I've been thinking about posting on this subject for a while now but the news of Gary Speed's death has pushed me to do so now. I was diagnosed with depression in February 2010. Prior to my diagnosis, I didn't understand depression and I certainly didn't think it was an actual illness, more a state of mind from which sufferers should just 'get over' or pull themselves together. How wrong I was. Depression is a vile illness. It does horrible things to people, sufferers and their loved ones. It takes you to horrible, dark, lonely places where even the most common everyday experiences, places and people can be truly terrifying. Some people say its like being at the bottom of a dep pit you can't climb out of. I disagree, the pit isn't so deep...but the way out is just out of your reach. The guilt I felt from being diagnosed was like nothing I've ever felt before. I'm happily married to a beautiful, clever, funny woman who also happens to be my best friend. We have three fantastic, healthy kids. I have a good, well-paid job, nice house, two cars, great holidays every year. I have a great circle of friends, people who would do anything for me. So what the hell did I have to be depressed about? That's when I started to discover depression is an illness and like other illnesses, it is no respecter of who or what you are. There'll be other people on this site who have it or have had it. There'll be others who have experienced it through a close loved one. And there'll probably be some of you who will feel it at some time in the future. My advice to anyone who thinks they may have it is to find out for certain. See your doctor and get a diagnosis and then start to deal with it. Accept that you'll have bad days like everyone else - you're entitled to these - but there's a world of difference between having a bad day and suffering from depression. If you're offered it, take counselling; enter it with an open mind and be truthful throughout. And then there's the medication. Treat this with respect. Take it as its prescribed and more importantly, come off it as you're advised. Give yourself time. If you try to rush your recovery, this thing will come back and hit you again. Finally, take some time to understand your condition and its causes. If you don't know it, you can't beat it. Oh and I'm down to my last 5 low dose pills. I'll take one every other day for the next 10 days having started to take myself off them two months ago. I hope I won't ever need them again but if I do, I'll be ready next time.