It’s been many years since I was diagnosed with clinical depression and although I have the tools to deal with it I don’t think I will ever be completely free of what I call my shadow. However, it’s important to remember that you can live and cope with it with the support of your family and those around you.
It took me a long time to first admit that I had a problem
I think that things are getting better but I still think that we have to do better if society is to deal with it. Looking at my situation it took me a long time to first admit that I had a problem and figure out how was I going to tell my family and work. I knew that I was becoming worse and it was the old male pride that I got from my father - who believed that we should get on with things and has he put it "snap out of it" - that stopped me from talking about it. It was something that I would hear a lot and I could never understand it. I felt I had a problem and should be able to tell the people I love. But the fact is I couldn’t or didn’t have the guts to tell them because I thought they would disown me and I would have hated this to happen.
I got married and became a father within a few years and in hindsight I wasn’t ready to settle down but because I went to work I coped. My second bout off depression came four years letter but this time I admitted to myself, family and eventually my doctor that I needed help otherwise I could lose it all. I got a promotion and thought it would all be great, but I couldn’t cope with the workload and it impacted on my marriage. At first I shrugged it off, but the days became more difficult to handle - I didn’t want to go to work and dreaded coming home. It was a cycle that never got better.
I went to someone who I felt I could confide in at work and his reaction was completely different
I tried talking to my manager but didn’t get support. She believed that if others could cope then why couldn’t I? I tried to explain about my personal situation but just didn’t know who to turn to. One day I couldn’t get up for work and took a few days off sick. When I got back to work I still had a team to manage and an ever increasing workload. I was pretty good and hiding things from my team and just said that I had a bit of flu which wasn’t true. This time I went to someone who I felt I could confide in at work and his reaction was completely different. He suggested that I take time off, relax at home, make sure that I talk things over with my wife and book an appointment with my doctor. I listened to him and appreciated his support. I knew that if I couldn’t look after myself how could I possibly manage a team if I was so low that I considered suicide? I felt there was no way out, but the thought of not seeing my son grow up stunned me into action. I came home that day and told my wife that I couldn’t go on like this. I cried and admitted that I wanted to get better and went to see my doctor the next day.
By talking I realised it was another step on the road back to full fitness
This for me was the start on the road to recovery and although I knew that it was going to be a long hard road I was pleased to have taken this first step. I talked things over with my doctor and opened up in a way I hadn’t even done my wife and family. I described how I was feeling and that I wasn’t coping and needed his help. He put me on a course of pills and suggested that I contact Rethink Mental Illness who might be able to help me. I was very reluctant to talk to an outsider but my wife convinced me that the doctor's advice was good and that I should consider it. I thought about it and gave them a call. By talking I realised it was another step on the road back to full fitness. The lady I spoke to told me that it was obviously a certain trigger that set off my depression and that by the end of our sessions I would have the tools to deal with depression. This was great to hear and she also told that I shouldn’t feel like I have failed and that many people have the condition. She told me to write my feelings down and what I had got from each session. I found this really helped and I would talk about what I had written with my wife. This made me feel better as it was a realisation and an acceptance of my illness and that I wanted to get better.