Don Your Way column: How I hope my words can help others

Darren Burke hopes his words can help others.
Darren Burke hopes his words can help others.

You may recall that in last week’s column, I talked openly and candidly on the topic of anxiety, stress and depression and the occasional episodes in my life where I have battled those sort of problems.

Can I just say, firstly, thanks for all the people who took the time to contact me on Facebook and Twitter and other mediums praising my words.

As well you know, in this job, that’s a bit of a rarity so the outpouring of support was welcoming and refreshing.

Not that I did it for that reason of course.

What was quite clear was that numerous friends, colleagues and complete strangers to me were all very much in the same boat.

Many messaged privately, some spoke of their own personal battles openly on Facebook while others talked of my “bravery.”

Believe you me, I certainly didn’t feel brave when I sat down in front of my keyboard. It was very much a spur of the moment, spontaneous thing and the best I could have hoped for that putting a few words down on paper, would help others.

And so it proved to be the case. One Doncaster-based friend, Lesley Neale, contacted me to talk of her own issues and explain how she’d written her own book, The Little Book of Stress Relief, to help cope.

It’s available on Amazon and promises a step-by-step guide to dealing with stress, for those who feel it might help them.

Doncaster-born author Lindsey Kelk, who has penned a series of best-selling novels tweeted me and wrote: “Thanks for writing this, Darren. I suffer with anxiety and have a family history of depression - something I didn’t know until I was already struggling. We all need to be more open about these things, can’t praise you enough for sharing.”

The messages kept coming. Men and women, young and old from all walks of life, each dealing with their own issues, some having overcome them, some still struggling.

I hadn’t quite expected to become a spokesman on the subject and to be honest, being held up as champion of a cause feels slightly more awkward than writing candidly about the issue in the first place.

What’s clear is there’s no right or wrong way to deal with these kind of things.

Everyone takes a different approach. Some will discuss their problems with friends, family, colleagues.

Others may choose medical professionals and counsellors on online services.

You have to do what’s right and what feels best for you.

The one common theme that emerged is that people’s situations improved when they admitted their depression and began talking to others about it.

What also emerged was that readers also enjoyed my writing “from the heart” so expect more over the coming weeks.

And I just want it to set the ball of hope rolling for many others.