Case study: Will*, 43, North-East
*name has been changed
“I had a good job as a design engineer for a car manufacturer. I’d always walked with a limp but no-one could say what was wrong with me. I got told it was arthritis.
“One day I fell over in the garage and broke a bone in my knee. It wasn’t clear what was wrong with my legs and then I was 37 when I was finally diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It was a shock that it hadn’t been diagnosed for so long and then suddenly someone’s telling you, ‘You’re going to be in a wheelchair all the time’. I was angry that I hadn’t been diagnosed as a kid.
“It’s hard for someone of my age to come to terms with it. I can’t work; I’d love to go back to the garage but I can’t. If I’d been diagnosed earlier perhaps I could’ve trained to be something else. I’m now registered disabled. It’s hard during the day when you’re round the house on your own; that’s when the depression kicked in because that’s when you’re thinking.
Now I’ve told my wife and my mates and it’s nice to open up to people. I know now that I can always talk to them when I’ve had a bad day.
“My wife had recognised that my mood had changed; I was snapping at her and our son for no reason. I couldn’t tell her or my mates that I was considering taking an overdose because if I didn’t want them to feel any guilt. My wife persuaded me to see my doctor and I talked to her about my problems and she was fantastic.
“I was given anti-depressants and the second time I saw the doctor, she encouraged me to bring my wife with me. It helped in a way because I hadn’t noticed my moods had changed. But obviously my wife being there when I saw the doctor, she said how my mood had improved a little, she’d noticed even if I hadn’t!
“Something clicked inside me. I was thinking to myself how my son would feel in a few years time if his dad killed himself. Now I’ve told my wife and my mates and it’s nice to open up to people. I know now that I can always talk to them when I’ve had a bad day.”