'Learn To Love Yourself'

Fabio Zuchelli talks about living with depression and anxiety.

On the face of it, growing up I really didn’t have it hard at all. People often seem surprised to hear I’ve really struggled with low mood and anxiety. The causes of my decade and a half of depression were quite subtle, mainly to do with beliefs I built up about myself growing up.

The underlying force periodically taking me out of action for months, years even at a time, was self-criticism. And as Yoda would say, self-criticism leads to anger, anger to self-hatred and self-hatred is the path to the dark side. 

I’ve tried drugs and had more types of therapy than Woody Allen. Some helped at the time, some didn’t. It was only when I came across mindfulness and compassion-focused therapy that things really started to click. Bulbs have continued to light up ever since. 

Practising mindfulness has massively helped, by teaching me to step back from the intensity of difficult thoughts and feelings, to stop myself from overthinking. The compassion part of it, which has been just as important, has been about coming to see myself as like anyone else: great just the way we are.

  • Fabio Zuchelli is a freelance writer specialising in mental health who has both lived experience of depression and experience working in mental health services. He is one of the authors of the Men's Health Forum's Beat Stress, Feel Better
This article reflects the experience of the individual. It is not health information from the Men's Health Forum under the terms of the NHS England Information Standard.