Author encourages others to open up about depression
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.
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.