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A belated thanks

Today I am writing to express belated thanks to a kind gentleman who found me collapsed on the side of the road just south of Carterton. He was on the way home at 1.30 am in the morning from the Palmerston Airport when he saw me and stopped. I never got his name and would like to publicly thank him for his kind deed and explain the circumstances that bought me to be collapsed on the side of the road at that time of the morning. 

I have suffered from depression since the age of 18 and was staying at my son’s house in Greytown at the time because I was seriously ill (with medicine over prescription, I found out about 4 months ago) I couldn’t walk more than a couple of miles without collapsing.

That night I went to bed at about 8 o’clock and awoke at 11.30pm in the middle of one of the worst depressions I have ever suffered. I was not in control of my mind at all. It was filled with thoughts of killing myself and wanted to find a railway track to put my head onto so I could be decapitated. As I had no idea where the Greytown railway station was I headed out the house walking towards Carterton in the knowledge that my body would collapse before reaching the railways lines.

I tried to warn my son I needed help, stopping on the way out by saying, “I’ m going out for a walk, I may be some time.” Unfortunately I only got the first part out (this was a reference to one of Scott’s men in the Antarctic who went for a walk in the blizzard to commit suicide. So that didn’t work.)

Fortunately it was focussed on the railway exclusively as I passed a couple of rivers on the way (although I don’t I would have drowned as they were only knee deep, but I could have broken my legs.) It was just after these bridges that I collapsed. At 1.30am this kind Samaritan stopped and the only words I could manage to say were. “I’m sick”

He promptly phoned an ambulance who gave him a hard time asking him if was drunk or drugs. I got the impression they didn’t want to send an ambulance. I could hear everything that he said but couldn’t speak. The ambulance came and hauled me off and he went on his way without me being able to thank him. So that is why I wrote this letter…
Thank you, kind sir, for helping another human being in distress. May the blessings of God and Love descend upon you!

I am also writing this to try to explain to people the consequences of that trip to hospital – and not the last trip either, for I was still being poisoned by over-prescription. But it was the last time for depression because after 40 years I finally received some help with the disease.

As I stated, my depressions started at the age of 18 (I am now 62) and went totally untreated until around ten years ago. It turns out my depression is caused by a hormone unbalance where I literally run out of serotonin in my body and my brain collapses. That is a very uncomfortable feeling and I used to use my medicine as a prophylactic to prevent the onset of depression. I had only ever once before been in a suicidal state (that one lasted three days as I packed up all my belonging and organised my affairs).
I do remember waking up once on a Tuesday and the only thing I can remember of the previous five days was getting out of bed once to go to the toilet. When I came out of depressions my friends would say, “Oh, you’re back!” as if I had almost been away on holiday. I really didn’t even know I had depression as when I woke up I promptly forgot about them, as they were times when “I” wasn’t in control. It was as if a stranger came into my mind and took it over for however long they wanted (up to a week) until the lacking serotonin was replaced again.

I finally realised I had depression when reading an article that stated people with depression often paint their rooms yellow and have bright lights. I looked around my canary yellow kitchen – the only part not painted yellow was the floor – and at the 400 watt light bulb I used and realised that it was talking about me!

I want to say to people that being mentally ill is very isolating and your friendship in times of mental illness is very important. I was an isolationist in my depressions – I just disappeared, went to bed and stayed there until it had gone.

The outcome of that trip to hospital was help from the mentally emergency crew for the first time in my life. They sorted out a medicine regime that actually worked and I haven’t had a full blown depression since, just the odd dip a couple of times.

Then about 4 months ago I was hauled off to hospital from my umpteenth collapse and a doctor took my blood pressure sitting down and then standing up and discovered that my blood pressure was dropping by 30% when I stood up! And the collapses were caused by low blood pressure because no one had ever taken my blood pressure whilst standing before and they were treating me for the falsely elevated reading. The end result being that my brain was being starved of oxygen and I was collapsing all over the place. I instantly stopped taking my blood pressure tablets and felt like I was 20 years old again! Since then I have been recovering my life and rebuilding it.

To all depression sufferers I say this, sometimes the only thing that kept me going was the phrase, “This too will pass!” I hope this will be of help to you. There are many variations of depression and sometimes a book called, “The Black Dog” is excellent for many of them. Just two small recommendations.

I fell truly peaceful for the first time in my life! I am gradually rebuilding my life having written over 300 blogs of up to a thousand words each over the past year and a bit, and am getting my life back on course.

I am also rebuilding my employment chances again as I have been unemployed for a large part of my adult life, especially since 2002 when I had a nervous breakdown. Now I know why – the depression made me unreliable.
I am sorry for the length of this letter and hope you can publish it in your newspaper, not necessarily in the letters to the editor, to give hope to other sufferers of this terrible isolating disease.

Again thank you to that anonymous man and to all the people who have since helped me recover a lot of my health (the number one priority in life). Only by being healthy can we ever hope to achieve a lot of the other things – happiness, success, detachment, peace and prosperity.

Kindest regards,
reverend master j’iam