From Stuart

Dear You,

When depression struck I was 45, with two kids at private school, a nice house in London with a big mortgage, and a six figure salary at a well respected company. Having achieved all my life it was a shock to realise that I could not control these feelings. I remember one day at work watching the people around me as if from inside a glass tank. If this is you then I am writing this to tell you there is hope. I recovered and you will too.

It was very difficult to talk openly about depression with my wife or closest friends. Not only because I felt they wouldn't understand, but also because I didn't want to admit it to myself. I was facing losing my job, my house and of course removing my kids from their schools. This just made me feel fearful. I had substantial life cover, and mathematically that appeared to be the only way out.

I spent many hours just sitting on the couch. I took all my available leave from work and also the max sick leave - I did not feel I could be open with my work.

I wish I had gone to the doctor sooner, but I just didn't want to admit it to myself. Once I had, I found that - amazingly - my wife and friends could understand, and support. I started on medication and waited for it to go away. It didn't. I doubled up my dosage. It still didn't go away. This was a dark time. However now I know that it does take time, and actually I was lucky the first medication I tried ultimately worked.

I completed a course of CBT - very useful and allowed me to feel like I was getting back in charge. I returned to work - with reduced self expectations, and am thankfully able to function. I am still on the same dosage of medication, and while I would like to get off them, I am not rushing it. It has been 8 years now for me.

My message is that you must be kind to yourself. Go to your doctor. Realise the medication takes time. Once you have recovered - and if you have read this far you will recover - then you will become aware of how many people suffer from it.