someday I will live a normal life again.”
Additional information on http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/MH00035