I wasn’t able to cope with things in the same way anymore. Anything even slightly emotional hit me hard. The person I thought I was had started to fall apart at the seams. And I still genuinely believed there was nothing wrong with me; that everyone else felt the same, they just coped better.
Then, on the 16th June 2012, while working as a custody officer, everything changed. I arrived at work but I just couldn't connect with what was going on around me. I had been like a boiling kettle for months, with a relentless screeching noise in my head – and then, suddenly, it clicked off. There was finally silence.
At first it felt great. It was a relief to have respite from everything I had been going through. But the downside was I now didn’t care about anything – myself, my family or friends. I just wanted to be left alone.
I was no longer functioning and I had no choice but to take time away from work. There wasn't much left of me. The person I thought I was - my identity - had turned to dust.
It was almost a year before I was able to return to work. I had convinced myself I was the only police officer that had ever had a mental illness. I thought, how am I going to tell people I am suffering from depression and I’m not the same person anymore? I had two options. When someone asked ‘Where have you been?’ I could lie and make something up, or tell the truth. I am so glad I decided to be honest and open.