Au­thor en­cour­ages oth­ers to open up about de­pres­sion

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

Lo­cal au­thor Danni Arts wants de­pres­sion to be less of a taboo sub­ject, which is part of the rea­son she self pub­lished a book called A Nav­i­ga­tional Guide to De­pres­sion.

In the book, she opens up about her own de­pres­sion and how hard it was to find help.

‘‘ When I was di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion at the age of 16 friends and fam­ily didn’t re­ally un­der­stand what to do and how to help me. You google things and it’s all in med­i­cal terms,’’ she said.

She was di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion af­ter her best friend passed away. ‘‘The low kept go­ing and it was more than sad­ness.’’

Her mum took her to a doc­tor and she said since then it has been about find­ing the right treat­ment that worked for her.

Although she was ini­tially anti the idea of coun­selling, af­ter hav­ing to talk about her is­sues with doc­tors and her par­ents, she said she found it helped.

She wanted to make a sim­ple book that could be help­ful for peo­ple of all ages.

The ad­vice is based on what worked for her and oth­ers, which she gained through an anony­mous on­line sur­vey.

The book also in­cludes her per­sonal tes­ti­mony and that of a few anony­mous Mata­mata lo­cals.

Lego blocks shaped as let­ters fea­tured in the book are sup­posed to be a metaphor for how the ad­vice in the book is to be used as build­ing blocks, she said.

Arts felt a lot of good had come out of the book. One of those was re­al­is­ing so many peo­ple could re­late, even when you felt so alone.

She said de­pres­sion is ‘‘ridicu­lously com­mon’’ but it is never talked about. ‘‘Un­til I started talk­ing about my de­pres­sion I didn’t re­alise how many peo­ple around me suf­fered from it as well.’’ She wants to en­cour­age peo­ple to break the si­lence and not to think of de­pres­sion as a taboo topic.

Arts said she was also sur­prised to learn peo­ple of all ages suf­fered from de­pres­sion.

She felt work­places, es­pe­cially bosses, needed to in­crease their un­der­stand­ing of de­pres­sion.

Be­cause de­pres­sion is an in­vis­i­ble dis­ease, she said suf­fer­ers as­sume there is lit­tle un­der­stand­ing of it. How­ever, she en­cour­aged peo­ple to talk about it be­cause it is more com­mon than peo­ple think.

One lo­cal group that pro­vides young peo­ple with great sup­port, which Arts helped start, is Starfish So­cial Ser­vices.

The book was a uni­ver­sity as­sign­ment for her Bach­e­lor of De­sign course, in which she is ma­jor­ing in photography. The theme of her photography is men­tal health.

Photo: ABBY BROWN

Danni Arts with her book called A Nav­i­ga­tional Guide to De­pres­sion.

The Mata­mata Chron­i­cle has five copies of Arts’ book to give away, sim­ply pop in to the of­fice at 2 Tainui St and pick one up. The book is also avail­able to pur­chase on­line.

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