I am very honoured to introduce Ellie Donnelly from DAISY RETREAT - please see below and get in touch with her if you would like more information about this amazing treatment for depression.
I am Ellie Donnelly and this is my story in a nutshell.
I’m forty years old and I undertook my clinical training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at the Middlesex Hospital in 1998. Since then, in addition to my own private practice, I have held senior positions at The Priory, The Capio Nightingale and The Cygnet Hospitals in London. I have a bipolar disorder, as generations of my family before me, so I have lived with depression since October 1971. I had my first severe episode in 1986.
Since then, depression came in colossal waves, bringing with it the salty stigma of mental illness. I was terrified I’d be found out as bad, crazy, mad, lazy and unlovable. I was certain I was all of these things. In my twenties I feared I’d be seen as a rogue therapist, someone unfit to teach others. I understood, in great detail, the effects of the illness and how to deal with the symptoms; but I could not accept my illness, so I could function but I couldn’t accept myself and thrive.
My depression was a wild flower, no matter which chemicals I used to destroy it, it kept coming back and it was stealing nutrients from the front lawn I was trying so terribly hard to make perfect. The beauty is that this illness of the mind and all of the suffering it brings has, in many ways informed my nature, and served me well. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy gave me tried and tested systems to survive, and my survival, at times, required a grave battle. Deeper healing began when I withdrew from my inner and outer conflicts and that takes more than logic to occur.
Mindfulness increases my capacity to let things be and to sometimes surrender. I’m currently searching for mental health professionals who suffer a disorder, to openly challenge the inherent negativity of our old ways of viewing disorder; professionals who value their experiences, even if they feel silenced by their career choice, bills to pay etc. If we don't dissolve the stigma within our own ranks then how do we encourage thriving, not just surviving? I’m also collecting evidence of human happiness and have set up an open group for people to post the nice things that happen in their life. So I’m sending warmest welcomes to join us on the fledgling LinkedIn groups, ‘Stigmatized Illnesses’ and ‘Collecting Positive Data’.