Anders is a father of two and works in the nuclear industry. He was keen to help raise awareness of our research having been involved in previous studies after being diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder while at university. This is his story:
My name is Anders, I’m 47 and I live in Cheshire. I have been married to Elizabeth, an osteopath since 2002, and am the dedicated dad of 12-year-old twins, Annalise & William. We also have Pepper, a 13-year-old black cocker spaniel, who is very much a part of our family.
When I’m not doing things with my children, I attend fitness classes at our local gym, get on with all the jobs queuing up to be done around the house and garden, go to our local pub for occasional drinks, and meet up with friends and family. I am quite adventurous and enjoy skiing, mountain biking and climbing, amongst others, but these are not regular events!
I first became aware of depression related issues in my early twenties while at university. I had some particularly bad depressive episodes in my early career and, when I was about 25, I had my first major bipolar experience. The last 20 years has been a journey of good and bad experiences, of learning about myself and putting in place safety nets that enable me to get back to good health as rapidly as possible when I experience problems.
Understanding and accepting who I am and the need to take medication on a regular basis was a particularly difficult challenge in my thirties but I got there and haven’t looked back since.
In Jan 2017 I was diagnosed with having Sleep Apnea and was given a CPAP machine to improve the quality of my sleep. The positive effect on my physical and mental health has been incredible. In mid-March I was told my sleep quality had improved by 50% and I could achieve the full 100% by early May. It was this diagnosis that inspired me to sign up to be involved in new research focused on the link between sleep loss and mental health.
When I was first diagnosed with having depression, I was given the opportunity to join a research team made up of several universities including Cardiff. I have remained in contact with this group and through their newsletter I became aware of the NCMH and the good work they do.
I’ve reached a stage in life where I want to give something back for all the support that I’ve received so I signed up to take part in the study.
The researcher I spoke to was very patient, relaxed, open and honest. I felt at complete ease when talking to her. The whole process was very smooth and at times, funny and enjoyable!
I hope that through this research alternative treatments can be delivered that rely less on medication and more on people’s ability to do and behave differently. I hope the research progresses to look at how significant an effect loss of sleep can have on people suffering from depression or bipolar related illnesses.