I have suffered depression for about 20 years. I have suffered all the symptoms of worthlessness, failure, lack of confidence, guilt, mood swings and virtually all the negative thoughts that are possible to have.
Despite counselling, psychiatry, CBT, hypnotherapy and high drug doses, I have never been able to beat the illness, although it helped me continue with a life of sorts. My worst point was an attempted suicide a few years back.
Being a man I suppose I could never admit to the illness. Since the begining of this in 1982 I have continued to hold a very responsible position with a good salary. Since a year ago when, the final beakdown occured, I had always managed to continue working without state support.
Being 60 I think our generation, quite wrongly, always felt it a slur to claim benefits or show weakness. Although I am still employed technically, my part salary is being paid by an insurance scheme. When my Statutory Sick Pay ran out, Empoyment Support Allowance was paid (about £50 a week).
My extensive medical notes concluded that my GP thought I was now totally unfit to work, would always be on medication and my wellbeing was at risk with further stress and anxiety.
Recently I had to attend a medical interview to see if i was fit to work.
I can only liken the interview to a scene from Little Britain. A medical representative sat at a computer filling in tick boxes on the screen, asking if i could tie my shoelaces, turn a tap on, dress myself etc.
There was no consultation of my medical notes. They were not interested in discussing issues such as why I was unable to work or my stress related problems. The stoppage of my benefits resulted in purely this "Computer Says No" approach. After the interview I felt worthless, stressed, humiliated, tearful, but luckily had my wife as support.
Nobody understands mental health issues and I believe nobody thinks I have a debilitating illness. I am lucky in that I have care and financial support, but for those who do not, this is a wicked process brought about by a corrupt and uncaring government that cares only about penny pinching, and not about the sick. It's for those I would like to bring this to the attention of.
This story was submitted to Mind by a website user, and is republished here with his permission. If you would like to share your experience of mental health with us, please tell us your story.