Case study: Brian, 50, West Midlands
“Things started to go really downhill about 5 years ago. I’d been with my partner 25 years and we’ve got kids together. We were arguing all the time, ended up getting into debt and eventually I had to go bankrupt. As a driver, I’m always on the road and my partner was cheating on me.
“I enjoy driving a lorry as I like to keep myself to myself. I’m my own gaffer and I don’t have to worry about anybody looking over my shoulder. I had a heart attack while driving one day which was a total shock. It meant I was off sick for 9 months while I waited for an operation. I got the sack from my job and very depressed.
“Since the split, my relationship with my three youngest children is pretty non-existent; I’m not allowed to see them and haven’t done for 2 years. It’s hard.
The thing with depression is that one minute you’re fine and then the next everything’s closing in around you; you can’t cope. It’s unpredictable.
“I’ve suffered with depression for many years. Not a lot of people know about depression – they think it’s all put on. When it hits, it’s like real loneliness. I feel fed up and just completely tired of life and I can’t see anything that’s good. The thing with depression is that one minute you’re fine and then the next everything’s closing in around you; you can’t cope. It’s unpredictable.
“Everything got on top of me and I tried to kill myself. I thought my kids would be better off without me. It didn’t work, and since then I’ve been to see counsellors and they’ve probably helped, just by having someone to talk to.
“I think it can be harder to talk to people and especially people you know, it’s easier to talk to a stranger. I’ve got mates that I go and have a drink with on a Saturday night, otherwise I’d have nobody. At work I don’t talk to any of them, just have a mess around when you do see them.
“I’m on anti-depressants and to cope I try to keep active. I’ve been trying to get my life together since the split and I take each day as it comes and plod on.”