I am completely in awe of the reach of This Is My Brave. The internet gives us the power to share our message with the world, and we always love hearing from folks who share our passion for ending the stigma surrounding mental illness through personal storytelling. Saj emailed us his story and we're honored to share it with you today. All the way from the United Kingdom, please welcome Sajan!
My names Sajan and I work as a probation worker as well as run my own successful revision website.
At the age of 16 my parents separated while I was at college and it really affected me, so much so that I became severely depressed and reclusive for many years following. My grades suffered and although I have always felt myself able, I did poorly in my exams due to not attending classes and feeling lost. I just wanted to hide away from everyone due to what was happening at home as this had really knocked my self-esteem and focus and I sunk deeper into the spiral of depression.
I left college without going to university and spent almost two years hidden in my room while the world carried on. My friends were at university getting on with their lives while I struggled to get the motivation to wake up most days or even face anyone during this period due to the embaressment of doing nothing productive with my life. I had no plan or sense of direction and I sunk even deeper into despair as I felt left behind. It was only when I looked back did I realise how depressed I was as I never thought it could happen to someone so young or even me.
Thanks to a friends recommendation I eventually managed to get a part-time job which paid little but enough for me to chug along in life and meet my simple expenses. I had no idea what my long-term plan was but this was something that became more of an issue as my friends finished university and started their careers. I always thought I would get back into education at some point to improve my own prospects but as I got older this began to feel harder and harder and I didn’t even have the confidence to apply.
It was a chance meeting with the woman who is now my wife that really changed everything. I met her and she saw something in me even I couldn't see in myself. She encouraged me and supported me and it gave me the belief to work my socks off for 2 years to land a decent job where I work now. I actually began to feel a sense of normality as I felt I was doing something respectable and something I thoroughly enjoyed, helping make a difference working in probation. My wife gave me the belief that I could do anything and made me feel more capable than ever before.
I started to get enough confidence to get back into education to study psychology and scored among the highest grades in the country here in the UK. I started a psychology revision website to help other students do the same known as Loopa Psychology hoping to help others in similar positions. Within a year it became one of the most popular revision sites for college students. It's proved so successful over 400 schools and thousands of students visit and use it and it continues to grow. Its ironic really, the subject I’m now considered an educational “expert” in by many is actually one which is all about understanding thinking and behaviour.
Sometimes I do reflect back and think none of this would have been possible if I had never suffered depression from such a young age in the first place. It started off a chain of events that would land me here now and finally coming to grips with managing and challenging the negative thoughts I get that sometimes try to draw me back. There is always a fear I could sink so low again having been there before and lose the progress I’ve made. I realise now just how fear based depression is, whether that’s the fear of what others think about me or even how I think about myself or the fear of falling back into the old me.
I think sometimes even having just one person believe in you is enough to make all the difference. For me my wife Neera was that person and its led me to become successful in my career, as an entrepeneaur and I hope as a father too and im grateful for the struggles I have faced mentally as I wouldn’t have many of the things now that make me so happy.