Living with Depression for 25 years: A Story of Hope
My name is Rami Kremesti, I am a UK Chartered Scientist and I wanted to share my story about my struggle with depression and anxiety which goes back more than 25 years. I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, during the civil war, so I was exposed to a lot of traumatic situations as a child. This is probably one of the reasons I developed clinical depression as an adult.
Depression and anxiety are debilitating conditions, but there is a silver lining that I want to share with my colleagues: They can be managed if not cured. By taking the right anti-depressants I have been able to live with my condition and be productive and successful as a water treatment professional. Also I want to underline the fact that inner struggle develops a person’s character and makes them stronger as well as more compassionate toward others. My depression was always a motivator for me to seek the truth, so consequently I read a lot of books and have developed a wide knowledge of various spiritual paths.
I had always been an introvert and loved chemistry since a very young age. So I got my BS in chemistry in Lebanon in 1995 and after that an MSc from the USA in 1998. I lived in the USA for 8 years which was a wonderful experience. I developed my photography skills there which is one of my hobbies. I also took up surfing. I worked for 10 years around the world as a water treatment specialist which was a great experience both professionally and culturally.
In 2015 I came to the UK to work as a chemist on a large power station project near Manchester. The level of environmental, health and safety awareness in the UK was amazing for me, considering that I had just come to the UK from a short deployment in Iraq in which I witnessed untrained youths pickling stainless steel weld joins with acidic chemicals using metal brushes without any face protection. I used to give toolbox talk chemical safety presentations at this power station and people loved them. I fell in love with the UK. People are so charitable here. I also discovered British humor and it blew me away with its wittiness and subterfuge.
Today I live in High Wycombe, between London and Oxford and I work in the water treatment field. My introvertedness helped me through in-depth reading to develop a deep technical understanding of the chemistry of water treatment. So I apply this knowledge by solving water treatment problems at power stations and in large commercial buildings. I work with systems such as softeners, Reverse Osmosis, Ozone, filtration and chemical dosing and control. I have two beautiful daughters and have managed to eke out a decent living.
I am also a Chartered Environmentalist and I am passionate about raising awareness about current environmental issues. I am a fan of young Greta Thunberg and I empathize with her Asperger’s syndrome. I tend to experience life more emotionally than intellectually which I also see in this young activist.
Finally I want to close by asking all colleagues who have mental health or learning disability issues: Don’t give up. Seek help. Grow as a human being. What makes you different makes you stronger. And be the best you can be!