"20 years of depression left me desperate and pessimistic for a solution that worked for me."
Depression can be such an isolating and lonely disorder to experience, but with more than 264 million people affected* worldwide, it's a very common illness. With the right treatment, it is possible to recover from depression and our Specialists are here to help.
18 months after being discharged from day treatment at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, Robin looks back on his journey and explains how Dr Woolley, along with the team at Chelsea, helped him to change his outlook for the better.
I have a long history of recurrent depressive episodes, and over the last twenty years I have seen a variety of people to try and help me find coping strategies – and perhaps even solutions – for my struggles.
Over the years I've seen Psychiatrists, engaged in hours of talking therapy and have even endured electroconvulsive therapy – I found temporary relief but depression always found me again. I have Parkinson's Disease, which has a bearing on my mental health but, nevertheless, I needed to find a lasting way to cope with the severe moods which were impacting every part of my life, from my work to my homelife.
When I met Dr Woolley, I was very much in negative mindset where I'd virtually written off any hope for positive progress. I think it's fair to say that by this point I was very cynical when it came to doctors. Due to the number of doctors and therapists I'd seen and variety of methods I'd tried. I'd lost all confidence in new medications, or claims of a cure.
However, Dr Woolley didn't give me any outlandish promises, and made it clear that the hard work started now. He suggested that we try day treatment sessions at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, where I join group therapy sessions and even yoga classes. Both of these ideas thoroughly pushed me out of my comfort zone – a man of my age practising yoga seemed absurd – but Dr Woolley's caring nature really made me believe he was on my side, and he persuaded me to give both activities a go. I can honestly say that I've had the best treatment of my life at the clinic.
Every single person who works at Schoen Clinic Chelsea has such a caring and patient attitude, and contributes to the non-judgemental atmosphere. The environment itself is very peaceful and friendly, and is a stark contrast to some of the other facilities I have visited over the years. The clinic isn't institutional – it's fresh and welcoming, with the staff to match.
Before I started at the clinic, during episodes of depression and anxiety, I would become very isolated with feelings of hopelessness and pointlessness. I would drop out of social contact, and marital life became very difficult for both me and my wife. In the past I had mostly not responded to one-on-one psychological therapy, and was despondent about antidepressants, having been on a number over the years. Dr Woolley put together an intensive group program, which was very helpful in reducing isolation, stigma and engendering a greater sense of optimism. The session sizes were small, which suited me very well. They enabled us to bounce ideas off other people, and discover that I’m not alone in my problems.
The sessions, combined with more intensive medication approaches, meant we managed to avoid an inpatient admission, which had been a feature of my previous history and I recovered sufficiently to resume my very active lifestyle.
It’s almost 18 months since I was discharged from day treatment sessions at Schoen Clinic Chelsea and I still see Dr Woolley every six months to keep me ticking over. I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that Dr Woolley saved me at a time in my life where I was both desperate for, and despondent about, help. I now regularly see my grandchildren, and my wife and I are greatly looking forward to a trip to America to see my son get married.
Throughout this difficult journey with depression, my wife has been my rock and greatest comfort. The care I received at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, complemented by my wife’s support, has meant that I truly feel the happiest and most stable I have for many years, and I’ve got Dr Woolley and his team to thank.
Key facts about depression
- Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
- Depression doesn't always have a "good" reason. The chemicals responsible for mood control in the brain may be out of balance, leaving you depressed with seemingly no reason to be.
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
- Depression is more than just ordinary sadness.
- Anyone of any age can be affected by depression.
- More women are affected by depression than men.
- Depression can lead to suicide.
- There are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for moderate and severe depression.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an anxiety or mood disorder, contact our caring team at Schoen Clinic Chelsea today on 0203 146 2300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about our Treatment Programmes for anxiety & mood disorders today.
*At Robin's request, the images used in his story are of an actor and are for reference purposes only.
* GBD 2017 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. (2018). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet. DOI.