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Depression made me into an entrepreneur

John Wilson Founder of Seekatherapy.com discusses what led him to set up the website and what he plans for the next stages of the business born from suffering.

Seekatherapy.com was launched in March 2017 and currently has over 850 therapists of various specialties registered.

In August 2011, John Wilson had just graduated from his second degree. A degree in teaching of 11-16-year-olds about ICT but he had come to a conclusion. Teaching was not the profession he wanted to enter, he had only undertaken this qualification due to graduating as a part 1 architect earlier in May 2008 when the world’s worst economic recession had hit and there were few positions available. 

Teaching IT was his second option but it wasn’t right for him, and at this stage, he didn’t know what he was going to do and started to become extremely depressed and hopeless. Vast levels of debt, an unsupportive relationship and what appeared to be no opportunity in his hometown, he had a breakdown and started contemplating suicide. 

What John, didn’t realize back then was, the breakdown and experience would be the catalyst for him to try and make a positive difference for others.

John’s Life Experience.

John was trained as a part 1 architect between 2004 and 2008. In 2007, John had to pros-pone his final year of architecture due to his ex fiancee’s mother going into an operation and needing my support to help her through the experience. It was a tough decision but it felt like the right one at the time.

Feeling positive, and wanting to secure a good job, John undertook an extra autocad course of an evening to ensure I was fully prepared for graduating from Architecture.

The following year, in 2008, John, at the age of 24 graduated with his degree and extra course but , with few opportunities to practice within his vicinity.  He did manage to secure one interview for a job but due to being a small practice weren’t able to offer John the support he would require. Speaking to recruitment consultants, even they were surprised with the lack of opportunity at the time.

Still engaged, to a teacher, and having a younger sister of 11 who looked up to him, moving away was not a viable option and so, with a heavy heart, low mood and an increasing student debt, he had to let go of his dream of being an architect due to graduating at the foot of the worst economic recession in history and retrained as an IT teacher.

John’s self-esteem was at an all time low, he didn’t truly want to be a teacher, he loves helping people but it wasn’t his true creative nature. With such a vast student debt after studying architecture he needed a way to pay back his debt, as well as support his fiancee at the time, and so saw it as a good second choice. He was wrong.

Loved teaching…but bullying experience.

He loved teaching children and seeing them enjoy themselves as well as learn but unfortunately, in one of his school placements, he experienced work place bullying. With his mood already being very low these two teachers put another nail in his coffin. They would ask him to shout at the children, tell them they wouldn’t help him, ignore him during lunch and worse, tell his university he was unable to do the job when he was doing three times as much work as all his fellow students.

John had his first breakdown. He managed to complete the placement but then got sent to two more school placements, but the damage was already done. He no longer wanted to be a teacher. Can’t be an architect and teaching was traumatic. John’s debt was now at a very high level and with no hope of a good job, John’s self-esteem had hit rock bottom. 

After his final school placement he had another breakdown but this time much worse, he wanted to end his life.

John in 2011 when he was recovering from severe depression and his breakdown.

Shaking on the floor.

It was Summer 2011 and John had his worst breakdown yet. He was shaking on the floor, repeating over and over in his mind his mistakes. He began to have a cold sweat, shivering and rocking back and forth. He didn’t know what to do , he prayed to god to be able to start life again and started thinking of ways to end his life. 

He rang his mother and told her how he was feeling, how he no longer wanted to be here and she rushed John to the GP. The GP assessed John at high risk of suicide by and gave him the highest level of antidepressants possible, 5 hours of CBT and a 3 month wait to be seen by a mental health specialist for assessment. It wasn’t great, being in a such a bad state of mental health and having little support from the state.

Fiancee Left 

To make recovery even worse, due to all the difficulties he had experienced his fiancee decided to leave him on boxing day. John had truly lost everything. Love, money, education , opportunity…but he still had his amazing family and in particular, his mother.

Resting gave John time to assess things and begin to heal his mind but whilst he was awake, his mother, a holistic therapist, advised John to do several things.

Journey Journal

She advised he keep a journey journal where he would write down what he was thinking and feeling every day so as the days passed he could see how he was progressing over time.

Sleep

She advised he take good rests throughout the day, particularly in the early days.

Set goals

She advised that John set 10 goals. 5 that are achievable and 5 that are huge dreams. A couple of those goals were to learn a new language, enter competitions and excercise daily. He managed to loose 2 stone over 6 months, he met a new gf through learning a new language and expressed his emotions and experiences through his art. 

Try different therapies

She advised John to try different therapies. Being a holistic therapist she knew of various different therapies and helped me find homeopathy, eft, cbt, floatation tanks, reiki, meditation and hypnotherapy, of which was John’s ultimate therapy of choice. It was over a 5 year period that John tried these therapies and saw something that he was never advised by his local GP. 

It was this knowledge and experience that his mother gave him that led to John deciding that he wanted to do something, to make a difference for people and give the knowledge that his mother had to the rest of the world.

Choice

Seek A Therapy was born in 2017, 5 years after his own recovery started. It actually began as a simple blog called battleofmind.com where he would share his experience and strategies to overcome his own mental health problems in the hope someone else may find it beneficial or inspiring. He opened it up to others to also share their stories and strategies and eventually, several people joined.

Seek A Therapy was a natural progression of this blog. He wanted to create a directory that clearly showed different therapies in a local area. He wanted to educate users of the website on therapies, what they are and where you can find them within 20km of a persons location.

Growth Began

He began his journey setting up the website by contacting therapists via Facebook groups and raised awareness that way , gathering 850 listings within the first year.

Realizing that many therapists also struggle with marketing, and being a digital designer seekatherapy also offers therapists the ability to learn about digital marketing, web design and get discounted services by being a part of the website.

Website Ambition

It is John’s ambition for seekatherapy.com to continue to grow into a website ( and possibly an app ) that can help people find a therapy easily within their local area and also educate, with more therapist listings ( currently 850+), whilst also helping therapists improve their digital presence. 

So, in conclusion, I guess the key message is that even when depressed, and feeling like there is no hope left and you are on your knees, don’t give up. Your difficult experience can be used for the betterment of others, you just aren’t at that point of recovery yet. 

Please, seek a therapist and get the help you truly deserve. Healing Your Way.

Seek A Therapy Website Promo – Heal Your Way 

Did John Heal Completely?

John managed to make a recover but whilst learning Spanish, his journey took him to Colombia to meet a woman who encouraged him to apply for jobs all over the country in the UK on returning. He ended up taking a job in London where he spent 5 years and worked as a web and graphic designer whilst recovering from his illness.

 He was still dealing with high anxiety but his depression reduced throughout the years he spent there. 

He knew he was a lot better and it was in part due to the help that his mother had given him. That was it, with the new strength, knowledge of overcoming depression and anxiety and skills as a creative designer he could combine it all to help those in need and help therapists to also help more people! This was his life purpose and he found it through his difficult journey. 

To make a positive difference for others. Both the therapist and the person in need.

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