Above & Beyond

advice on getting started tackling depression

firstly - apologies in advance for the long post and thank you for taking the time to read it and reply (if you do!).

The crux is - I don't know what to do. I have issues with depression, extremely low self esteem and anxiety. I have pushed away everyone I know and try to minimize my human contact. I wont speak on the phone to anyone except family and 1 colleague I work with. They make all official calls on my behalf as i cannot talk to strangers even for things like utility bills or the bank.

To clarify - I am not suicidal - I never have thoughts about "doing myself in" or "I'd be better off dead." I want to enjoy life not escape it.

I can get on with things and I do work, I go out with my daughter and take her places. We go on holiday. I'm not afraid of people or what they think of me while they are strangers. but I find after years of not speaking to people I cant speak to them now.

I could probably just about bring myself to go to my GP but I don't want a medical record that shows I'm suffering from or have suffered from depression. I am a single father who had to fight for custody even though my ex-wife kidnapped my child and went abroad and made up all sorts to try to swing things her way. I had lawyers order psychologists to exam me and my medical records looking for history of depression or violence or self-harm. Prior to this I'd never been depressed so there was nothing to block my custody but now I am I'm too scared to have it on record.

This divorce and custody process left me so scarred that I stopped going to the doctors when I should have .When I tried dating again after it, the first rejection I had shut me off for good. I've not socialised for 4-5 years now with anyone. I just work, and try to raise my daughter. I put on a brave face for her but as she gets older she notices that I don't have friends. I cant bring myself to even chat to neighbours or other parents at the school. I've forgotten all that it is to have an adult conversation. I do my best to rise above it for my daughters sake, to put on a brave face and talk and I barely get past it - I know this is the way in - the fix - to push this boundary - but every time I speak to someone I have massive anxiety rushes. I shake uncontrollably and it takes days to recover. when I try to face it I fail.

I don't want drugs as a treatment. I don't know if I could speak to a therapist as I am terrified it being marked on my record should my ex ever try to gain custody back. About a year ago a dermatologist consultant put me in touch with a depression charity and I spoke to them about mydepression but ended up hanging up 1/2 way through my first appointment as I felt the person on the other end was leading me on to statements (tbh I didn't think they sounded qualified to do their job). Even though it was voluntary when I said I wasn't having the problem they thought I was (i.e. going out in public which I'm quite happy to do) and I wanted to stop they said it would go on record that I'd refused their help. I don't think I've used the phone to speak to a stranger since

Do therapists do text Skype sessions as I think this may be the only option open to me that I stand a chance of not sabotaging.

6 Replies

Hi Mate,

Sorry to hear you had a difficult time with what you went through. You can opt for private counselling. they are all confidential and everything is kept on their own personal records. but one thing you need to be aware and please don't be put off, is that if at any point they feel you are risk to yourself then they have an obligation to get in touch with your GP. however, since you don't feel suicidal the chances of that type of situation occurring with your therapist are very slim. your counsellor may use a combination of talking, listening and CBT. It is great. provided you are open about yourself and your situation you have to practice what they tell you and through that you can overcome some of your hurdles. it's never easy but you have to try and take that 1st step to change. Having an understanding friend besides you to help you change is also good.

If you want to talk about this further then please let us all know. everyone here is to help you.



Poor you, no really you've been through alot. Well done for getting custody what a huge achievement especially for a man, I know most children go to the mother almost automatically.

Look I’m not qualified to tell you anything but Id like to propose a couple of things, have a think and if they resonate with you, great. Your instincts have served you well up to now, but also you need to keep and open mind to allow change.

Obviously you have Internet access so here’s what I suggest a two pronged approach. Firstly I understand the reluctance to meet with people its far easier to deal with people if you don’t meet them :-) we all use avoidance, but here you are smart man that you are opening up. Look for a charity based counseling service (bare with me) they wont keep records that the authorities have access too unless you tell them, they aren’t going to go bleating to your doctors and you can self refer. GO its important for you now to trust someone, one person, you can do that. Sure I could say Skype is a good idea but you have explained yourself clearly and what would benefit you is making a connection, Skype just allows you to remain disconnected.

