“It’s OK not to be OK.” Jim repeats this motto regularly to help him come to terms with his condition and the effects it can have on his daily life. Though it may seem straightforward, his philosophy is the result of a long personal journey that began more than 25 years ago after he had his first depressive episode. Jim was in his mid-thirties at the time. He felt he was losing control of his life, though he didn’t really know how or why. He sought help to get better, and was diagnosed with major depression. With the right medication and therapy, he was able to pick up his life where he left off. Jim led an active and relatively balanced life for many years. Then, for a second time, he found he could no longer function and was unable to work. Jim fell apart. Despite receiving appropriate care, Jim’s condition didn’t improve. Every day, he was overcome with fatigue from the time he woke up in the morning, but promised himself that tomorrow will be better. Unfortunately, the dark days kept coming. Jim was not responding to treatment. He had refractory depression.
With support, Jim now manages to live with his illness and has recently completed training as a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) facilitator. He is taking time to rebuild himself, but on much simpler scale and with more realistic expectations. Jim knows he must travel his own path. Despite everything, he can still enjoy life’s small pleasures. With quiet strength, he is able to put projects in motion—including one that has been a crucial part of his journey - a peer support group for people with depression and anxiety, where he is the facilitator. Jim has been leading these therapeutic sessions every week for the past 15 years, where new people are welcomed weekly. After all, mental health is a topic like any other, and just by talking about it Jim has been able to find peace within himself.