Depression is horrible. I didn't know that depression existed to start with, I just though everything was wrong with the world and with my life. Then the doctors told me I was depressed and gave me medicine. The first medicine they gave me was Paroxetine. It didn't make me feel happy again but it stopped me from caring about things which had been making me feel sad. I didn't like the side effects though, it made me feel like I was a robot, without emotions.
Later on I stopped taking the medicine and got better for a while. I moved house and started living with some nicer people and felt better. I started smoking weed and for a while it seemed like depression was never going to get me again. But I was wrong.
A year and a half later I started to get unwell again, and was really upset because I knew it was depression coming back again. I decided that I mustn't smoke weed to try and make it go away, because taking drugs to make yourself feel better is not a good idea. So I went back to the doctors and they gave me more drugs, this time it was Prozac. I didn't like the drugs the docotrs gave me any more than the drugs I could take for myself.
After a few months I got better, and stopped taking the Prozac. I got better more quickly this time and realized that it was just things that were stressing me out that made me feel so bad. Once I realised that they didn't matter so much I started to feel better. After a while I left the course at University that I was doing and got a job. I started back on the weed again but was happy with this for a while.
My new job was OK, but it wasn't very interesting. Sometimes it was very dull, but at least it wasn't very stressful. I had money too, which meant I wasn't worried about things. I got a little bit poorly again over the summer (of 2001) and started some CBT, because I didn't want to get worse and start having medicine again. Then there was the attack on the World Trade Centre (in 2001) which kind of shocked me, I realised how lucky I was and kind of snapped out of it for a while.
I discovered Buddhism and meditation, which seemed like the best way to deal with things. You only suffer because of things you are attached to and feel like you need. This made sense to me, so I started meditation, and kind of became a Buddhist, although its not something you really convert to. That winter I met a really nice girl and started a relationship with her which was really good for me, as a lot of my feelings of sadness were because I felt so lonely. She stayed with me for nearly a year, and when I am feeling happy I try to remember how nice it was being with her. When I am sad though I sometimes feel like its awful that I lost her, but I am over her and its not a problem.
I continued my meditation afterwards and became quite serious about it. I decided I had to stop smoking weed, and this was difficult, because I didn't realise how dependant I had become on it as a way of coping with the depression. I bought a mountain bike and started riding everywhere for exercise, which was good. A year later I started some Kung Fu, which was also good exercise and seemed to fit with my meditation too. Starting the Kung Fu finally helped me to stop smoking weed, which I barely ever do now. For a while, things were good, but I felt as though I had to do my meditation/Kung Fu in order to stay in control. So I wasn't really 100%.
I went back to university to do a degree. After a while I started to do well at the degree, but was still feeling really lonely. I started to realise that the meditation and kung fu had become like the weed used to be, a coping mechanism, or crutch, to try and deal with my feelings of loneliness, anxiety and sadness. I decided that I had had enough of pushing myself so hard just to try and have a normal level of happiness, which other people seem to have (at least some of the time). My degree was Psychology, so this helped me a bit.
Nowadays I still get kind of 'attacks' of depression, where I feel really despairing and miserable, for a little while, then it normally goes away. I think that because of the things I have done/learned to cope with depression, I am able to tell it to 'fuck off' basically. It still gets me, but I can cope with it better than I used to be able to.
I have found that eating foods with a high level of Tryptophan (which makes serotonin, the chemical that the medicines doctors give you affects) has more of an affect than anything else. That and the ability to snap out of it and stop feeling so sad, just thinking of something else really.
I still want a little bit of counselling though. I am still single (its been about 4 years since my last girlfriend) and when I think about relationships I can get really sad. Not thinking about it works, but its not really a proper solution.