An ‘invisible beast constantly clawing at your back’ is how Larry Meyler describes his depression.
The 38-year-old Irishman first fell into its grip after the death of his mother when he was a young boy, and has since suffered bouts of low mood and anxiety. Losing his beloved father a few years ago was also a huge knock.
Now he has written his first book, Being Brave, sharing his experience of having made the decision to leave everything behind and travel across the world in a bid to conquer his demons.
It has won praise from a host of celebrities and social media users, with actress Joanna Lumley describing it as ‘utterly gripping’ while reality TV star Vicky Pattison said his memoir is ‘incredibly inspiring & I suggest you give it a look!’
According to statistics depression will affect one in five of at some point in their lives.
Anyone can get low, but someone is said to be suffering from depression when these feelings don’t go away quickly or become so bad they interfere with their everyday life.
Larry Meyler has struggled with depression since his mother died when he was six
The 38-year-old Irishman has written his first book, Being Brave, to help others
Mr Meyler pictured with X Factor star James Arthur and reality TV star Vicky Pattison has endorsed his book
Mr Meyler’s mother Joan died suddenly when he was just six years old from a pulmonary embolism. Then in 2014, dad Tommy suffered a stroke and heart attack.
He says he knew that he had to ‘change his life before it slips away’ – and refused to allow the condition to take over his life any more.
His book is billed as ‘one boy’s brave journey across the globe to save himself, with nothing but a broken heart, a backpack and balls of steel’.
‘It has engulfed me at times,’ he said. ‘It’s sting is never far off.’
Speaking to The Sun, he reveals what living with depression is really like and how he ‘kicked this monster right in the balls’.
Depression makes you feel like life is a curse
‘It’s as if an invisible and unrelenting monster is constantly clawing at your back,’ said Mr Meyler.
He admits that depression has made him feel ‘totally and utterly exhausted’.
He added: ‘It’s like trying to walk forward in a blasting blizzard of wind and hailstones, unable to see straight, being pushed and dragged backwards.’
Mr Meyler shared a picture of his support for Movember, which aims to raises awareness of men’s health, on his Instagram account
Explaining that at it’s worst, it can make you feel like ‘the gift of life is a curse’ and you’d be better off out of it, he says he put a plan in place to deal with this feeling.
He says he didn’t see it as running away from his problems, more so finding the time and space to get to the root of them and understand his feelings.
Alarm bells should ring if your loved one goes quiet,
Mr Meyler points out that he is not medically trained – but speaking from his own experience, warns that silence is a sign that something isn’t quite right.
They may be shying away from social situations and he explains how such behaviour can be misinterpreted as people can become offended and think they’ve done something to offend the person.
He says that many people suffering depression to open up and talk to someone – especially those close to them – out of embarrassment.
Just being there is enough
Sometimes you don’t need to say anything, just being there for someone battling depression is what’s important.
It’s priceless knowing you have someone to just listen, someone to try to be objective while also wanting to protect you.
Even providing informative links, inspiring quotes, and article can help.
Just someone being there with an ear, a kind word or a hug can be very powerful in helping put the wheels in motion to get you to open up.
His book shares his experience of when he made the decision to leave everything behind and travel across the world in a bid to conquer his demons
Don’t tell someone to ‘just get over it’
Mr Meyler says the worst thing you can do is expect a loved one experiencing depression to just pull themselves together.
‘Depression goes hand-in-hand with embarrassment and shame, especially in men, there’s a preconception that it’s a weakness,’ he explained.
He says that living with the condition is ‘more than just the blues’ – people’s problems are complex and unique.
What sufferers needs is ‘no judgement, just reassurance and knowing someone has you’re back,’ he said.
Personal trainer and journalist James Ingham thanks Mr Meyler for his book
Mr Meyler was brought up by his father Tommy, who died in 2014 after a stroke and a heart attack, which has worsened his depression
Being Brave: My Journey Through The Chaos Of Loss And Depression is described as ‘perfect for readers who enjoyed Wild, Eat, Pray Love’
Depression doesn’t define you
Despite how engulfing depression can be, Mr Meyler said he has come to realise that it it ‘isn’t the be-all and end-all’.
He said he has realised that it doesn’t define him, although his mind tricks him into believing it does.
He uses the metaphor of the Wizard of Oz – where an entire city believe Oz is an all-powerful God but one unmasked is just a desperate old man.
Thinking of depression in that way can reduce its negative effects on you, he advises.
Loneliness and depression can be a killer combination
Mr Meyler says that depression makes people feel that they don’t have anybody.
‘But there is always somebody, whether it be a stranger at the end of a helpline, a work colleague, an online forum, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you reach out and know you deserve better,’ he said.
He also urges sufferers that if they are struggling in a job, a relationship, a situation that is making them worse, to remove themselves from the situation to give themselves a chance.
Mr Meyler’s book Being Brave: My Journey Through The Chaos Of Loss And Depression is available on Amazon for £9.91.
If you are suffering with depression or other mental health issues, or know someone who is, the charity Mind can offer information and support.