Depression, like alcoholism, is intensely personal, so please understand that when I give the stages of depression, they're as I experienced them. I wouldn't dream of suggesting that these are written in stone for everyone to follow. This article relates purely to me, and if I'm a little bit fuzzy on the final stages, I would ask forgiveness.
I worked for myself, and I loved what I did. Business was good and work was backed up by about three months. Good quality work too, so I had nothing about which to complain. Indeed, the last job I remember taking in was priced at just under $1500.00, and I recall being very excited about this.
I should mention that I'd taken Valium on and off for a number of years, but at that time I was free of all medication. I felt fit and cheerful and worked long hours. I worked from home, and my poor wife used to sometimes threaten to physically drag me away at the end of the day. I was sensible in one respect. I realized I was over doing it a bit, and I cut my time back so that at least I'd stop work at a set hour.
Now we begin to see how insidious depression can be. Almost imperceptibly, the work started to hold my interest less and less. Here was my first mistake. My wife is extremely supportive and in fact worked in a psychiatrist's office some years ago. She's a very easy and understanding person to talk to and since I'd experienced depression in the past, I should have gone straight to her and told her that my interest in work was dropping off and that maybe I should go and see someone. Actually, just talking to her may well have proved sufficient.
But no, idiot that I was, I ignored the warning signs, the outriders of the storm, if you like. My wife realized that things weren't quite as they should be and questioned me about how the work was going. I was irritable and told her that things were as they'd always been. I pressed ahead, but found myself becoming more and more relieved at the end of the day, and more and more reluctant to climb out of bed in the morning.
So, let's recap. I noticed my enthusiasm waning bit by bit, but I simply ignored that. My wife asked me how things were going, but even at that relatively early stage, my thoughts were twisting and I felt she was interfering. The upshot of this was irritability.
Then I thought that perhaps another course of Valium, or some other like medication, would do me good. So off I went to the doctor and obtained some Valium. All was fine then for a while. I kept strictly to the recommended dose, my mood lightened and life was good again. For a little while. Then my dislike of starting the day kicked back in and I'd lie in fetal position, watching the red numbers on my digital clock inexorably count the hours until it was time to face things again.
Well, there's always the Valium, isn't there? So I'd have one with coffee, and I'd start into work almost with as much gusto as before. It wasn't long before my depression became really angry at being shoved to one side by some puny medication, and I found myself tossing back another Valium at lunchtime. I ended up sitting in a daze. I'd run the stages of depression.
I can vaguely remember my wife coming to me, all ready to go out, gently taking my arm and leading me to the car. I was way past any objections by this time.
So to sum up, the closest I can come is that firstly I ignored the problem. Secondly, I became irritable and denied the problem. Thirdly, I was forced to accept that something was wrong. Fourthly, I self-medicated, and the fifth symptom proved a knock out - in favour of depression! I know I was taken into a clinic then, but I'm afraid I'm very misty about this. There was to be one more, worse, session, but that's for another time