You’re a brave man you can do this, maybe in your day stigma was attached to seeking counseling, how many famous intellectuals even action men have openly admit to seeking counseling. We are human beings we ALL need help at sometime, its okay, just not everyone s up front about it.

And if you find that counselor isn’t for you well there are other charities other counselors, be up front when you contact them say if you feel after the first session that counselor is not for you, you wont return. These people want to help you and are by their very nature kind, gentle people.

Secondly I’m a firm believer that if your brain can’t accept something one way you need to think of an alternative way to dress it up so it is acceptable. I don’t know how much time your daughter and your job take up but a hobby does your soul good. An outside interest would help stop your brain spiraling over thoughts of your situation and you turning in on yourself. Distraction is a great tool for depression on the way to feeling calmer and thinking clearer.

Think, what do you love, what hobby would you do; now here’s the twist for your brain. Build yourself a project, I mean a real project with a proper brief, beginning, middle and an end. Resolve to make or do something with say a month or 6 weeks. As you take your focus OFF meeting people or making contact, you will through the need to research your project, you guessed it sometimes need to contact people for information. As you gradually realise you are being met with kindness and helpfulness your anxiety will ease, baby steps, move slowly.

The guys and gals on here will give you the lovin stuff and great advice, I’m the motivator, I want to enthuse and engage you in new ideas and new ways of approach.

You have achieved so much in your life, you are a strong, resourceful, intelligent man, you have all the tools for life right inside you, you just can access all of them right now because of stress and anxiety.

You will be okay and this is will workout, maybe you need this maybe its long over due that you start looking a what’s best for you, what life you would like instead of merely surviving, looking to the stars and the sun. I believe you can do an excellent job, just move slowly, be your own best friend and put real emphasis on relaxing often, resting often, daydreaming good thoughts often, eating good food, distract your mind rest and when your calm oh boy will you make up for lost time. You have great things ahead of you and alot to look forward too even though it may not feel like it now this red hot minute.

Keep talking and well done for opening the channels in your life.


thanks for you swift replies. I've emailed Mind now to see what options are available and if they can recommend something locally. Most of them want you to call though and not sure I can bring myself to do that so we'll see. There are plenty of charites out there but doesn't seem to be much local to me for calling in to see anyone anyway - most of the groups etc are 15 miles+ (quite rural here) and as I work 40-50 hours a week, spend 2-3 hours driving back and forth to work and the rest of time i've my daughter - I can't think when i'll get enough time to cut work to attend anything.

Hopefully I can find something to start. Private counselling is an option but its so expensive - I doubt I could afford a session more than every couple of months.

Thanks for taking time to comment though I do appreciate it.


Well its 12 days since I've emailed mind now and they've not responded. I guess they either don't think I actually have a problem, don't care or cant be bothered as I've not "phoned". I may be expecting too much but this just seems indicative of all health related departments or organisations I've ever dealt with and it puts me off even trying to seek help. How would a mute person go about contacting and dealing with depression as I think I'm in the same boat? Perhaps I'm better off not trying to speak to people as they always seem to let me down which just adds to it.


Hi. Please dont give up. I have been looking for help recently. I have also rung places and not got a reply. It makes you feel like, whats the point. It takes a lot to actually pick up the phone to get help and then when itt is just an answer machine and you dont get any response it is disheartening. But sometimes that is how it is . So we have to try again. Keep trying until you get the help you need. Look for self help books. I have books and a CD by Dr Claire Weekes. She explains how our brains end up like they do and gives simple ways to help yourself. She has helped thousands of people to better mental health. Also a book and CD by Charles Linden has helped cure me and my son of panic attacks. He gives help for all types of anxiety and depression. You can get both books on Amazon. I hope you will try Mind again. Keep trying until you find someeone who cares. They are out there but are hard to find. Even within the mental health system not all have a true understanding of mental health. Unless you have been there you cant truly understand it. I am waiting for CBT at the moment from NHS. I hope I will be able to work with whoever I get, but if I dont I will have to try again. Thats just the way it is. Please dont give up.


if you caught a masked man in your daughters room in the middle of the night doing something to her under the blankets and he had a gun would you still be unable to call authorities? if u saw him from the hallway through a crack in her door but you knew he didnt see u and u have a chance to get help... or would u watch and wait to see what happened there?


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