Risk and depression

Earlier, I blogged about the nature of risk, with a slight reference to IR35.

I guess I was probably thinking a bit about my second blog yesterday. That is, talking about depression a bit. Saying something applies to you and talking about it are two very different things. Talking about tax seems much safer.

One thing though, I’ve had a couple of drinks and feel suitably honest. See, depression is just this label that could be stuck on a number of people.

Truth be told, I don’t think a doctor has ever said to me “you have depression”. I don’t know if that’s standard practice or something, but it has made me feel like a bit of a faker over the years.

To be honest, the main reason I say I have depression is that anti-depressants make me function “properly”. I have been on them for over four years, on and off, and the periods when I have come off them have provided a stark comparison against what I consider to be my normal life now.

Now, I have always been rather melancholy, let’s say. My base level of happiness was quite low. In my teenage years I self harmed. I can’t remember when I stopped, but at university I put myself into counselling. I never finished that properly.

I basically kept on struggling through until I had a point of contrast. It was only when I met my (now) wife that I realised how unhappy I was.

This is the glossy version, by the way. This is a nice neat little summary with all the details (and, therefore, interesting bits) taken out. So that’s 26½ years of my life summarised. And I would have still simply described myself as a “morose bastard”.

But, it was something to do with being happy that made me realise how miserable I was. Whereas before I was at a consistently low level, now I was having to deal with wild fluctuations in mood. The difference was incredible. I felt like two different people. One of them was thriving, the other dying.

The real problem came with going between the two.

This reached breaking point for me in the summer of 2008. Until the end of March I had been enjoying work, being busy with several research and development tax relief claims. Until the end of March, you were able to claim back six years worth of claims. After that, it dropped to two. The fact I remember the year only because of that is slightly worrying to me. (I originally thought I had been on medication for only three whole years until I remembered this detail, I have amended the number above)

Basically, the work I enjoyed most, interesting and creative stuff, disappeared. Hang on, I’m getting round to the risk part.

So, counselling, anti-depressants, a bollocks-I-don’t-need-that-crap-attitude, more anti-depressants, more counselling, CBT, more anti-depressants, another bollocks-I-don’t-need-that-crap-attitude, lots more anti-depressants. I might be skipping the interesting bits again, sorry.

Anyway, long story cut sort, the anti-depressants do work, they stop the bottom dropping out of my world just because I have a bad day. But, changing my life was what really helped me. And that involved living a bit, and taking a few risks.

I needed help to do that. I still do. I haven’t fully reprogrammed my brain into happy mode, so I still need the drugs.

Anyway, my train is getting in now. If this blog is going to work for me, I need to be able to just press send, whether sober, drunk, happy or morose. It feels like a bit of a risk pressing “publish”… but not a gamble.


Edited subsequently to insert some paragraph breaks… I wasn’t that drunk, it’s the first time I used the WordPress app.

About Ben Saunders

I'm a Chartered Tax Adviser and a freelance writer. This is my personal blog about, well, mainly taxation. I might put other stuff in. Who knows.
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