By the time I was diagnosed, flashbacks and depression had already been running my life for a few years.
Although I tried to hide and cover it up, it got progressively worse. My self-esteem was at its nadir. It was being exacerbated by a partner who was dealing with her own issues - or not dealing with them, as it turned out.
This illness cost me everything I ever worked for in terms of family and the trappings expected to go with it.
Eventually my partner and I split. She took the high road citing my illness - whilst paying only lip-service to her own mental health condition - vilified and denigrated me and my efforts, and manipulated our daughter with one-sided rhetoric.
I have been in full-time therapy for over a year now, with a 96% attendance rate. My sleep has improved, medication is down, self-esteem and self-belief is on the up. I don't think of myself as a bad person, a bad father, a mercenary anymore.
The road to recovery has cost me dearly but I now have the rest of my life in front of me. That is worth every penny and every person I lost from my life to get here.
Too many people are happy to attack others for mental health issues while they ignore their own. Until you have been to the bottom of the barrel and back up, you have no right to accuse.
The person was always good, always worthy, but their behaviour was dictating. Not anymore - and my daughter and friends who abandoned me will have their turn, as everyone has mental health issues. The source of such is irrelevant.
Treatment, time and genuine support make the difference, you just have to believe in the processes, and keep smiling.
If the content on this website is distressing or triggering, or, if you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, we have provided in contact details below for you to speak with a professional. If you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call the police immediately on 111.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor (available 24/7)
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
•WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757