“I’m never going back there again” – Dean’s story


Dean started experiencing anxiety and depression when he was overwhelmed with stress from work and at home. With the help of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medication, Dean is better able to manage his negative, racing thoughts and looks forward to the future.

I want to talk about anxiety and depression; the symptoms I experienced and the way I tackled it. I got into a situation where I had a lot of responsibility and struggled to cope: trying to settle in a new job, living in a house that needed a lot of work done, and on top of that trying to be a good parent.

At first, I lost my job during Covid-19 and was working with agency switching companies, not having stability. I'm a truck driver so I was always alone, which made me think a lot about all the issues I needed to deal with like installing new windows, wallpapering, painting and gardening etc. 

I found I was waking up at night worrying about how I'm going to get things done. At work, eventually the fast heart beat would start and then the sweats and shortness of breath. Sometimes it felt like the thoughts would never end. Eventually, the low mood got the better of me and I felt useless and like a failure.

  • Sometimes it felt like the thoughts would never end.

One day, I decided to tackle these tasks one by one, but I still worried and added more stress to myself. People close to me didn't really understand what I was going through because I kept things to myself thinking it's my problem and I'll deal with it. This of course wasn't a good idea as maybe talking to people would've helped much more.

I contacted the doctors and explained my situation and they offered me selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help me cope. At first, I felt awful but after a few days I started to calm down and found myself a little happier; not caring as much. I then started to worry less; just got on with my chores, being a dad and enjoying it.

  • Life is much better now with better sleeping patterns, a better circle of friends and eating healthier.

I also was referred to cognitive behavioural therapy online which was very useful in helping me understand my symptoms and how to control them. There are many different modules for different issues you are experiencing: spotting these thoughts when they start and understanding them, breathing techniques if you experience increased heart rate. It's about turning negative thoughts into positive ones or just shutting them out completely. I definitely recommend both treatments as it saved me. You have to want to do it and it will work.

Now when I get a negative thought or annoyed by someone, I just look back to where I was and to where I am now. Sometimes I give myself a pat on the back for what I've achieved. I'm never going back there again. Life is much better now with better sleeping patterns, a better circle of friends and eating healthier, with a positive future ahead. Hopefully this may help some readers in the same situation and give them hope as there is a way out.

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