I tried many therapies and some organised religions through out my depression, some main stream, some not. I found hope in most things. Organised religions had fantastic fellowship. For me however, there was some stand out strategies of which outcomes were more sustained, easier to measure, and did not rely heavily on others. I do understand that what worked for me may not work for others, depression is such a personal journey. Firstly I knew that my exercise was an integral part of my health. I easily recognised that every time I exercised I felt different and clearer in my head. I've since come to learn that when we exercise we release a range of hormones that help us function better, and whilst their release wont get to the root of the problem, they certainly help! Secondly I put myself on a counselling course, not to become a counsellor, but to try and make some sort of sense of my own thinking. I gained much needed self awareness entwined with good solid education. This was a two year part time course and was a large component of beating depression. It was not an easy course and 50% of the course members had dropped out half way through due to the nature of having to face the reality about ourselves. It's hard to face our own flaws and the realisation of the need for change. It leaves only two options; to stay the same which means feeling the same, or to take action and responsibility for ourselves. I wouldn't have my strengths if I didn't know my weaknesses. Hormones had a large part to play with my depression and thanks to a good friend who diagnosed my imbalance through iridology, she recommended a natural product to help me with this. After about 6 weeks there was a noticable impact on my thoughts and outlook. Granted it was subtle, but after a decade of depression believe me, I was finely tuned to any internal changes and even the smallest of changes offered hope. I now had three good solid strategies that were working for me. I remember how good it felt when I started feeling like there was little pieces of my broken jigsaw puzzle that were starting to come together again. Lastly, what I didn't see coming was that I had to let go of some relationships that were entrenched in a cycle that seemed to thrive on dysfunction. My big decision was such a risk, it could have been the very thing that would throw me right back to my darkness, OR it could be the very thing that was going to set me free for good!.. As it's turned out, the risk was worth it as I gained strength and momentum beyond my wildest dreams. It was at this point that I also discovered a book called 'The Winners Bible' by Dr Kerry Spackman. Unknowingly this information turned out to be timely in that it pulled my mental, spiritual, physical and emotional parts together. It gave me a framework on which to hang the things that I knew, complete with new strategies and a plan for the future. Above all others, this book presented an eclectic mix of therapies. I learnt how to be more in control of my own thinking, which gave me more choices. Choices which I was/am happy to be accountable for. More choice to me means more freedom, and more freedom means a more peaceful life. I learnt to access, maintain and create positive tracks of thought which over road the lurking negative ones, which although still remain, now tend to act as a balancer to my decisions rather than dominating them. Kerry Spackmans book inspired me so much that I have incorporated a lot of his strategies in my own coaching business which is a combination of group exercise options and lifestyle management strategies. People come to me for one or the other, or both!.. Most people realise the connection between physical and mental health but only a small few actually live it. What started off as consciously managing life eventually became habitual and new pathways were created, which means less conscious effort is now required. Of course life will throw at me the unexpected, I am not in control of what might happen to me. However, I now have a toolbox which can help me work through things. Of course I have dark days, Im not positive 100% of the time! that's reserved for saints. However those times only linger for a few hours or a day or two now. Next to having my two beautiful children, getting on top of my depression has been my greatest achievement. It would not have been possible without all those who helped me either through their expertise and direction, or their own stories and words of insight which helped me come home and gave me my life back.