And yet this is an unfair assessment, many of us will suffer with varying degrees of depression at some point. In the right dose stress is good for us, the difference in all of us is when does enough stress become too much? And when does stress become depression?
I had depression long before I realised, being unable to sleep, mass redundancies at work, a terminally ill father, all of these contributed. I found myself at my desk one day, trying to manage a team of 40 staff, and muttering to myself "this isn't right, it isn't fair"
I guess I was lucky, I rang my GP, had an appointment with an excellent practice nurse and hit the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces. Before I knew it I was signed off and sat at home. I remember very little of that first week, I guess I watched tv, but I couldn't swear to it.
Again Lady Luck was on my side, I had a good vocational rehabilitation coordinator and in 10 weeks was back on a phased return to work with regular support for the first few weeks. I was wrong, I started to recognise the signs, I wasn't becoming ill again, I'd never recovered in the first place.
I reached out to my boss, asking for a change of duties, saying I wasn't coping, that wasn't an easy conversation to have believe me. There was no chance of a change of role, but because I'd mentioned the S word an appointment would be made with my vrc. The next day I started my research, paracetamol, exit bags, hanging (8 foot is the ideal drop for most people), for 4 days I tried to pick my escape.
In the end it was going to be a jump. We have a busy dual carriageway with a high foot bridge over it. Selfish I know, some one would hit me if the fall didn't kill me first, selfish? Yes, but I didn't give a fuck. Plans made I was calm and collected, incredibly focused on the task ahead. Go in to work, walk out at lunch time, don't look back.
Except fate had another card to play, that morning my wife had left a note, "I love you babes, have a great day, see you tonight". I still have this note with me now. Not for the first time I hit the floor. All of this came out during my meeting with the vrc, before I knew it I was being looked after by the crisis team, not admitted, Call me Dave has reduced NHS funding. It was an emotional chat to have with my wife, to tell her what I'd been planning and what was going to happen next. I got counselling and CBT and carried on as if nothing had happened. It was out little secret. A few people knew, and a friend who lives way to far away sent me a K9 as a gift, that made me cry as well.
CBT didn't really work for me, and after a few sessions I bailed. I thought I was coping, in fact I thought I was doing bloody well all things considering. I still couldn't sleep, but the meds seemed to work - just about. I'd been back at work for nearly a year with no sick days, I was proud of myself.
And then not so long ago I got dragged into the bosses office, apparently everyone was complaining about me, I was demeaning staff, the feed back I was giving to my direct reports was favouritism as other managers weren't doing it as well, WTF? coaching and mentoring staff is wrong?
Yet again my world crumbled to dust. I returned to my desk viewing everyone with suspicion, was it you who had complained? I bet it was! And all I've ever tried to do is be a good boss.
That night the research started again. Not enough citalopram for a guaranteed o/d, the risk of brain hypoxia was too great, not an acceptable risk, failure wasn't going to be liveable with.
By the next morning I'd selected my knife. A word of caution here, don't do it on a budget, if you are going to cut your wrists get a good knife, a fucking good knife, sorry but £1 craft knives are shit. So I drive to work, and as I pulled into the car park I selected my spot, blue skies, sunshine, birds singing, it was a good day to die.
The morning passed quickly in a blur, but damn it I was calm and collected. As I went for lunch I looked round the room, I wouldn't be seeing it again. I said a few words to some friends, wished them a good weekend, walked out into the sunshine and sat by a tree. I sent a message to a friend, it may have been goodbye, it might have been an apology, it's one of the few details I can't recall. But by this point I wasn't really there.
I didn't want help, I didn't want to be saved, but I wanted a none judgemental friendly voice to talk too at the end, so with tears streaming down my face I tried to contact my vrc.
Very soon the last thing in the world I felt I had control over was being taken away from me, I had calls from my GP, the ambulance service, the police were alerted. It was all getting out of hand. All I wanted was a friendly voice, it wasn't happening. I caved in, and headed to see my GP
So once again I'm under the mental health team, I'm not convinced I can be fixed, and it's just a case of when and not if an attempt is successful. It may be the depression, but I've accepted this and can't figure out why others can't as well.
Am I looking for sympathy writing this? No, I don't deserve your sympathy, I know I'm a useless screw up and that can't be changed. What I want you to do is simply understand that we can't help what we do, it's the most logical thing in the world, and therein lies the danger.
On my first attempt the decision to end it all came easily and from nowhere, it took 4 days from decision to choosing the day. On my second attempt it was 36 hours from inception to act, at this rate the third will be within a few hours of the decision arriving. The decision could come at anytime.
So I'm getting help, everyone is being very sweet. My medication is being with held and issued as needed, but I still have free access to sharps, go figure.