Rachel Kelly
Writer, Mental Health Campaigner, Public Speaker

My Wellness Story – my complete recovery from depression

Jo Clutton is a writer, artist, traveller, wild west nut intrigued by science and renaissance soul with a potty sense of humour.

She writes light-hearted anecdotal articles, many of which were published in a local newspaper and in various magazines, and now I'm publishing on her blog: 

Creating My Odyssey

Jo's blog ​chronicles the rebuild of her polymath creativity and life after a complete recovery from thirty years of depression, which was a miraculous event. Jo is hoping to inspire and encourage other creative people and those with mental health issues, and, hopefully, give some enjoyment!

"My blog is a great vehicle for my creativity, much of which has been hidden under a bushel. I'm also editing the novel. I've been writing forever, on and off, which helped keep me sane during young parenthood and depression. Alias Jeannie Delaney is the life story of a devastating cowgirl who is the fastest gun in the west and also bisexual. Since my recovery from depression, I decided it's time to get it out there, and my Husband, who is a brilliant critic, is helping me do just that."

Here, Jo shares her wellness story with us. 

Since my com­plete re­cove­ry from de­press­ion, a calm state of mind has slow­ly evol­ved. It's so good! I've al­ways been ex­cit­able and prone to temp­ers, but not now. Ex­cit­able still maybe – that's part of me – but temp­ers, not so much. Still there, but modified!

This is part­ly due to medica­tion chan­ge, but also to cog­nitive be­havior­al therapy, CBT for short. I re­com­mend CBT to an­yone, not just to those suf­fer­ing from ment­al health is­sues. My de­press­ion was clin­ical, but ex­cur­bated by the be­nign neg­lect of fami­ly – parents and sibl­ings. And keep­ing silent about it. After thir­ty years of em­otion­al neg­lect, plus an­xiety, brain pat­terns be­come dis­tor­ted and cog­nitive be­havior­al therapy gradual­ly straightens them out. Slow­ly, and in my case, over a per­iod of three years.

Non clin­ical de­press­ion and an­xiety starts with a negative thought. CBT takes these thoughts, takes them apart, and chal­lenges each fact. Is it true, that negative thought? Let's have the facts. In my case, when we hit on the pro­blem, I would cry. We knew then what we were tackl­ing. It does help en­or­mous­ly if you have a CBT partn­er, par­ticular­ly some­one like my scien­fical­ly min­ded hus­band!

Other means of stay­ing calm and well?
Talk. Talk. Talk.

I was dis­couraged by parents and sibl­ings from talk­ing about it and the feel­ings fes­tered and grew. A true friend will li­st­en. If neces­sa­ry, 'di­vor­ce' the un­sym­pathetic or 'toxic' peo­ple in your life. I've done so and it works. When I had rea­ched com­plete well­ness, I de­cided that I was no long­er going to risk los­ing that. I've writt­en a blog post about it.

Pur­sue in­terests and hobb­ies and start new ones, par­ticular­ly creative and ac­tive ones. Make friendships and nur­ture them! Ob­vious­ly re­laxa­tion is vital. My re­laxa­tion con­s­ists of re­gular morn­ing co­ffees in a cafe with Hus­band and talk­ing about every­th­ing and an­yth­ing. Humour. Vital! That potty humour in­ves­ted in both of us has pro­bab­ly done the most to help us. I can't em­phas­ise humour too much. Yoga is good, and sleep, of co­ur­se. When I began to wake up feel­ing good, I could­n't be­lieve it! I'd never felt like that be­fore. Hooray!

There you have it. My per­son­al view. I hope some of this helps.

En­joyed this post? Check out Jo's blog and soci­al media ac­counts:

Creat­ing My Odys­sey