I've been friends with Kate since we were at primary school. After school I went to work for an estate agent, got married and now have a toddler and am expecting again. I still work at the estate agents, part-time. Kate got a job working for someone in a big firm in Leeds.
She lived with her Mum and Dad and travelled daily at first. We saw each other most weeks, went for a drink at our local, to the cinema, that sort of thing. Then Kate moved into a small bed-sit in Leeds but she mostly came home at week-ends and we kept in touch.
When Hayley was born she thought she was cute and would drop in to see us. We got a routine of us going out for the evening every other week. Kate's job seemed very pressured. She had to have her work mobile on all the time because the people she worked for were overseas a lot and they could ring her any time.
So she didn't want to go to the cinema or to the leisure centre in case she missed a call. Our nights out became less regular and when we did go out they were less fun, she seemed to be edgy.
We went away for two week's holiday and we hadn't arranged another meeting. Kate said she would ring when she was free. Weeks went by and it was a relief when she did ring. She said she didn't want to meet because she wasn't well. She was 'signed off'. When she told me it was depression I told her how glad I was it wasn't something serious.
That was over a year ago. I know now that depression is serious and that I said the worst thing possible. But I didn't know and I hope I've been a good friend all the same. Kate hasn't gone back to the job in Leeds but she's much better although her medicine is still not quite right for her. Sometimes when they try a change of pills she gets side-effects and feels awful but she's the old Kate again.
For Kate, even jogging felt beyond her. [Image: ヘザー heza under CC-BY-NC-SA licence]
Looking back I don't really know how this happened to me. I suppose I did work too hard and I hadn't had a proper holiday. How could I afford one, the money I'm chucking at my landlord? The best I can do is going back to Mam's.
I just reached a point where work overwhelmed me. The inbox seemed to just fill, and I'd work harder and harder, but more and more things to do would appear. I felt stressed and anxious the whole time.
There were just some days I could hardly get out of bed because I knew what was waiting for me when I got to the office. And I was so tired as well, constantly tired. I had been keen on running, but that went out the window - even if I'd had the time, I could barely lace my shoes never mind get round the park.
I was lucky; I was at home when I 'broke down'. It was a Monday morning and I just couldn't get out of bed. Mum came in to see what had happened and I just started to cry and cry and couldn't stop.
I couldn't even talk to her, I just cried. She was worried, so she got me straight down to the surgery and our GP was great. He took it seriously - which surprised me to be honest. Thank god for that.
It's a year later, I still have regular check-ups because I'm not back to normal and the medication still isn't right. There are days when I don't want to see anyone and I find crowds dreadful.
When I meet people I have to work hard at concentrating on what they are saying. Friends think I'm OK but I'm abnormally tired after being with them. Apart from thinking depression wasn't serious Lorraine has been great and I love just seeing her and Hayley.
Watching Hayley crawl around takes me out of myself. I can see that I still worry too much. I realise it is me, I wasn't over-worked, I'd got things out of proportion. Yes, I can see what went wrong but I still don't know why.
These stories are composites based on real experiences
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Very interesting to hear how other people feel and what they experience.
It's really interesting to read each one's stories and experiences.
When we read the reports, we understand the importance of diagnosis and treatment for patients and for those around them. It is very Interesting