I was popular, had a successful career, nice home and was financially well off, but when my marriage collapsed in my mid forties I experienced severe depression. I was embarrassed by this as I had always been so strong and could cope with everything thrown at me, but separating from my wife affected me terribly. I didn’t really see the point in going on, I quit my job, sat at home and tried to avoid contact with everyone. I really didn’t want to meet people and explain about my illness as I knew nobody would understand. I ate a lot of junk food and gained weight. Life was rubbish!

For the next few months I only saw a handful of people, but surprisingly they were all quite understanding about my illness. During this time I learnt about Sport in Mind’s sessions and was told many times by worried friends and family about how regular exercise helps reduce symptoms of depression… but did I really want to join a mental health group? No way, that wasn’t for me! I decided just to continue my junk food diet.

After several months of eating junk food and gaining more weight, I made the decision to go along to one of Sport in Mind’s sessions… just to confirm my thoughts that it really wasn’t for me. When I turned up at my first session I was very shocked – all the people at the session were just normal, regular people. That really wasn’t what I was expecting! The session was fun and not too serious – just what I needed in my life at the time. I began to attend on a regular basis and after attending sessions for about 8 months I felt well enough to resume my career.

Playing sport and exercising regularly was undoubtedly the main reason why I recovered from depression, but also being a part of a little group and making new friends helped me feel like life really was worth living. I will be forever thankful for the help I was given by Sport in Mind and although I no longer access their service due to work commitments I continue to exercise on a regular basis to keep myself physically and mentally well.