My first diagnosis of depression was in 1986. But the whole episode was all rather mixed up. It was dark and painful, but as I have said before seems like a walk in the park compared to what I went through in my last illness. It may have been coming anyway but the catalyst was a reaction to some pretty horrible behaviour by another individual.
I was lucky in that the first doctor I saw recognised what was going on and reacted appropriately. This was when I was still in the Navy and I was due to go to sea. She stopped this as she thought it could lead to a situation where I was not only suicidal but in which suicidal would be easy. An aircraft carrier can be quite an easy place to have a “mis-hap”. But from then on my treatment, or lack of it, was monumentally poor. I was admitted to the psychiatric unit of the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth but this was for entirely the wrong reasons. For some reason one of the psychiatric nurses assessing me had got it into his head, quite wrongly, that I was using drugs socially and was possibly addicted. This two-week stay in hospital was merely an exercise in trying to demonstrate that. I received no appropriate therapy or medication. So, when I was discharged, I was actually worse than when I went in.
And so began a downward spiral into deeper depression, augmented by more outrageous behaviour from the person mentioned above. This culminated with a very nearly fatal overdose, emergency admission to hospital and finally some appropriate treatment. It was quite a dark time.